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  1. 1905 - Hans Wilsdorf There is a close relationship between the history of Rolex and its farsighted and innovative founder Hans Wilsdorf. In 1905, when he was 24 years old, he set up a company specialized in horologe. He even conceived that watch would be worn on the wrist. Although the precision of watch was not high at that time, Hans Wilsdorf was able to foresee that wristwatch can not only show its elegance, and it also can be accurate and reliable. In order to convince public to believe the his innovative watch was accurate, he specially equipped the watch with small, precise movement produced by a watch company of Biel. Hans Wilsdorf 1908 - five artful letters Hans Wilsdorf wanted to get a concise and readable name for the watch, and it was easy to remember for any language, moreover, it was sightly on the movement and dial. He said: "I had tried all combinations of letters and got hundreds of names finally, but none of them could make me feel satisfied. One morning, when I sat on the upper desk of stagecoach by way of Cheapside in London, I seemed to have heard the voice of elfin, it whispered a word in my ear:Rolex". Stagecoach 1910 - the pursuit of timing accuracy Although Rolex concentrated on improving the quality of movement initially, it explored actively in the precision of chronometer and got success eventually. In 1910, Rolex became the first watch that obtained the Swiss chronometer certificate issued by Beil's official watch ranking center. Swiss chronometer certificate 1914 Four years later, that was 1914, the British Kew Observatory awarded the "A" certificate to Rolex. At that time, this certificate was generally obtained by marine chronometer. Since then, Rolex become a symbol of precise timepiece. "A" certificate 1919 - Geneva Rolex moved to the international city Geneva that was famous for watchmaking technology, and registered as company "Montres Rolex S.A." in the local. Rolex in Geneva 1926 - the first waterproof watch In 1926, Rolex produced the first waterproof and dustproof watch, which symbolized great progress of watchmaking technology. This watch was called Oyster and it was equipped with airtight case to provide the best protection for movement. Oyster 1927 - the Cross-Channel challenge Rolex must be able to provide conclusive evidence to prove the waterproof of watch. In 1927, young British lady Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel successfully with wearing Oyster. After Mercedes Gleitze swam for more than ten hours to reach the terminal point, the watch that she worn was still intact and working as usual. Mercedes Gleitze 1927 - the concept of brand spokesperson In order to celebrate this historic creation, Rolex published a whole page of article to declare the victory of waterproof watch on the front page of Daily Mail. The successful creation symbolized the emergence of the concept of brand spokesperson for Rolex. Daily Mail 1931 - perpetual movement In 1931, Rolex developed the world's first patented self-winding mechanism - perpetual rotor. This original system is design basis of every modern automatic watch. Perpetual Movement 1933 - flying over Mount Qomolangma Pilots were wearing Rolex Oyster in the first voyage of flying over Mount Qomolangma. They were satisfied with the function of Oyster. Flying over Mount Qomolangma 1935 - laboratory of field test Rolex knew that different environments were the opportunities for Oyster's testing and improvement. The fields like sports, aviation, racing and expedition are excellent laboratories for testing numerous technical functions of watch. A living laboratory 1935 - Sir Malcolm Campbell In the 1930s, Rolex built pleasant happy partnerships with one of the world's fastest drivers Sir Malcolm Campbell in the racing world. On September 4th, 1935, this "King of Speed" sat on his racing car "Bluebird" and worn Rolex, and he set a record of more than 300 miles per hour (about 485 kilometers per hour) in Utah's Bonneville Speedway. Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the world speed record for nine times successively during the period from 1924 to 1935, five of them was on Daytona Beach. Sir Malcolm Campbell 1935 - a letter to Rolex Sir Malcolm Campbell said: "I have worn Rolex for some time, and my watch is still accurate in the difficult circumstances." A letter to Rolex 1945 - the first Datejust In 1945, Rolex launched Datejust and it was the world's first self-winding watch with date display on the dial. The extraordinary Datejust was equipped with Jubilee bracelet created specially for it and fluted bezel, which were distinctive and it was the major model among Oyster series. Datejust was originally designed for men, ten years later, it gradually evolved into varied and colorful ladies watch. the first Datejust 1947 - mysterious man In 1947, in order to celebrate the brand's 100,000th officially certified chronometer, Hans Wilsdorf gifted a log type watch to an outstanding gentleman and called him as great minds of the age. However, up to now, his identity has never been disclosed. Mysterious outstanding gentleman 1953 - pioneering watch In the early 1950s, Rolex developed a series of professional watches that not only possessed the function of telling time with sound knowledge of chronometer's precision and waterproof. These watches were designed for professional activities, including deep-sea diving, aviation, mountain - climbing and scientific explorations. Pioneering watch 1953 - Mount Qomolangma In 1953, Sir John Hunt, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak of Mount Qomolangma with wearing Oyster Perpetual respectively. Everest hillary norgay Everest edmund norgay 1953 - Explorer Brilliant achievements of human explorations provided inspiration for the creation of Oyster Perpetual Explorer. Since its launch in 1953, it immediately became the iconic classic watch. Everest Explorer 1953 - Submariner Submariner was launched in 1953, and it was the first diver's watch with waterproof to 100 meters(330 feet). Its rotary bezel allows divers to know time conveniently. First Submariner Perfect partner on land or in the sea. Submariner can operate normally under the sea of 660 feet. All aspects of its functions are excellent. Submariner 1953 - the first intercontinental flights With the advent of jet age in the 1950s, international airlines developed rapidly and the airplanes had to fly across several time zones in a short time, so that it was important for pilots to know different times of different locations on the earth. The first intercontinental flights 1955 - the GMT-Master GMT-Master was specially designed for meeting the demand of pilots. As soon as it was launched, GMT-Master become appointed watch of several airline company, including famous Pan Am. Its remarkable characteristic was the two-tone bezel which marked daytime from nighttime hours. The first GMT-Master 1956 - the Day-Date Oyster Perpetual Day-Date that was launched in 1956 had a prominent innovation: it was available in 18 ct gold or platinum, and it was the first watch with date and week display on the dial, and this was a great technical achievement at that time. As a model of noble watch, Day-Date was only produced with precious metal, it became popular among influential people as soon as it was launched. Day-Date 1956 - leadership Rolex always has a close relationship with many important people who lead the world. Some of them are foresighted, and some of them obtained great achievements, but they have one thing in common-they worn Day-Date. Day-Date 1956 - CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world - class particle physics laboratory, it is devoted to exploring the secrets of the universe with the most advanced scientific research. It also has the world's highest energy particle accelerator. In the 1950s, CERN was one of the laboratories that took the lead in confirming Milgauss watch can enough to withstand up to 1000 Gauss of magnetic flux density. CERN 1956 - Oyster Perpetual Milgauss Milgauss was launched in 1956. It was specially invented for scientific community and it could withstand up to 1000 Gauss of magnetic flux density. Extraordinary antimagnetic function of Milgauss was derived from its internal antimagnetic shield which was beneficial to ensure the normal operation of movement. Rolex specially selected paramagnetic alloys to make two components of antimagnetic shield. After rigorous testing by CERN engineers, it was proved that watch possessed perfect antimagnetic function. Oyster Perpetual Milgauss 1957 - Lady-Datejust Lady-Datejust was the first lady's watch of the Rolex Datejust, a pretty small case contained its elegance and uniquer functions and it was more suitable for lady's slender wrist. Lady-Datejust 1960 - Deep Sea Special In the 1950s, Rolex carried out rigorous and exhaustive testing of an experimental watch, called "Deep Sea Special". By the knowledge gained from the making of the previous two models, the third Deep Sea Special was able to withstand the extreme harsh conditions, including the Challenger Deep waters of the Mariana Trench. Submariner of 1960 Deep Sea Special 1960 - the deepest dive In 1960, the experimental bathyscaphe-Trieste successfully dived into Mariana Trench which is known for the deepest of earth's surface. Naval lieutenant Don Walsh was responsible for the helm, in the company