1960 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 1016) "SWISS only" Chapter Ring

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The Rolex Explorer I references bridge the gap between a dress watch and a sports watch. Without the crown guards and rotating bezels commonly found on sports models offered by Rolex, the Explorer I has a cleaner, sleeker profile while incorporating recognizable sport model features into the dial. The highly visible block indices, luminescent numerals at the 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, and 9 o'clock positions, and Submariner style triangle at the 12 o'clock position allow for readability under any conditions. The Submariner hands featured on the Ref. 1016 add to the unique feel and appearance.

This rare and early example of the Ref. 1016 Explorer dates to 1960. The gilted "SWISS only" chapter ring dial is the first dial iteration offered within the 1016 reference range, directly succeeding the Rolex Ref. 6610 Explorer. The Rolex Explorer reference range as a whole has been a favorite since first produced in commemoration for the success of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953. The Ref. 1016 is celebrated in its own right for being having the longest running production under the Explorer line and is highly sought after among collectors as it's seen as the "true" Rolex Explorer I.

Stock # RLXEXP601016
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model Ref. 1016
Serial 51XXXX
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial Glossy Gilt "Chapter Ring" 3-6-9 Dial
Millimeters 36mm
Bracelet Nato (Coyote Brown)



The honest case retains full lugs showing honest wear, remaining in overall good vintage condition. The stainless steel bezel remains in unpolished condition, showing honest wear from use. The case back is stamped I.60, matching the serial range between the lugs. 


The early "SWISS only" gilt chapter ring dial has taken on a striking and consistent patina. The gilting and of the chapter ring and text remains fully intact and undamaged. The dial itself has taken on a slightly gray coloration with a very subtle textured patina. The early tritium lume on the dial remains fully intact and has taken on a dark patina, almost green in coloration. The original gilt hour and minute hands remain original to the watch. The minute hand remains fully intact and matches the dial coloration perfectly, the hour hand exhibits a minor crack in the hand itself at its base and some minor lume loss is shown at the base as well. The dial and hands have a strong glow when exposed under U.V. light and fade evenly. 


None. Watch is running perfectly and keeping time, additional service history is unknown.

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