Exploring Rolex Part I: Explorer I
The success of the Rolex Oyster Professional series has been built on the ability to prove their reliability in the toughest real life conditions. The first Rolex Explorer was inspired by years of experience equipping numerous expeditions to the Himalayas.
The year was 1953 and Sir Edmund Hilary and his friend Tenzing Norgay achieved a goal that had previously been thought unattainable. Standing at the summit of Mount Everest as part of an expedition accompanied by Rolex Chronometer’s, it was the ultimate testament to human endeavour and also the durability of the Oyster.
Rolex launched a watch to celebrate the expedition in the same year and the name ‘Explorer’ became formally established. The Explorer I was indeed a functional watch designed to meet the needs of explorers with a highly readable dial and an oyster case designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
The evolution of the Explorer I culminated in the latest release in 2010. Although the case is now a slightly bolder 39mm, the ethos remains the same – the Explorer still carries the same fixed, classic style that made it an icon.
Manufactured in stainless steel, the 39mm case features a smooth bezel with a sapphire crystal slightly raised creating a mesmeric domed effect. The trademark 3, 6 & 9 numerals stand out from the black dial for easy visibility.
The Calibre 3132 Manufacture movement is protected from shocks by Rolex’s Paraflex shock absorber. This is particularly effective in everyday use should the watch be dropped.
It is true to say that Rolex were unsure of the commercial value of the Explorer when it was first release, but the fact that 60 years on the design has remained relatively untouched is the ultimate mark of success.
Rolex Explorer I Specifications:
- Case – Oyster, 39mm 904L Steel, Sapphire Crystal
- Movement – Calibre 3132, Manufacture Rolex
- COSC Certified
- Bracelet – Oyster, flat three-piece links, 904L Steel
- Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link
- Water Resistance – 100 metres
- Dial – Black, highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence
Rolex added to the Explorer collection in 1971, creating the Explorer II. Read on to the story of the Explorer II below: