Following our vision of what the new Rolex Explorer II might be, we continue our Rolex Predictions 2021 with another member of the Explorer family, the brand’s classic adventurer’s watch, the Explorer I. One of the few watches of the brand without the new-generation movement, and one that hasn’t been updated in many years (except a small change on hands in 2016), we think it’s time for the Crown to give this watch, one of our favourite models, a contemporary twist. So, let’s have a look at what we think could be the new Rolex Explorer 1 for 2021, with more options available than in the past.
Please note that this article is a figment of our imagination. These are just predictions. Nothing is official. It is based on our own expectations and analysis.
Born in 1953, the Rolex Explorer is one of the most enduring watches in the collection. Having a strong link to the first attempt to reach Mount Everest’s summit, the watch has always been associated with exploration and adventure. Robust, simple but with a certain classic elegance, the Explorer has undergone several evolutions. The first major update came in the late 1980s, when Rolex introduced the reference 14270, giving its Explorer a glossy dial and applied indexes. The second significant change occurred in 2010. With reference 214270, Rolex increased the size of the case for the first time, from 36mm to the current 39mm. Finally, in 2016, Rolex corrected its Explorer 214270 with the Mk2, bringing back the luminous 3-6-9 indexes and some appropriately longer hands.
For years, there has been only one version of the Explorer 1 available, in 39mm, with a stainless steel case and a black dial. For our Rolex Predictions 2021, we expect this to change, and we easily see the Crown adding more options to its adventurer’s watch.
First and foremost, the Rolex Explorer 1 for 2021 could be available in two sizes. Following the Oyster Perpetual update in 2020, with a 36mm and a 41mm case, we expect the same for the Explorer 1. These two collections would share the same cases and bracelets, with identical proportions. Compared to the current 39mm edition, the case would be slightly more slender, with thinner lugs and bezel, yet with an overall increased or reduced diameter, depending on the version.
If this makes sense strategically, playing on the trend for larger and also smaller watches, we secretly hope here, at MONOCHROME, that Rolex will keep the 39mm diameter of the Explorer 1 intact… The 41mm case of the new OP models is somehow unbalanced and feels oversized, while 39mm is extremely versatile and comfortable for most men’s wrists. However, if a 36mm option is added to the collection, this would change the situation quite drastically.
Regarding the dial of this 2021 Rolex Explorer 1, we don’t see the brand making major changes. Apart from updated dimensions, the hands, numerals and markers would be visually identical. What is almost certain is that if Rolex decides to update this watch, it will feature the latest-generation movement: the Calibre 3230. Also found in the no-date Submariner or the 41mm and 36mm editions of the Oyster Perpetual, this modern movement features the Chronergy escapement and comes with an extended power reserve of 70 hours.
These Rolex Predictions 2021 are also a way for us to express our own wishes and dreams, and again this year we return to our idea of the Polar Explorer. With this example of the Oyster Perpetual 39, Rolex proved that a matte white dial on a time-only watch was a stunning combination. As such, we’d like to use these predictions to send yet another request to Rolex, asking the Crown to consider making a Polar edition of the Explorer 1. And because it could be part of the 2021 collection, it would also be available in 41mm and 36mm and powered by the Calibre 3230.
What’s your take on these predictions? Do you think Rolex will update the Explorer I? Do you like the idea of having the choice of 41 or 36mm diameters? And do you also secretly wish for a white dial version? Share your feelings in the comment section. And stay tuned tomorrow as we’ll bring more predictions!
Note: this article is based on our own Photoshop mock-ups, nothing has been provided officially from Rolex. These Rolex Predictions 2021 are based on our imagination and expectations. All images are under license of MONOCHROME and should not be used without agreement or copyright (©Monochrome-Watches, 2021).