of Jacques Piccard, the Trieste that they took made this unprecedented achievement of deep-sea adventure. Bathyscaphe and Rolex Deep Sea Special experimental watch which was attached to the outside returned to the the surface of water from the deep sea of 10916 meters (37800 feet), ans both of them were still functioning normally. Deepest dive Bathyscaphe-Trieste 1960 - Daytona Beach Daytona Beach, Florida. Daytona Beach was a legend as the world capital of speed for it was long, flat and firm, with hard-packed sand. There were 14 world land speed records set between 1904 and 1935 at Daytona Beach, five of them were set by Rolex-wearer Sir Malcolm Campbell. With time goes by, the sandiness deteriorated. In 1959, a "Super Speedway" was built, that was the Daytona International Speedway. This new amphitheatre of motor racing quickly become one of the most prestigious endurance car races in the world and it enjoyed equal popularity with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although its surface was no longer sand, Daytona was still racing area of the Rolex 24-Hour at Daytona. Daytona Beach 1963 - the Cosmograph Daytona The new-generation Cosmograph Daytona was launched in 1963, and its name was derived from a classical landmark - Daytona. Cosmograph Daytona was robust and waterproof, and it was equipped with speedometer-applique bezel for calculating average speed. The First Cosmograph Daytona 1963 - the French diving company Comex Rolex collaborated closely with the French diving company - COMEX. Divers of COMEX worn Rolex Sea-Dweller watches during their working in the deep sea. Under the leadership of Henri Germain Delauze, COMEX was once forerunner in deep-sea diving and remains a world-renowned iconic enterprise in hyperbaric engineering and underwater work. The cooperation between Rolex and COMEX is as strong as ever today. The headquarters of COMEX is located in Marseilles, and it specially developed a hyperbaric tank for testing the Rolex Deepsea watch. Comex 1967 - the Sea-Dweller Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller was launched in 1967, its possessed waterproof to 610 meters. In order to meet the demand of professional deep-sea divers, it was equipped with helium escape valve to release helium from the gas mixtures during the long-playing decompression process in hyperbaric chambers, so that it could prevent the watch from being damaged. Sea-Dweller 1971 - the Explore II Rolex launched Oyster Perpetual Explore II which was specially designed for polar explorers, speleologists, and explorers who devote to challenging limits. The watch was equipped with a distinctive 24-hour hand which could help the wearers to distinguish day from night in polar or in the underground cave. Explore II 1976 - Rolex Awards for Enterprise To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster, Rolex specially held Awards for Enterprise to praise the courageous, faithful people for they pay efforts to address great challenges. Each Rolex Award for Enterprise is given for innovative project or ongoing project from all over the world. Rolex hopes that people can improve their lives, protect the world's natural and cultural heritage. These projects are involved in all aspects of humanity by expanding knowledge or improving the earth's ecological environment. Rolex Awards for Enterprise 1978 - Sea-Dweller 4000 Rolex launched Sea-Dweller 4000 with waterproof to 1,220 meters(4,000 feet). Sea-Dweller 4000 1985 - 904L stainless steel Rolex was the first leading watchmaking brand to select 904L stainless steel to produce stainless steel case. This material is always used in the high-tech, aerospace and chemical industry, its excellent anti-corrosion can be comparable with the precious metal, it can show unique luster after a final polish. 904L stainless steel 1992 - the Pearlmaster The Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster which was the new interpretation of the Lady-Datejust was launched. Pearlmaster 1992 - the Yacht-Master Rolex launched Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master in 1992. It was the first Oyster professional watch that was available in three sizes of case(29, 35 and 40mm), and it was the concentrative expression of close relationship between Rolex and nautical sport. Yacht-Master 1992 - Rolex & Yachting Rolex is honorary sponsor of many famous maritime events around the world. Yachting 2000 - 4130 movement The idea and assembly of 4130 movement were exclusively completed by Rolex, and the Cosmograph Daytona designed in 2000 only consists of 290 components( far fewer than standard chronograph) and shows its simplicity.  