Rolex Explorer 1016 'Gilt MK1'

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The Explorer I is the most understated of Rolex’ legendary toolwatches. This first-series 1016 is a collector’s dream.

The ref. 1016 Explorer was introduced in 1959 and was produced for an impressive 30 years, making it one of rolex’ longest-running references. This 1016 is a very early execution, dating back to 1960. The watch features the classic 3-6-9 Explorer dial configuration, with thick painted tritium markers that have turned a pleasing custardy color. The dial is an exceptional glossy gilt execution, referred to as a ‘Mark 1’ dial, a detail only found on Explorers that were produced in the first half of the 1960s. These dials were created by a galvanic coating process, in which the dial plates were first stamped with a clear coating to define the text and chapter ring, after which a black substance was applied using a chemical binding process. The resulting glossy black finish and gilt details infuse this otherwise reserved toolwatch with a radiant glow.

The watch is in amazing condition, with a thick and sharp 36 mm stainless steel case. The watch comes on a period-correct riveted Oyster bracelet. Apart from some scratches and a little stretch, the bracelet is in excellent condition and should serve you for years to come.


Rolex Explorer IRolex has a storied history of building tool watches dedicated to professional users. In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual on Hillary's wrist. In honor of the expedition, Rolex released the Explorer later that year.Over the years, the Explorer I has been produced in various executions. Except for the very earliest ones, they all have one thing in common: the characteristic 3-6-9 numerals on the dial (the so-called ‘Explorer dial’).



Packages are generally dispatched within 2 days after receipt of payment and are shipped within the Netherlands by Registered Mail through the Dutch carrier PostNL and for other countries by Fedex. Consult us if you prefer another method of shipping. For most destinations tracking is available.