1998 Rolex Explorer I (Ref. 14270) "Tritinova" Dial

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The Rolex Explorer 1 ref. 14270 was introduced by Rolex in 1989 as the successor to the Ref. 1016. The Rolex Explorer 1 Ref. 1016 was in production for 27 years and saw only minor updates to the dial and bracelet, the Ref. 1016 largely remained unchanged throughout its 27 years of production. The ref. 14270, however, was a massive technical update to the Explorer 1. The ref. 14270 received a more modern sapphire crystal, a new, faster-beating Rolex Cal.1570 and then the Cal. 3000 movements. The updates also featured a more modern solid link bracelet with the later era bracelets receiving a smaller flip-lock clasp, and the most notable difference and update from a design visual perspective is a lacquered dial with applied white gold indices that were filled with tritium luminous material and then later with luminova. The Rolex Explorer ref. 14270 has quickly generated a cult-like following especially the earlier examples that possess tritium filled markers and hands.

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, 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. 14270 adds to the unique feel and appearance. The Rolex explorer blends the classic and timeless look of a 36mm Rolex Oyster style watch while offering a ruggedness and utilitarian feel that can be worn in the most formal and or casual settings.

This specific example retains it's original and actually very rare "Tritinova" dial. During the end of the '90s, Rolex was beginning the transition of its luminous material from tritium lume to the non-radioactive luminova lume. During this transitional period, a few of the remaining "T SWISS - T < 25" signed dial blanks were filled with luminova luminous material from the Rolex factory. This makes for an ultra transitional dial variant that gives you the presence of a more vintage style watch, with the modern functionality of luminova lume. 

Stock # RLXEXP14270-3
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer I
Model 14270
Serial U7XXXXX
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial Glossy Black 3-6-9 Dial
Millimeters 36mm
Bracelet Rolex Oyster 78790 Bracelet w/ 558B End Pieces



 The excellent no-holes case has been previously lightly polished, retaining very thick and even lugs. The smooth stainless steel bezel remains in excellent condition exhibiting no wear from use. The sapphire crystal is clean, showing no scratches or signs of wear. The Rolex 78790 Oyster bracelet with 558 B end pieces remains in excellent condition showing very little wear and stretch from use.


The excellent glossy black tritium signed luminova dial with white gold surround markers is flawless. The original luminova hands remain in flawless condition as well. The dial and hands glow blue when exposed to U.V. light and retain a green charge for an extended period of time.


None. Watch is running at spec, previous service history is unknown.