Thursday, March 18, 2010

The All-New Rolex Explorer I The Epitome Of A Simple Sportswatch Taken To A Whole New Level

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 all-new Rolex Explorer I deviates from the version it replaces by growing from 36mm to 39mm which is good in many ways, while perhaps having some drawbacks. The reason I suggest it's a good idea with some drawbacks is that by growing the watch from 36mm to 39mm it give the watch a more substantial, macho look with much more presence.

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?

Rolex produced this brilliant video for the BaselWorld 2010 introduction of the all-new 39mm Rolex Explorer I. This video is so inspiring and it sends shivers down my spine ever time I watch it!!!!

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.

Rolex BaselWorld 2010 Press Kit Introduction from Rolex CEO: Bruno Meier...

Rolex CEO: Bruno Meier
BaselWorld 2010
Rolex Press Kit Introduction

Rolex is pleased to welcome you once again to the exciting universe of BASELWORLD. Our brand occupies a prominent place at this fair, with an impressive stand illustrating the prestige and excellence for which Rolex is known.

This special position is due to the privileged relationship that Rolex has developed over the decades with this global meeting place for those involved in the watch and jewellery industries, as well as to its own status as a first-class watchmaker.

The leader in Swiss watchmaking, recognized the world over for the quality and precision of its watches, Rolex makes it a point of honour to share the fruit of its know-how and its spirit of enterprise with this audience of connoisseurs.

Equipped with unparalleled industrial and technological means of production, now being further developed by a new construction project, and rich in a history of major innovations like the mythical Oyster, in 1926, the first waterproof wristwatch, Rolex has the privilege of being able to give free rein to its creative potential. The company takes full advantage of its complete autonomy to innovate and reinterpret with continuity the fundamental principles responsible for the success of its watches.

This approach has been applied this year to the Submariner, the Explorer and the Datejust. These models, each with a unique identity, are recognized around the world as unsurpassable, timeless symbols of a certain art de vivre. They are presented in new versions drawing on the vast Rolex heritage and honouring the passion for perfection proper to our brand.


Chief Executive Officer of Rolex

Geneva, Switzerland