Rolex announced their 2021 models online this year, instead of at an event like Baselworld. The big news is, the Rolex Explorer 1, which has been 39mm since about 2005, is now available again in its original 36mm size.
The Explorer has been around a long time, in many incarnations. When it updated to 39mm for the second iteration in 2016, it seemed as though the 36mm was gone forever.
Now it’s back, with the updated 3230 movement, in 36mm, and no longer available in 39mm. As an interesting addition to the stable, there’s also a two-tone gold and steel model. I honestly never thought we’d see the return of the 36mm size, or the discontinuing of the 39mm size. The new-generation Explorer’s 36 mm Oyster case is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet).
The 3230 movement is based on the 3255 that was first shown a few years ago. 3230 is the no-date version, and has an 80 hours power reserve at +2/-2 seconds per day rating.
This Explorer 1 is called the 124270 reference. Historically, Explorers were:
- and now, 124270, which seems like it will be easy to mix up with the 114270
Here’s how this makes sense from a naming perspective. -4270 specifics a 3-6-9 Explorer.
14270 was the 36mm with 3000 calibre.
114270 was the 36mm with 3130 calibre.
214270 was the 39mm with 3130.
124270 is the 36mm with the 3230 calibre.
Starting with 6 digit references, the first digit tells us the size, 36mm or 39mm. The second digit tells us the calibre type.
Both models are available only on the Oyster bracelet, which has been a mainstay for Explorer for decades. The 2021 Rolex Exporer 1 in 36mm will start at $6450 USD, although it’s anyone’s guess how much you’ll pay over retail, given Rolex’s historic supply constraints in recent years. Rolex.com
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