The new Rolex Explorer Hands-On

For years, Rolex has been known to primarily introduce updates to existing watch models at Baselworld, as opposed to focusing on brand new models. And this year was no different. Today, we’ll cover the newly updated Explorer (Ref. 214270), which it is worth noting, carries the same reference number as the model it replaces.

Ever since 2010, the Rolex Explorer has featured a larger 39 mm case (up from 36 mm prior to that). That modern design stays mostly the same. In fact, the case is identical, the caliber 3132 movement is identical, and at first glance, even the dial appears to be the same. However, it is the dial, which differentiates the new Explorer from the previous version.


First, the hour and minute hands are broader and have been lengthened for better legibility. The material, white gold, stays the same. And they are still filled with luminescent material. However, secondly, the luminescent material used for the three hands, and all the hour markers, which was previously green-emitting Superluminova, has been replaced with Rolex’s proprietary blue-emitting lume, called Chromalight. Lastly, the Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9, which were previously solid white gold, applied to the dial, are still white gold, but now they are lume filled for better low-light visibility.


Being that the model has the same name and reference number 214270, unofficially, the new model is now referred to as the so-called “Mark II” dial.

One more noteworthy change is that the new Explorer carried the Rolex “Superlative Chronometer” certification that was introduced in 2015. This new certification takes the COSC certification (which is movement only), a step further and tests the movement after being cased up. Furthermore, the average rate, once the movement is inside the case is adjusted to a very precise rate of -2/+2 second per day before each Rolex timepiece leaves the factory. This may not seem like much, but it really does set a high standard for chronometers, which based on COSC requirements must be accurate to -4/+6 second per day.


Rolex has done a good job maintaining the aesthetics of the Explorer line, and they did not disappoint with this update. That said, I would not mind seeing the Oysterflex rubber bracelet – that was first introduced with the Yacht-Master line last year – added as an option for the Explorer. $6550


Learn more at Rolex.