After great anticipation Rolex has finally announced its new models for 2021 on the set date of April 7. One of the most talked about and speculated releases for this year was the Explorer 1 and Explorer II line because of the Explorer’s 50th anniversary.
There was plenty of talk in the watch community about a possible reduction in size for the Explorer II, possibly with a change of bezel material from brushed stainless steel to ceramic, as well as some speculation of some Rolex “anniversary green” colour on the GMT hand. Well, none of this came to fruition and once again Rolex has stuck to what it does best by implementing very subtle classic changes – to the seasoned Rolex enthusiast this comes as no surprise.
The most drastic changes were implemented on the new Explorer 1 Ref. 124270 with a dramatic reverse move back to the original 36mm size, and a never seen before rolesor two-tone version ref. 124273. While a few watch magazines made this prediction, I don’t think anyone really believed it especially since the Rolex trend lately has been to go bigger not smaller. This was apparent on the recently released new Submariner 124060 that moved from a 40mm case size to 41mm.
This move back to 36mm on the Explorer 1 is definitely a welcomed changed for the Rolex purist who adores the old original reference for its understated simplicity, part of that being its very wearable size and versatility with a variety of strap colours and materials. The other notable change to the new Ref. 124270 is the movement! It’s now equipped with the Rolex in-house 3230 bringing it up to a 70 hour power reserve, precise to -2/ +2 seconds per day.
Another very subtle change is the move of the name “Explorer” to under the Rolex logo at 12 o’clock, instead of the previous position of near 6 o’clock on the 39mm version. While very minor it seems to be a touch more classic looking with this simple dial adjustment. This new model remains on the stainless steel oyster bracelet, one of the best bracelets in the industry.
The Explorer 1, as it has been for decades, looked amazing on a leather strap, NATO, and even rubber. It’s truly a do it all watch and comes with the moniker of the ideal “one watch collection”. If you have small to medium sized wrists this could be your calling. Head out to your local Rolex AD and put your name on the waiting list for the new Explorer 124270.
For more details and specs head over to the Rolex listing page here.