Monochrome Watches
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The Rolex Explorer 214270 2016 – Review: New Hands and Indexes (Live Photos & Price)

| By Brice Goulard | 3 min read |

For this 2016 edition of Baselworld, fans of Rolex are – with good reasons – mainly focusing on the introduction of a new Daytona in steel, now with a black ceramic bezel. However, there’s more from Rolex to this year (in fact, there’s a lot). Rolex will indeed discreetly correct some of the aspects people complained about on the Rolex Explorer 214270 (the 39mm with 3-hands), mainly focusing on a more relevant display. New hands, new indexes, all with improved proportions; this is what you’ll have with the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270. And here is our hands-on.

Rolex Explorer 214270 Baselworld 2016 - Long hands - 6

Some collectors complained about the increased size of the Rolex Explorer, when it moved from 36mm to 39mm with the ref. 214270. However, this diameter remains reasonable and elegant enough – and after a few years, people get used to these 3 extra millimeters. The main problem that collectors saw with this reworked Explorer 1 was the size of the hands. Both were too short compared to the dial and mainly, the minute hand was not relevant, as the tip of the hand wasn’t touching the minute track.

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Rolex Explorer 214270 Baselworld 2016 - Long hands - 3

Same treatment has been applied on the hour hand, which is now a little bit longer. Both hands are also slightly larger. Overall, even if the dial looses some lightness with these fatter hands, it also becomes more convenient and more rational, as the hands are now long enough for the diameter of the dial.

Rolex Explorer 214270 Baselworld 2016 - Long hands - 4

The second evolution concerns the iconic 3 – 6 – 9 indexes – certainly the most important part of the Explorer – that are now also coated with blue Chromalight luminous material, just like the rest of the indexes and the hands (as a reminder, the previous edition of the Rolex Explorer 214270 was featuring plain steel, polished 3 – 6 – 9 indexes). If the day-time look will remain close, it will on the other hand bring a better legibility in low light conditions – then again with the idea of a more rational display in mind.

Rolex Explorer 214270 Baselworld 2016 - Long hands - 5

The rest of the watch remains similar, meaning that the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270 still features its 39mm Oyster case, in 904L stainless steel, water resistant to 100m, with flat and polished bezel and a 3-link Oyster bracelet with brushed surfaces and the Oysterlock clasp, with Easylink adjustment.

Finally – and this shouldn’t be underestimated – the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270 features the same improvements than the 2016 Rolex Daytona in terms of precision of the movement, meaning that it has the Superlative Chronometer certification, done in-house by Rolex and with stricter criteria (-2/+2 seconds per day). It also is guaranteed for 5 years.

Rolex Explorer 214270 Baselworld 2016 - Long hands - 1

Overall, we’re talking minor but intelligent improvements. Certainly, the 2016 Rolex Explorer still is an Explorer, with its timeless appeal, its superlative comfort on the wrist and its iconic dial, which just feels more rational than ever… and as for the look of the new hands, we’ll let you judge if you prefer the new ones or the older ones. But this watch is somehow the proof that even Rolex can admit their mistakes. Price: 5,900 Euros (same price as the previous edition).

19 responses

  1. losing the GMT red fourth hand is overlooked in your review. To me that is the best feature, plus being able to advance the hour hand alone without touching the minute hand is a great feature when traveling.

  2. The 3 6 9 numerals on the last version are made of 18k solid white gold .Not steel.

  3. And we all know what that means… The previouse model “Explorer short hand” or “Explorer shorty” will sell twice the price in a couple of years. 🙂

  4. The accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day surely is the stand out feature of this watch. I would love to read a description of their in-house test procedure.

  5. I must admit, when the photo of this watch popped at me when I opened my email, I was struck by just how much this watch resembles my Explorer I 36mm, which I miss. Now I realize why I did not care for the first issue of the 39mm model. With the newer hands and the white/lumed arabics the proportion and look of the dial now resemble the 36mm model. I can even live with the 3mm increase in size now that the watch looks so good.
    Having not been impressed by most the the Basel 2016 releases, this one is definitely my favorite.

  6. Classic boring Rolex. Please get your own Gerald Genta, because we will die from boredom…Explorer, submariner, daytona…get something new. Heritage is ok, but enough is enough!

  7. @Harry Schaffner – you are thinking of the Explorer II.

    I like this watch, but admit I prefer the earlier version with the white gold numerals. Hand length never bothered me at all. Disclaimer – I own the previous edition.

  8. Classic watch. Lovely.
    Only complaint: too much text on the dial.
    Is Rolex suffering brand insecurity?
    Surely the crown logo and one word if you absolutely can’t contain yourself (Explorer) is enough.
    Use the case back if you must ramble on.

  9. It is in neither Copenhagen, London, Miami or Olso stores. Anyone knows an AD with this in stock?

  10. Very nice looking dressy tool watch. Who really thinks nowadays that 39 mm is large?
    C’mon, 36 is a modern ladies size!

  11. Harry Shaffner I can’t believe that someone doesn’t know the difference between this watch and the Explorer II, the watch You mixed up with this. The Explorer II has a 24 hour fixed bezel and the iconic orange 2nd timezone hand.
    I love the symmetry of this. No date, or ugly Cyclops bubble. It’s as near to perfection as is possible to achieve.

  12. Howard Bamer. Relax. People occasionally make mistakes.

    I think this is a stunner. I’d like to see it on something other than the bracelet.

  13. I also have longed for rolexx to cut the information on the dial and particularly on this type of watch which is about legibility.
    I predict the big watches will soon be seen as decadent and role should have kept to 36mm here: there are enough bling flexes for the flash Harry’s surely.

  14. I am not timing race cars, traveling to various time zones nor do I need to be reminded of the date on a timepiece. Just wanted a clear easy to read dial on a reliable watch which I found in the explorer 1. Very happy with my choice.


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