4130 movement 2002 - MENTOR AND PROTÉGÉ The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was founded in 2002, and many worthies from every artistic field will provide talented individuals with one to one mentoring through this unique project. Over the past ten years, the creative community of Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative has expanded across different continents and cultures, and now there are more than 80 major creative artists of different generations and backgrounds are taking part in this project. MENTOR AND PROTÉGÉ 2005 - CERACHROM bezel To ensure the sturdiness and durability of watch, Rolex developed patented Cerachrom bezel for Oyster specific professional models. Because it was made from special ceramics with great hardness, corrosion resistance and scratch resistance, it still will not fade under ultraviolet irradiation. Its diamond polished surface presents an exceptional luster. The 24-hour markers are coated with a thin layer of platinum. CERACHROM CERACHROM bezel 2005 - blue Parachrom hairspring After five years of research, Rolex created the blue Parachrom hairspring with paramagnetic alloy. It is unaffected by magnetic fields and its shock resistance is up to 10 times. Historically, the blue hairspring was only equipped to the most accurate timepieces. Parachrom hairspring 2007 - Yatch-Master II Oyster Perpetual Yatch-Master II regatta chronograph is the world's first watch equipped with a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory. In this unique and complicated watchmaking installation, its movement and case, as well as the Ring Command that exclusively designed and developed by Rolex, three of them constitute an innovative system and interact. This regatta chronograph allows yachtsmen to cross the line as soon as possible after the starting gun. Yatch-Master II 2008 - Rolex Deepsea Rolex Deepsea was specially designed for extreme underwater exploration. The innovative Ringlock system allows crystal to withstand water pressure equivalent to a weight of more than three tonnes. The depth that Rolex Deepsea can dive into is not deeper than a few purpose-built research submersibles, but it is deeper than most of the submarines, even more than 100 times beyond the depth that any human could physically survive. Deepsea 2012 - Sky-Dweller Rolex launched innovatory Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller which was designed for world travelers. It was equipped with elegant case with diameter of 42mm and readable, adjustable dual time zone display; and it also was equipped with particularly innovative annual calendar named Saros, its inspiration was derived from an astronomical phenomenon and it requires only one adjustment per year. To set its functions quickly and easily, it was also equipped with a new interface which consists of the rotatable Ring Command bezel. Sky-Dweller 2012 - reaching the deepest place on earth On March 26th, 2012, filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer in Residence James Cameron descended into the Mariana Trench, he renewed the record of solo deep-sea diving and become the first solo dive into the deepest point on earth. Before this, there was only two-man Trieste expedition of 1960 had conquered Mariana Trench. and the only dive into the trench since the two-man Trieste expedition of 1960. Only one passenger was on both voyages: a Rolex watch. Deepest 2012 - Deepsea Challenge Rolex Perpetual Deepsea Challenge is a experimental diver's watch with waterproof to 12,000 meters(39,370 feet). This watch was completely developed and produced by Rolex, it could withstand extreme pressure of deep-sea, and it set a record of the deepest diving watch in the world. Deepsea Challenge 2013 - Formula 1® In order to keep close relationship with motorsports, in 2013 Rolex entered into a long-term partnership with Formula 1® Racing and served as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece. Formula 1® The following links may help you know Rolex better: Air King: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1400-the-evolution-of-rolex-air-king/ Datejust: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1420-datejust-the-most-iconic-rolex/ Day Date: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1655-the-day-date-in-rolex-history/ Daytona: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1362-paul-newman-and-mcqueen/ Explorer: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1371-rolex-explorer-history/ GMT-Master: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1441-rolex-gmt-master-a-skywalker-in-time-zone-traveling/ Milgauss: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1406-how-to-resist-the-magnetic-power-rolex-milgauss/ Prince: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1416-rolex-prince-doctors-watch/ Submariner: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1675-different-generations-of-rolex-submariner/ Sea-Dweller: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1727-rolex-deepsea-legend/ Turn-O-Graph: http://www.watchtalkforum.com/topic/1731-rolex-datejust-turn-o-graph-review/
