The All-New Rolex Explorer I
The Epitome Of A Simple Sportswatch
Taken To A Whole New Level
[Reference 214270: Bracelet 77200]
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." –Leonardo Da vinci
The Rolex Explorer I, is one of the original Rolex Tool-Watches. Its origins have been steeped in mystery, intrigue and myth. I am actually in the middle of putting together my research findings on the origins of the Rolex Explorer I and I intend to publish them as soon as I can.
To make a long-story, short, the Rolex Explorer was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's conquest of Mount Everest in 1953. One of the most interesting details I have unearthed in my research, that was a big surprise for me, is the unexpected relationship between the Rolex Explorer I and the original Rolex Submariner.
I don't know if it is just a coincidence that Rolex yesterday at the BaselWorld trade-show and fair in Basel, Switzerland released their all-new Rolex Explorer I at the exact same time as their all-new stainless steel Rolex Submariner!!!
Sir Edmund Hillary's Mt. Everest Rolex
At Home In The Beyer Museum
In Zurich, Switzerland
The ACTUAL Rolex that Sir Edmund Hillary wore when he summited Mount Everest in 1953 is part of the permanent collection in the Beyer Museum in Zurich, Switzerland which means that if you take a trip to Zurich, Switzerland, you can go to the Beyer Museum and see the actual Rolex Oyster Perpetual that was the first watch to conquer Mount Everest.
The watch in the next three photos is Sir Edmund Hillary's actual Rolex he wore when he conquered Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953. In this first photograph his watch is sitting on top of a Rolex Explorer brochure from 1956. The reason the leather strap is so unusually long is because the extra length allowed him to wear it normally on his wrist when it was not really cold, and the extra length allowed him to wear his Rolex on his wrist over his shirt, or sweater or jacket.
Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex Close-Up
As we see in the photo above and in the two photos below, Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex Oyster Perpetual had a white dial. On of the myths that I busted in the past was that Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were wearing Rolex Explorer models when they conquered Everest. The truth however, is not that far off. As a matter of fact, the Oyster Perpetual below was indeed the basis for the Rolex Explorer and even shared the same Reference number.
This early Rolex Explorer history has recently become a very hot topic and the early 1953 Rolex Explorer watches are becoming very desirable for collectors. I have a pal, who is a vintage Rolex collector, and he recently decided to sell all his non-1953 Rolex Explorer models just so he could focus on 1953 Rolex Explorer models. As I mentioned, in the future I will be shedding much more light on the fascinating genesis of the Rolex Explorer.
The most fascinating thing, in my mind, is that the Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex Oyster Perpetual as seen in these photos is the great, great grandfather of the the all-new Rolex Explorer I that Rolex just introduced at BaselWorld 2010. What amazing legacy and history!!!
The All-New 39MM Rolex Explorer
BaselWorld 2010 Introduction
[Reference 214270: Bracelet 77200]
The potential drawback is that dudes with small wrists may not be able to wear the watch. I say this because I have two pals who have very small wrists and they always wanted to wear a sports Rolex like the Submariner, but they thought it was just too big, so the 36mm Explorer I was the goto watch for these dudes. It is not big deal, because they can always invest in a soon-t0-be vintage 36mm Explorer I.
The all new Rolex Explorer I has a streamlined look and ironically Rolex chose not to put lume on the trademark 3,6 and 9 indices. Some people in the online Rolex community have pointed out that the hands look anemic and too short. It appears Rolex design kept the old hands and I agree, that the watch needs fatter and longer hands.
Rolex design intelligently decided not to polish the center links and maintain the satin, brushed finish which was a good idea. It almost appears as if Rolex design recently has completely turned around in their approach to how they design Rolex sports watches, in the sense they realize the tool-watches are better left as tool watches. I am curious to see this watch in person!!!
What's Your Everest?
Of course the dude with the goggles is Sir Edmund Hillary and in the scene where the man runs up to him to hug him, that is Sir John Hunt, who was the British Expedition leader congratulating Hillary as he descend down from the summit of Mount Everest. The entire British Mount Everest Expedition as well as many of the teams that previously attempted to summit Everest wore Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches.