1969 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 1016) MK II 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 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 appearance...

The 1016 Explorer was one of the longest-produced Rolex watches, and has become a cornerstone piece for any Rolex collection that can hold its own. Although the Explorer ref. 1016 was produced for a long period of time, it has become one of the more elusive references in recent years due to the simple fact that Rolex didn't manufacture very many during its tenure. Along with the low production numbers, collectors have been holding onto these pieces which further reduces the number of models available for purchase. 

The MK II dial variant of the ref. 1016 is the rarest of the 5 dials produced during the matte dial Explorer I's tenure, existing in a very small production window in 1969, only cases with serial numbers that begin with "2,1" are acceptable to bear the MK II dial.

Stock # RLXEXP101669
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 1016
Serial 21XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Matte Black 3-6-9 "MK II"
Millimeters 36
Bracelet Rolex 6251H Rolled-Link Jubilee Bracelet W/ 55 End Pieces



The superb case is in exceptional condition with crisp finishing and strong dimensions throughout, showing only light signs of previous use. The smooth stainless steel bezel is in excellent condition with light signs of use present. The Rolex 6251H rolled-link Jubilee bracelet with 55 end pieces dates to 1972 and retains 22 links that show normal stretch for the style and age of the bracelet. The bracelet will fit up to a 7 1/2-inch wrist.


The MK II matte black 3-6-9 Explorer dial is the rarest of the 1016 dials and this one is in exceptional condition, showing no damage and only subtle age. The tritium lume plots have achieved a beautiful creamy yellow patina and exhibit no degradation under U.V. light inspection. The original tritium hands have aged a shade darker than the dial and display no degradation under U.V. light inspection.


None. The watch is keeping time, previous service history is unknown.