  2. The watch exhibition Basel that was held in 1954 was a commemorable time for Rolex coporation and the worldwide watch field. In this year, Rolex demonstrated Explorer, Submariner and Turn-O-Graph, it changed the conception of Utility Watch to a concrete image at one stroke, and was leading the fashion trend in the whole watch field. This achievement was no doubt a fruit of all Rolex staffs' hard working, but those days manager of Rolex Republic Relationships Department Rene-Paul Jeanneret himself who was a devotee in many sports had also made many contributions in shaping and conducting this conception. It was the apparently fashionable design and manufacture of Rolex wrist watch catched the leading position that absorbed Pan-Am, the largest airline in the world at that time, it hoped Rolex corporation could design a special applied wrist watch for their pilots who often flight back and forth through every time zones. After Pan-Am and Rene-Paul Jeanneret consulted with each other, the two big companies which dominated in two completely different fields in market began coorperation and finally produced the same famous GMT-Master. Turn-O-Graph The well-known captain Frederick Libby who was an air battle hero in WWII was on behalf of Pan-Am to offer skills consultation in this research, and Jeannerer came up with a thought that added a rotatable 24-hour bezel on the original bezel and added a hand on the dial to indicate the time in another time zone. Technically, Rolex adopted Turn-O-Graph Ref.6202 that was equipped Cal.1030 as the origin model to modify, and a brand-new movement Ref.1065 was born after being added a 24-hour indicated gear and a new date display in the Cal.1030. Besides a plastic two-tone rotatable 24-hour bezel indicating the second time zone, the first Ref.6542 GMT-Master looks much similar to Turn-O-Graph and Submariner, and all of them had not been equipped with Crown Protecting Shoulders. However, we must notice that the first generation of GMT-Master is the first Rolex watch that featured Cyclops. In 1956, the plastic bezel of GMT-Master was modified to metal one that was still used today. Pan-Am appointed GMT-Master as their official timer and gave it to every senior managers, captains and avigators. GMT-Master Ref.6542 GMT-Master was modified to Ref.1675 since 1960, it started to use Crown Protecting Shoulders, and the GMT hand on the dial were larger than the former one that was much similar to the modern types. Ref.1675 had a Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified mark on its dial that was printed on modern watches, it adopted Cal.1565 that was different from Officially Certified Chronometer of Ref.6542, this movement was equipped with Micro Stella Free Sprung Balance so that it was much more accurate than before. Rolex was not only popular in Pan-Am and other civilian avigators that has a larger amount, but also more popular in customers, it was sold well last for 20 years that could be classified to one of the hottest Rolex watches. GMT-Master Ref.1675 GMT-Master was not only deeply trusted by every civil airlines, it was also given a highly evaluation by the military and was gradually popular among fighter pilots. NASA had conducted a series of tests for challenging the flight speed and flying height, finally created a world record 4,543 mph (7,269 kph) or 6.72 mach by the experimental aircraft North American X15 in 1967, this record has not been broken today. The driver of X15 Pete Knight was wearing a GMT-Master at that time, he admired GMT-Master that it still worked well and accurate as a COSC watch even was 45,000 feet over the ground and was suffering a drastic operation and over 3.5 G centrifugal force. The apparently reason why Pete Knight chose GMT-Master was that the time when he was driving Bell X-I aircraft and overcome the Chuck Yeager from Sound Barrier, he was wearing a Rolex Oyster that had been his companion for several years in World War II. Pete Knight created a world record with wearing GMT-Master and driving X-15 In 1976, GMT was improved again and Rolex launched a new type that featured stop second function. In 1980, GMT-Master was modified to Ref.16750 that had quick date adjustment feature. Later, GMT-Master was modified again and Ref.16700 was published, its crystal was changed to sapphire crystal. In 1983, Rolex launched a completely improved GMT-Master II Ref.16710 with Cal.3085. Due to its bi-directional rotating 24-hour bezel and GMT hand, GMT Master had the improved function of time display in three time zones. From the classical design that GMT-Master insisted constantly and being gradually improved, we can discover that it is this watch-making idea that keeps Rolex brand value and consumers' enthusiasm. GMT-Master II Ref.16710
