1963 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 1016) "SWISS only" Chapter Ring Exclamation Dial

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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 1963. The gilt "SWISS only" chapter ring exclamation dial is in stunning original condition. The Rolex Explorer reference range as a whole has been a favorite since first produced in commemoration of 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 # RLXEXP101663
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 1016
Serial 90XXXX
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial Glossy Gilt 3-6-9 "Chapter Ring" 
Millimeters 36mm
Bracelet Rolex "U.S.A. Made" Oval-Link Jubilee Bracelet W/ 55 End Pieces



The strong case has been only lightly polished in the past and shows very full and symmetrical lugs that feature light honest signs of use. The smooth stainless steel bezel has been lightly polished as well and shows very light signs of use. The Rolex "U.S.A Made" oval-links Jubilee bracelet with 55 end pieces is in great overall condition and displays only some stretch from use and retains 21 links.


The original “SWISS only" gilt chapter ring exclamation point dial is in breathtakingly remarkable condition. The dial itself retains its glossy “mirror-like” finish and shows only very light spidering along the top outer edges of the dial, which are only visible under magnification. The gilt of the chapter ring and text remains fully intact and undamaged and is a rich golden coloration. The lume plots have taken on a handsome sandy patina, and exhibit no degradation throughout, the exclamation point remains full and round without degradation as well. The original hands match the dial perfectly and exhibit some light corrosion which is common for hands of this era, under U.V. light inspection the minute hands show very minor cracking and the lume remains completely stable, the hour and sweep-seconds hand remain fully intact.


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