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.
Thanks Matt, any idea how much the steel 36mm weights? (39mm 136gm)
Matthew Catellier says
Hey Steven, sorry not quite sure on the weight just yet.
What do you think about people who say this is a womans watch due to size?
Would you personally be comfortable with the size on your wrist?
Matthew Catellier says
Hi Kenneth, I’m glad you stopped by and asked that question so I can clarify it to other’s who might be wondering the same. I think the notion of small watch being a women’s watch is absolutely ridiculous as long as the proportions on wrist are elegant. For example, someone who has an 8 inch wrist might consider a 36mm too small for them and label the 36mm a “women’s watch”, on the other end of the spectrum someone like myself with a 6.5 inch wrist would usually consider 36mm the perfect man’s watch size. So what it comes down to is how it fits you personally. Another interesting perspective is the fact that 30mm to 34mm watches were once considered the norm even on large wrist sizes during World War I and II, which so happens to be one of the manliest jobs one could be involved in. To answer your last question, 36mm is the absolute perfect size for my 6.5 inch wrist, I actually own a 34mm air-king and love it. Cheers!
I think you are correct, ive seen a youtube review of this watch and someone left a comment “give your wife her watch back” – i think these people are just haters. I have a vintage 36mm piece and ive alway loved it, just started doubting myself after reading that sort of rubbish.
I really hope i can get the new steel 36mm. Having been to wos at the weekend i was told, waiting list and our best customers get priority and we cant tell you how long you may be waiting.
Not very helpful, i hope i can get it.
Matthew Catellier says
Unfortunately most of the stainless steel sports models from Rolex are very difficult to obtain, here’s an overview of the situation: https://www.watchreviewblog.com/rolex-waiting-list-shortages-authorized-dealer/
So true. They tried to get me interested in an OP and datejust when i was in there. Im sure thats all they had in the store
Yep, i can see myself being more frustred thst you. Im willing to wait one year.
Brolet Claude says
Do you know the exact thickness of the new Explorer 1 (36mm metal version)?
Thanks a lot for your answer.