  3. Explorer I Rolex Explorer I has always been one of the most popular and the most attractive watches, it is elegant and sporty for its black dial and 3-6-9 Arabic numerals digital hour markers. Having beloved by celebrities and movie stars, as well as having been greatly reported by fashion magazines and watch magazines, Rolex Explorer I has become fashion darling in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. This trend was caused by Takuya Kimura in the Japanese television drama Love Generation. Because the great popularity of Love Generation, the crystal apple and Explorer 14270 worn by Takuya Kimura also became popular. Stage photo of Love Generation: (1)Left: the crystal apple; (2) Right: Takuya Kimura wore Explorer 14270 Apart from the fanaticism of idolater, Explorer I itself is actually a very attractive watch. In addition to its technological achievement, Explorer I possesses elegant and sporty appearance, moreover, it is not only full of gripping historical stories, but also includes intricate stories, just like other Rolex sports watches(Do you remember the story of Sumariner, Daytona Cosmograph and Explorer II?). Although nowadays the appearance of the newest Ref. 114270 of Explorer I or the former 14270 are quite different from the Explorer that accompanied great men to make their achievements in those years, the most obvious is that the typical and original 3-6-9 luminous Arabic hour markers were replaced by metal hour markers, and the design of case, movement, and crystal all had been changed, its constant spirit still continues. Explorer Ref. 14270 From general watch fans' point of view, Rolex Explorer I is specially designed for climbing expedition of Everest, Himalayan. On May 29, 1953, a British expedition formed by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay et al reached the peak of Everest and set historical precedent. However, the real fact is different from that legendary and fascinating story. First of all, Rolex had indeed sponsored Himalayan expedition since 1993, and then Rolex had always been the official sponsor of Everest expedition, Rolex sponsored every team with wristwatch equipment. Nevertheless, Rolex was not the only sponsor, it was believed that Edmund Hillary worn British Smith watch that was another sponsor when he reached the peak of Everest. But Tenzing Norgay really worn Explorer, on July 19th, 1988, this watch was auctioned at Sotheby's in London, and it is collected in Rolex Museum in Geneva. Is Explorer the first watch that reached the peak of Everest? This problem will never have the answer, because none of Hillary and Norgay would like to tell that who was the first one to set foot on the summit, and they consistently held the opinion that they reached the peak simultaneously. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary:Tenzing worn Explorer Secondly, the Explorer that Tenzing Norgay wore indeed possessed classical black dial of Explorer and 3-6-9 luminescent digital hour markers, although it was not equipped with Skelette (Mercedes) hand that we are familiar with(Only a few Ref. 6350 were equipped with it), but the luminous hand, and round luminous dot on the central second hand was bigger than today's models. It is noteworthy that this Explorer was printed Precision on the dial, but not Explorer. Otherwise, according to the record of Sotheby's, the case back of this watch was Bubble Back. On the basis of these characteristics, this watch should be Ref. 6350. At that time, Rolex was used to carving the date of manufacture on the case back, and the date of the Ref. 6350 that Tenzing Norgay wore was IV 53, that was it was made in April 1953, thus it is evident that before Hillary and Norgay made achievement of reaching the peak, Rolex did not prolifically name Ref. 6350 as Explorer, although Rolex had registered patent of Explorer in Geneva on January 26, 1953, Explorer was officially named after Hillary ans Norgay reached the peak of Everest. After they reached the peak, some Ref. 6350 that produced in 1953 began to be printed 「Explorer」. Rolex explored and researched for a long time can it manufacture Explorer I. Advertisement of Explorer Ref. 6350 took the expedition of reaching the peak of Everest for information material Explorer Ref.6350 In any case, Ref. 6350 Explorer was indeed