So it climbed Everest, but what makes the Explorer unique?
Aside from a different dial design, what made the Explorer fit for a mountain climber? It’s a question worth asking because the Explorer is, and always – with few aberrations – has been, a simple three-hand watch without any complications.
Actually, the Rolex Explorer 1016 did contain notable upgrades versus the similarly cased Datejust and it received enhancements versus its predecessor, the Explorer 6610. The greatest difference found in the Explorer was its water resistance to 100m. This was actually double all other non-sports Rolexes and was achieved via a thicker domed acrylic crystal and a round (cross-sectional) case back gasket. 1603’s as an example used an edged crystal and a flat gasket. Another small, but thoughtful difference found on the 1016 was the inclusion of slightly thicker, more robust, spring bars. Finally, if the potential owner desired, Rolex would supply the 1016 with low viscosity lubricant installed in order to aid operation at low temperatures. So, while the differences may have been subtle, the Explorer was purpose built with everything one needs and nothing superfluous.
Rolex designed the familiar 3/6/9 dial as seen on the Rolex Explorer 1016 because it was so legible for quick and crucial time telling under tough conditions such as, say, hanging off the side of a mountain. The large amount of tritium on the dial plus the later addition of the big, bold Mercedes hands also enhanced visibility under low light conditions. It’s a show of absolute simplicity that rivals the Submariner with ease and easily earns its place amongst the most iconic in history. Of course, Everest helped cement the Explorer’s legacy no matter what.
Late production 1016’s are notoriously hard to find.
A quick search on all the usual places will show you that 1016’s are much rarer than vintage Submariners or GMT’s.
The overall simplicity, the purpose built tool watch look, and the no bling proper sports Rolex watch make this one of the most sought after Rolex vintage watch.
This is an 8 million series from September 1983.
Full set, box, certificate, instructions, caseback sticker, calendar, everything.
Absolutely mint condition! Totally unpolished, fat lugs, original brushed finish, original domed crystal, 78360 bracelet with 20mm 580 end links.
The end links on the Rolex Explorer 1016, by the way, exhibit a very common 1016 trait in that they rise up above the case slightly when it is viewed from the side and they clang and clatter in that most charming way.
One of the most iconic and sought after sports watch from Rolex. Full set. All original. Mint condition. Can’t ask for more.