There is a reason why the Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 was one of Rolex’s longest production watches. Spanning a run from 1963 to 1990, with a few updates here and there, it is, without doubt, one of the purest Rolex sport models that underpin the entire Rolex ‘tool watch’ ethos.
The Explorer, named so after famously summiting Mount Everest in 1953, in its design, is in my opinion, is as perfect as it gets. Perhaps one of the most beautifully proportioned and understated Rolex’s, utility was always taken into consideration. A simple yet reliable three-hander, a highly legible dial with a great 3,6,9 layout, no date, and housed in a muscular 36mm stainless steel case, today the Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 is a vintage lover’s dream.
This particular example is an early production 1016, most obvious through its glossy gilt dial. The gilt dials have always been more coveted than the later matte dials due to the lower production numbers and the general desire for earlier examples for Rolex. Under the sun, you really start to understand the appeal of gilt dials, with its glossy finish reflecting light beautifully.