When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Everest on 29 May 1953, Norgay was wearing an Explorer on his wrist – cementing the timepiece’s importance in the world of exploration.
In the world of adventurers who love to push the limits, the Rolex Explorer is the king of watches. First released in 1953, the Explorer’s history is fascinating. When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Everest on 29 May 1953, Norgay was wearing an Explorer on his wrist – cementing the timepiece’s importance in the world of exploration.
The watch is made to be incredibly resilient in any conditions – from temperatures as cold as -50°C to the high pressure of extreme altitudes. Of course, a watch fit for an explorer also needs to be waterproof, and the Explorer II can be taken to depths of 100 metres in its water-resistant, oyster perpetual case which accompanies the whole range.
Its simple design increases legibility and features a distinctive 24-hour hand, an invaluable aid for anyone needing to distinguish daytime hours from night around the Earth’s poles, or while underground. It is made from 904L stainless steel, a material normally used in the aviation, chemical and technological industries – guaranteeing its durability.
The bracelet mixes the best of convenience and functionality with style and class. These days, it boasts the Oysterlock folding clasp, ensuring that it does not open accidentally, as well as the Easylink comfort extension link – allowing the wearer to adjust the length of the bracelet by 5mm for extra comfort.
Historically, however, the Explorer also came with a leather strap – and this variation remains a favourite for many watch enthusiasts today.
In terms of movement, the Explorer is fitted with a 3132-caliber self-winding movement and the timepiece has passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute’s rigorous tests, ensuring it keeps perfect time.
Clearly, a watch fit for an explorer could be subject to various knocks and shocks, so with that in mind, Rolex fitted it with Paraflex – an extremely advanced shock absorber which increases the timepiece’s resistance by 50%.
The original Perpetual Oyster has a smooth stainless-steel bezel, a black face and is 39mm in diameter – ensuring its elegance, as well as its incredible functional abilities.
Like many of Rolex’s other famous timepieces, the Explorer eventually inspired a newer, more modern take on the original. The Explorer II comes in two different colour schemes, are 42mm and feature a fixed 24-hour bezel, giving a whole new look to a classic.
Released in 1971, one model features a black face and the other a white. Both are equipped with a 3187-caliber self-winding mechanical movement, as opposed to the 3132 in the original Explorer. Rest assured, though, both keep time to the standard for which Rolex has become famous.
A true classic, the Explorer is a fantastic option for anyone looking to start a Rolex collection.