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Release: Rolex Explorer Back in 36mm! In Stainless Steel and Two-Tone…
Oystersteel Ref. 124270 and Rolesor Ref. 124273

Big news today, Rolex introduces the Explorer in 36mm. Possibly even bigger news, no more Rolex watches available in 39mm. The Rolex Explorer has for the most part of its existence always been a 36mm wristwatch. Not too long ago Rolex upsized it to a more modern 39mm. This upset the purists (very much) and made a bunch of people very happy at the same time.

Some felt that while 36mm is more ‘historically’ appropriate for the Explorer, the 39mm diameter fits a larger range of wrists than the 36mm ever did. On the other hand voices were also heard complaining that the Explorer had gotten ‘too big’. Last year Rolex had axed all its 39mm sized Oyster Perpetuals, so the writing was very much on the wall for the 39mm Explorer since it was the only 39mm watch left in its catalogue. The question was simply by which size it would get replaced: A 36mm version or a 41mm version? We now have the answer of course.

Being a huge fan of the Explorer myself, I am very happy they went with the 36mm version here and not the alternative 41mm. The 36mm also makes this Explorer a pretty perfect ‘unisex’ wristwatch once again, that should look nicely at home on both men and women’s wrists. The upgraded caliber with increased power reserve is of course also a welcome change.

In addition to the Stainless Steel version there is also a more luxurious version of the ever stoic Explorer: A Two Tone model for the first time ever. Some might call it an Explorer going through a bit of an identity crisis, and I’m not entirely sure I would disagree. But more choice is surely always better?

With new design avenues opening up for the Explorer the question is then whether we may also see the addition of the 41mm sizes in the future? This would be in line with the changes to the Oyster Perpetual line-up. Time will tell.


  • MODEL CASE: Oyster, 36 mm, Oystersteel or Rolesor
    • Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
    • Diameter 36mm with smooth bezel
    • Screw-down crown, Twinlock double waterproofness system
    • Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet
  • CALIBRE: 3230, Manufacture Rolex, -2/+2 sec/day after casing
    • Centre hour, minute and seconds hands
    • Stop-seconds for precise time setting
    • Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring
    • High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers
    • Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor
    • Power Reserve: Approximately 70 hours

More info here

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feels like a step backwards in a way but the black dial sure looks nice. The two tone though.. who in their right mind would want this?


why they still insist on using fonts that are even too big for the 39 onto the new 36 dial is beyond me.
why insist on using R O L E X instead of just ROLEX. the redundant space in between the characters just makes the watch look cluttered.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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