In 1953, Rolex sponsored an expedition to Mount Everest and supplied one of the climbers with an Oyster Perpetual. The model didn’t yet bear the iconic Explorer name. However, it was one of the first watches to reach Everest’s peak and inspired the Explorer collection. One of the most notable versions is the Reference 1016, which remained in production for an impressive 26 years. When the longstanding reign of the 1016 ended, a new era began with the debut of the Explorer II. Buying a Rolex Explorer watch means owning one of the most rugged and versatile models in the brand’s catalog. Search through our expansive selection of exceptional used Rolex Explorer watches for sale.
The first Oyster Perpetual Explorer launched in 1953, when Rolex sponsored Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's victorious ascent to the summit of Mount Everest. Rolex supplied Hillary with an Oyster Perpetual to wear on the journey. While the watch didn't bear the iconic Explorer name at the time, it was one of the first watches to reach Everest's peak and served as inspiration for the Explorer collection.
For the next decade, Rolex continued to develop the design of the Explorer. One of the most notable variations is the Reference 1016, which remained in production for an impressive 26 years, from 1963 to 1989, and remains one of the most highly sought-after variations among collectors in the pre-owned market. Today, the Explorer co-exists in the Rolex catalog alongside the Explorer II. One of the more recent additions to the Explorer lineup came in 2016, when Rolex added a new Chromalight display to the model, further enhancing its legibility. The exclusive new material offers a unique blue hue to the Explorer.
Through all the various models in the Explorer family over the years, the vision for this model has remained steadfast. This is a watch built with adventurers and thrill-seekers in mind, from climbers to cave explorers. Today, the Explorer is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable models in the Rolex line-up.
Video: Rolex Explorer History
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