specially designed for meeting the demand of explorers. Ref. 6350 Explorer possesses high readable dial, and its case had also been specially strengthened, it could use specially-made lubricating oil to make this watch work normally without influence of accuracy for the changing of viscosity between +40℃ and -20℃ as needed, therefore whether before or after Hillary and Norgaya reached the peak of Everest, a good deal of expeditions were rely on Ref. 6350 as their timing equipment. Actually, the most distinctive dial was not a new idea, its large triangle mark at 12 o'clock position and some Rolex models with dial equipped with Arabic numerals and Roman numeral had been wildly used in the 1930s and 1940s, while 3-6-9 Arabic numerals and bar hour markers had been applied to Cushion Oyster in early. However, all these characteristics were combined in an unique way and they created a distinctive, unmistakable and classic image for Rolex. Advertisement of Explorer Ref. 1016 in 1975 According to research of early Explorer models by James M. Dowling who is the author of the book "The Best of Time. Rolex Wristwatches: An Unauthorized History" shows that Rolex was obviously not sure about the market potential of Explorer at the beginning, thus Rolex equipped other watches with the name of Explorer or dial with registered trademark of Explorer. Air King Explorer is the most famous example. The so-called Air King Explorer refers to Air King Ref. 5500, but its dial is 3-6-9 luminous black dial, however, Precision is printed on its dial, but not Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. Another example is the so-called Dress Explorers, they refer to some Oyster Perpetual models possess metal hour markers and hand, and the design of dials are not the style of Explorer, but their dials are carved with Explorer, including Ref. 5700 (it is also called Explorer Date) with date display and Ref. 5504 without date display. This kind of Explorer is deemed as rare and precious today, and most were produced in 1950s and 1960s, and the earliest one is Ref. 6298 launched in 1953, and it had been completely stopped production until the Explorer became popular in the market later. An Explorer Ref. 5500 auctioned by Antiquorum Details of Ref. 5500 An Explorer Ref. 6150 auctioned by Antiquorum An Explorer Ref. 6298 auctioned by Antiquorum Explorer Ref. 6350 was only produced about one year in 1953, and then it was replaced by Ref. 6150 in the same year. Most of black dials of Explorer Ref. 6350 were printed Officially Certified Chronometer, and the dial possessed unique Honeycomb decoration. Both Ref. 6150 and Ref. 6350 were equipped with A296 movement, but the case of Ref. 6350 was larger than Ref. 6150's by 2 mm, and both of them were style of Precision. Ref. 6150 had been stopped production in 1959 and it was replaced by Ref. 6610. The appearance of Ref. 6610 and Ref. 6150 were almost identical, but Ref. 6610 was selected the new Caliber 1310 movement, so its case back also became flat from its original bubble back. All of these early Explorer were made of stainless steel, and the words printed on the dial, Rolex logo and minute markers were chic golden yellow. Unique honeycomb dial of Exoplorer Ref. 6350 After five years of the production of Ref. 6610, Explorer Ref. 1016 was launched in 1963 and then it replaced Ref. 6610. So far Ref.1016 is the the longest one for being put on the market and the most popular watch, and it was replaced by Ref. 14270 until 1989. The appearance of Explorer Ref. 1016 and Ref. 6610 were almost identical, but Explorer Ref. 1016 was equipped with Caliber 1560 movement and its waterproof was raised to 100 meters from 50Meters. During the 26-year of productive process, Explorer Ref. 1016 was also restyled slightly. First generation Ref. 1016 was restyled in 1975, and it was equipped with Caliber 1570 with function of hack which was modified from Caliber 1560, and Oyster bracelet was made of solid stainless steel. An Explorer Ref. 6610 auctioned by Antiquorum Explorer Ref. 1016 In 1989, Ref. 14270 that was familiar to many watch fans was launched, in addition to the name of Explorer and the Benz hand remained unchanged, inherence and aesthetics of Ref. 14270 were totally different from Ref. 1016's: its movement was Caliber 3000 with high vibration frequency, while crystal was Sapphire crystal, case was redesigned, and dial was changed greatly, the original printed luminous hour markers, including minute markers, triangle mark at 12 o'clock position and 3-6-9 luminous Arabic numerals, all of them were changed to the design of karat gold-frame with Tritium luminous coating. The change of Ref. 14270 made it become elegant and modern, but most