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The New Rolex That Nobody's Talking About

The latest version of the Rolex Explorer dropped at Baselworld a few weeks ago. I dunno… maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I haven’t seen much buzz on the latest reference (214270).

Now, to be sure, the Explorer has historically been one of Rolex’s most understated references. But really? Only a brief discussion about the new lume on the new piece, and then crickets?

Perhaps only the no-date Submariners have been more “toolish” than the Explorer, with its history firmly rooted in Himalayan mountain climbing. Rolex was equipping expeditions all the way back to the 1930s. These endeavors directly informed the ongoing development of the Oyster case, as well as overall durability. And of course, Rolex Oyster development reached a high point (figuratively and literally) when Oyster watches accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to the peak of Mt. Everest in May of 1953.

The 214270 released in Basel this year is an evolutionary result of those efforts. And it’s a shining example of Rolex’s history of favoring small evolutionary changes to its watches, over making giant leaps. For the most part, that is… (cases in point, the SkyDweller and YachtMaster II).

Rolex Explorer ref. 214270

The new watch is housed in a 39mm highly corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel case, mounted on a bracelet of the same material. An Oysterlock safety clasp featuring Rolex’s Easylink rapid extension system cinches it all down on your wrist.

Visually, the new Explorer carries broader, longer hands rotating around a dial now lumed with Chromalight in the numerals as well as the hour markers. Chromalight burns a bright blue in darkness while looking for all the world like simple white highlighting in daylight.

Chromalight "fire" on the new Explorer

The engine purring beneath the new dial is the Calibre 3132. The calibre carries Rolex’s Parachrom hairspring and the new high performance Paraflex shock absorbers. These new shock absorbers are said to provide 50 per cent greater resistance to shocks and were recently developed and patented by Rolex. And of course, the 3132 carries the newly redefined Superlative Chronometer certification.

Rolex Calibre 3132

So I don’t know why folks aren’t talking about the updated Explorer, except when mentioning that the new AirKing is too much like it.

Just crickets... really.

 

-Ed Estlow

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