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About Explorer I

Rolex Explorer I - The original adventurer's watch

The Explorer I is a series of sports watches by the Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex. The Rolex Explorer I was designed as a mountaineer's watch, with Rolex sending hundreds of prototype Explorers on expeditions across the Himalayas in the 1930s. The most famous being an early Explorer model that saw Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquer the peak of Mt. Everest. After 20 years of intense development, the Explorer I was released in 1953 as the ultimate hiking watch. Designed to withstand the toughest of terrains, the Rolex Explorer I is the perfect companion to any pioneer's adventures.


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Men's > Explorer I

The Rolex Explorer I was the product of decades worth of research into mountaineering. Rolex sent countless of their timepieces on expeditions across the Himalayas, in pursuit of creating the ultimate hiker's watch. The most famous of all these expeditions was Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's history-making ascent to the peak of Everest. Both Smiths Watches and Rolex sponsored the trip, with Norgay wearing a prototype Explorer I on his wrist. This watch was the now legendary Rolex Explorer with the reference number 6098, with Norgay's very own watch on display at the Beyer Museum in Zurich.

The first Explorer was released in 1953, with its design taking inspiration from the Rolex Bubbleback. This watch had the reference number 6350 and the watch would become the basis for future Explorer models. This original model could withstand temperatures between -20 to 40 degrees centigrade, making it the perfect companion for ambitious hikers. This first model did not have a long life, with the reference number 6610 Explorer replacing it in 1955.

The reference number 1016 Explorer is considered the quintessential Explorer I model, known for its technological prowess and sleek style. The 1016 had a 28-year long tenure, with the model remaining in production between 1961 to 1989. The 1016 went through several minor changes, the first being in 1987 with Rolex updating the watch with a solid link bracelet and adding a hacking 1570 movement. The 1016 also gave Rolex some of their most collectible models, including the incredibly rare "Space-Dweller" model. Another well-loved Explorer Is in the Albino model, which is known for its design throwback to Norgay's 6098.