Rolex. A Stainless Steel Wristwatch
Cal. 1560 automatic jewelled movement, tropical brown dial, luminous baton numerals and Arabic 3,6, and 9 and triangle at 12, luminous Mercedes hands, outer minute divisions, center seconds, stainless steel circular case, screw down crown, screw back, case, dial, and movement signed
The Rolex Explorer is a watch that is reminiscent of a time when humanity was fascinated with exploring our own land and discovering new parts of the Earth. In the 1950’s, there was a determination to conquer every part our planet, be it the top of a mountain or the depths of the sea. In 1953, an expedition led by Edmund Hilary and John Hunt successfully climbed to the top of Mount Everest, wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatches. Rolex capitalized on this success, advertising the dependability and durability of their Oyster Perpetual models – which were able to withstand extreme temperature changes, completely waterproof, and self-winding.
The climbers were equipped with references 6098 and 6150, which featured white dials with leaf hands, Starting in 1953, Rolex began to use the word “Explorer” on the dials of several references, and featured the dial design we now associate with the Explorer – the Arabic 3-6-9. Over the next ten years, the Explorer model went through a number of references with subtle design differences on dials, and later added the Mercedes hands, but always keeping the Arabic 3-6-9.
In 1963, Rolex introduced the reference 1016, replacing the Explorer reference 6610. The most well-known and with the longest production span of any Explorer models, the 1016 was manufactured for 26 years. It featured the caliber 1560, and water resistance was increased from 50m to 100m. Later generations of the 1016 would contain the caliber 1570, which had a hacking function. Fans of James Bond will recall the Rolex 1016 Explorer is the watch worn by Ian Fleming, and referenced in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1963.
With such a long production period, the Explorer 1016 is the vintage sport model that is often overlooked for the more popular Submariner and Daytona models. Nevertheless, its simple and classi design, exploration history, and James Bond association have made the 1016 Explorer the preferred watch for many collectors. This particular ref. 1016 features a tropical dial, a feature that is extremely desired by collectors for this particular reference.