1960 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 1016) Gilt "Swiss Only" Chapter Ring Dial

$ 14,850

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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 sports 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 sporty appearance.

The very first version of the legendary Rolex ref. 1016 Explorer I was introduced in the year 1960, featuring a “Swiss only” gilt chapter dial. This version directly succeeded the also legendary ref. 6610 Explorer I and in parts retains some of the same details that makes its predecessor so closely. This first series dial didn’t last long however and was soon replaced with the “Exlamation point” dial and the subsequent iterations that followed.

The ref. 1016 Rolex Explorer I was one of the longest running sport models Rolex ever produced, from the years 1960-1989, and features many evolutions throughout its production run, however, the Rolex ref. 1016 was always produced in small batches making for low production numbers throughout its tenure. Consequently, the ref. 1016 has become one of the most sought-after vintage Rolex references in recent years, and with collectors holding onto these pieces, the actually available examples for sale becomes smaller and smaller each year. Of course, this only increases the desirability of this model as each variant has become more elusive as time goes on. 

Stock # RLXEXP601016-2
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 1016
Serial 51XXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Gilt "Chapter Ring" 3-6-9 Dial
Millimeters 36
Strap 2pc Handmade Leather Strap



The thick case retains full and symmetrical lugs that display signs of light previous polishing and honest signs of use. It must be noted that the bottom right lug does exhibit a slight bend, though it is not apparent while the watch is on wrist. The smooth stainless steel bezel shows light signs of honest use in matching fashion to the case. The case back features gentle tooling marks and light signs of use. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather strap. 


The original "Swiss Only" gilt chapter ring dial possesses a beautiful vintage aesthetic and has achieved a matte texture that is consistent throughout. This patina gives the dial a deep grey color as opposed to the usual glossy black dial. The gilt text and printing around the dial is all fully intact and in excellent condition. The strontium lume in the dial all remains intact under U.V. light inspection and has achieved a dark grey and green coloration throughout. The original strontium lume hands match the dial nicely, under U.V. light inspection the minute hand exhibits some minor lume loss that is nominal in nature and remains stable, the hour and second hand remain fully intact.


None. The watch is keeping time perfectly, backed by our 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.

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