Rolex Oyster Explorer 39 - 2016 Edition
The Explorer, or some may call it the Explorer I to differentiate from the Explorer II which has the second 24h hand and 24h bezel marking, has a fairly long history with Rolex, being launched in 1953 (official Rolex documents).
There is an extended version of the history of the Explorer, which is itself an extract from the book - "The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches: An Unauthorized History" by James M. Dowling and Jeffrey P. Hess, Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-7643-0011-3
Essentially the article references that the look of the Explorer defines it - with a large luminous triangle marker at 12, arabic numerals for the other quarters with a black face and designed for easy readability with luminous markers and hands.
I will not repeat the details of the above article but do repeat what is included in the booklet accompanying the modern Explorer:
The Explorer is emblematic of the privileged relationshipthat has always bound Rolex and exploration. In the 1930s, Rolex’s pioneering spirit prompted it to equip numerous Himalayan expeditions with watches. Their observations had a direct impact on the development of the Oyster andthe quest for greater precision, robustness and reliability. On 29 May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway were the first to reach Everest’s 8,848-metre summit. This remarkable human adventure also served to reinforce the reputation of the Oyster watches that accompanied the expedition. The Oyster Perpetual Explorer, launched in 1953 in the wake of the successful ascent of the world’shighest mountain, soon achieved iconic status.
On model numbers:
A brief search showed that the prior model also called Explorer 39 (produced from 2010-2016) is 214270-0001. This model (Basel 2016) is also called Explorer 39 with model number 214270-0003. The primary differences being on 0003 the arabic digits are filled with lume and the hands sightly longer. Movement and case etc are identical. Before the 214270 was the 14270 36mm Explorer. So can't fathom at 214270-0002 at all!
I will leave it to the reader to research further on Rolex model numbers and Rolex history as there is a wealth out there on the www. It should be noted that the Air-King is also a member of the Explorer 'family'.
This Rolex Explorer 39
This model (still) has the characteristic luminous triangle at 12 and 3, 6 , 9 numerals which are all filled with blue coloured Chromalight material, as are the hour markers and hands. This makes it very visible at night as well as in the day. The hands are broader and longer compared to the previous version. It is a no-date watch so very symmetric.
It has the Cal 3132 movement with paramagnetic blue hairspring and shock absorbance system gives the watch superlative chronometer status with expected accuracy of better than +-2sec/day - bi-directional self-winding movement with approx 48h power-reserve and extended maintenance plan to 10years and 5year warranty.
The movement is hackable so the second hand can be set accurately against a time signal.
(thanks - eluniversodelrejioj.com)
The bracelet is brushed all the way on it's surfaces, polished on the sides, with solid end links in 904L steel, with Oysterlock folding clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension.
Case is Oyster (formed from a single block of 904L steel) with polished bezel and sides, brushed elsewhere.
The watch is waterproof to 100m (330ft) with a Twinlock screw down crown.
This model has a 39mm diameter case size and fairly slim profile which fits my wrist very well. I think 39mm is the sweet spot for me. It is no surprise (to me) that my other favourite watch the Patek 5146J, is also diameter 39mm.
Although the bracelet does not have the glydelock system of the Submariner the comfort extension of 5mm works well to accommodate warm weather - and it can still be adjusted with the micro-bar without the need to remove or add links.
It is sufficiently different from my more usual choice of dive watch that I seem to be drawn to to make me think it will stay in my collection for quite some time. I deliberately wanted a non-date as it is somewhat a pain to set the date or other complications when in a hurry.
Without crown guards and the relative meagre 100m wrt this is not a dive watch 'pre se' - however it is designed for everyday use so as I said recently - this makes an ideal holiday watch as it would suit the beach / sea as well as the evening out for dinner. I like one reference seen recently - that is is a GADA - Go Anywhere Do Anything - watch.
Time keeping so far has been exemplary keeping within the 2sec/d specification - un-nerving accuracy for a mechanical system. I really like not having to worry about a date and so thinking when it is safe to set the time - the hands can be wound back and forth - but I still tend to wind forward if necessary (force of habit I guess).
The box it came with is functional - standard rolex - nothing to write home about. But I did get supplied with something extra from the AD on leaving, which was a nice touch:
Here are some final passing shots:
Thanks for reading! Martyn