Again a classic as Monochrome’s Weekly Watch Photo. The Rolex Explorer ref. 14270, also referred to as Explorer I. And again photographed by Tony, who continuously produces incredibly appealing watch photos.
In 1989 the Explorer ref. 14270 replaced the Explorer ref. 1019, which was produced for 26 years! Technically there were definitely major changes, however visually it remained very recognizable as a Rolex Explorer. Virtually every aspect of the Explorer changed, except its looks…
The first Explorer was reference 6610 and after five years of production, it was replaced by the Explorer reference 1016 in 1963. The new Explorer ref. 1016 featured a new movement, caliber 1560. In comparison to its predecessor, its water resistance was increased from 50 to 100 meters.
The newer Explorer ref. 14270 featured a new movement, caliber 3000, a COSC certified center-seconds movement without date. Caliber 3000 was used in this Explorer I and in the Submariner 14060. Oddly the movement has chronometer certified in the Explorer, however in the Submariner it wasn’t. It was the last production movement from Rolex to use a balance cock, in stead of a balance bridge. It had 27 jewels and ticked at 28,800 bph.
Also its crystal was now a sapphire one and the case was entirely redesigned, now being more modern and sporty. All hour markers changed from painted markers to applied markers, still featuring Arabic numeral hour markers at 3, 6 and 9, a triangle at 12 o’clock and stick markers indicating all remaining hours.
In 1997/1998 Rolex changed from using tritium to Super Luminova as luminous material. The version in these photos still has the tritium in the markers and hands, as can be seen by the “T SWISS – T < 25” below the 6 o’clock marker.
Explorer ref. 14270 came in a larger case, measuring 36 mm in diameter, and was approximately 11.5 mm thick. The oyster bracelet now featured a flip lock clasp.
Here is what Tony had to say about his newly acquired Rolex Explorer I:
Possibly the most underrated Rolex ever, and probably thebest example of a watch where form and function meet to perfection. In fact, the size of the case, the width of the bracelet and the shape of the lugs deliver what is, I think, the most wearable Rolex that the company has ever produced. It looks the way a watch was always meant to look, and manages to be both discreet and sporty in one fell swoop. …This means, of course, that it’s a tritium dial and I think the difference between this and the luminova variant is astonishing; the subtlety of the indices and hands gives it a warmth that a modern watch will always struggle to achieve.
Check out Tony’s website Halfpastthehour for more of his superb watch photos. Leaving you with a last wrist shot of this classic timepiece.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor of Monochrome Watches.