1988 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 1016) "R Serial"

Rolex 1016 Advertisement

The Rolex Explorer I reference 1016 bridges 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.

The 1016 Explorer was one of Rolexes longest produced watches, and these end of production "R Serial" 1016 Rolex Explorer 1's have become highly collectible. Due to the simple fact that there weren't many manufactured. Collectors love these watches as they were the last of the Rolex watches produced with a matte black dial well into the 80s, whereas the rest of the Rolex sports line switched to glossy lacquer with white gold surround lume plots. The Rolex Explorer I Ref. 1016 would make a great addition to an existing collection and offers the utmost versatility as a stand-alone piece. A perfect daily driver, the ref. 1016 is suitable for any setting from casual to formal.  

Stock # RLXEXP881016R-2
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 1016
Serial R8XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Matte Black 3-6-9 Dial
Millimeters 36
Bracelet Rolex Oyster 78360 Bracelet w/ 580 End Pieces



The excellent case has likely been polished once in its past as it retains very thick lugs that remain symmetrical in presence, there are almost no signs of use. The smooth stainless steel bezel is in beautiful condition as well, with almost no signs of use. The original Rolex 78360 Oyster bracelet with 580 end pieces retains 12 links with almost no stretch from use.


The late matte black Rolex Explorer 1 dial is in exceptional and original condition, showing no major signs of age. The tritium lume plots have aged to a gorgeous vibrant yellow coloration and display no degradation when inspected under U.V. light. The original tritium hands match the dial perfectly and display no degradation under U.V. light inspection.


None. The watch was recently serviced and is keeping time perfectly, backed by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.