Why We Love It
This year at Watches And Wonders, Rolex unveiled its newest iteration of the vaunted Rolex Explorer (also known as the Explorer I) and a sigh of relief rushed across the collector community - the watch was back to its original size of 36mm!
For the past decade, the Explorer has only been offered in an 'upsized' 39mm case, which retained the classic dial layout and functionality of the original, but upset the purists with its seemingly unnecessary girth. After all, there is no magic in making a mechanical timepiece larger than it needs to be!
But as of April, 2021 the classic proportions are back -- and we hope they are here to stay! For those who never wanted the larger size, the Reference 114270 as seen here was the last of the classically scaled Explorers, and with the recent decision to circle back to this sizing method, it also serves as the inspiration for the newest reference.
This particular F-serial example dates to 2004 and is in outstanding condition throughout. It features an untouched case, a flawless glossy black Luminova dial with a matching handset, and a solid link Oyster bracelet with a Fliplock clasp. Furthermore, this watch comes with its papers dating to circa 2004.
The newest example might be the hot ticket of the moment, but this example was produced nearly ten years before they were discontinued to begin with - making it the very definition of a contemporary classic!
With its feet firmly rooted in the classic design of the early Explorers - a simple black dial with 3, 6, 9 Arabic numerals -- albeit a more avant-garde approach to the look --and 36mm Oyster case, the 14270 is every bit as much an Explorer as the original models that pulled their own weight up Everest.
The day was May 29, 1953, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood on top of the world. Rolex had indeed come with them to the summit of Mount Everest and since then Rolex has long been known as the watch of exploration. The triumph of the 1953 expedition and spirit of adventure and exploration that the Explorer represents can certainly be felt when this watch is strapped to your wrist.
These were watches designed to be tough as nails and capable of operating effectively in the harshest conditions known to man. Whether it was diving to the lowest point or climbing to the highest, you've got to hand it to Rolex - they know how to build one hell of a sports watch! It really doesn't get more badass than that.
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