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 "2,1-2,2" are acceptable to bear the Mk. II dial.

Stock # RLXEXP101669-3
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 1016
Serial 22XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Matte Black 3-6-9 "Mk. II"
Millimeters 36
Strap 2pc Handmade Leather Strap



The exceptionally crisp and well-preserved case retains very thick and symmetrical lugs that exhibit minor evidence of previous polishing and only gentle signs of previous use. The smooth stainless steel bezel is in excellent condition with light signs of use present. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather strap. 


The original Mk. II matte black 3-6-9 Explorer dial is the rarest of the ref. 1016 dials and this one is simply stunning, showing no damage or notable age.

The tritium lume plots have taken on a deep, yet vibrant golden custard patina and exhibit no degradation under UV light inspection. The original tritium hands almost perfectly match the dial, but have aged to a slightly more saturated color and display no degradation under UV light inspection.


None. The watch is keeping time, but the service history is unknown. A movement service can be provided upon request.