watch fans could not forget the sporty and expeditionary style of of Ref. 1016, moreover, the quantity of Ref. 1016 has become gradually less and less, thus it price increases in recent years. So far the market price of Ref. 1016 is expensive more than double than the brand new 14270's. Explorer Ref. 1016 In 2001, Explorer I was restyled slightly again: 114270 was launched and it replaced 14270, and it was equipped with Caliber 3130 movement. Whether it is antique Explorer Ref. 6350, 1016, the previous generation 14270 or the present Explorer 114270, Rolex Explorer I is always a watch with simple appearance and functions. It possesses stainless steel case and bracelet, self-winding movement, black 369 dial, none of them are eye-catching. Perhaps it is because the reason that "simple is the most beautiful thing", person who observes and appreciates Explorer I carefully, he will be deeply attracted by its incomparable attraction. The more wonderful thing is that Explorer I not only attracts male watch fans, even the female consumers are often attracted by its modern and sport and leisure style. Many watch fans can not understand why Explorer I can make the achievement of high price and amazing buying spree with its low complexity, but love(for a watch) does not need any reasons, just as a line in Japanese television drama Love Generation: "There is always a period of time in people's life for people to fall in love, except falling in love, people want to do nothing. Those days are the days of falling in love. Thus, people just fall in love, that's enough." Explorer Ref. 1016 This line is the most appropriate explanation for this phenomenon. No matter what is the reason for loving Explorer I, for its beautiful modeling, solid quality, touching history, or just for worship to idol, or just a word like Those days are the days of Explorer. Thus, people just want Explorer, that's enough, and this is the best reason. Explorer II Explorer II, Explorer I and Submariner are the best-selling Rolex sports watches in Taiwan, and Explorer II is the last one put on the market among three of them, which has the shortest history. It is generally believed that Explorer II was launched in 1971 firstly, and its model was 1655 at that time. 1655 was the derivative watch of GMT Master-I Ref. 1675. 1655 changed the 24-hour printed rotatable bezel of GMT Master to fixed skeleton bezel, and it was also equipped with Calibre 1575 movement as GMT Master. Rolex claimed that Explorer II is specially designed for adventurous person like Speleologist, Cave Explorer, because when they enter the dark cave, they would lose their direction-sense and sense of time quickly, they can not know the day and night, of course they also can not tell the correct time of 4 a.m or 4 p.m. Furthermore, cave explorers would probably hit the surrounding rock during cave exploration, the 24-hour rotatable bezel is not reliable relatively. Therefore, the selection of fixed skeleton bezel is consideration based on safety theoretically. Regardless of whether cave explorers would lose their sense of time, or the actual purpose of the new launch of Rolex, when Explorer II Ref. 1655 was launched in the early year, it was not popular in the market, but the professional people who have to pay attention to the change of time zone, such as pilots and air traffic controllers preferred to use it. Rolex Explorer II is specially designed for Cave Explorer Rolex GMT-Master is specially designed for people who fly over the time zone In addition to the bezel of Explorer II Ref. 1655 is distinctly different from GMT Master I's, the biggest difference is hand. The hour hand and minute hand of Explorer II Ref. 1655 are different from Benz hand and Sword minute hand, and distinctive orange or red 24-hour display hand is unique that it will not be the same as else hands of other Rolex watches, just as the legendary lighting seconds of Milgauss Ref. 1019. Explorer II Ref. 1655 was equipped with Orange Hand in the first three years, and it changed into Red hand afterwards. So basically, the rarity and price of Explorer II 1655 with Orange Hand are higher than the models with Red hand. Explorer II Ref. 1655 Orange and red 24-hour hands of Explorer II Ref. 1655 Another topic about Explorer II 1655 that talked delightfully and argued by watch fans is the so-called Explorer II Steve McQueen legend. Some people consider (or it has become usual practice) that the dead America action superstar Stephen McQueen Steve McQueen likes wearing Explorer II 1655, he also worn Explorer II 1655 in the movies. Because Steve McQueen is deeply loved by audience in Europe and America, this watch also became popular, Explorer II 1655 has been nicknamed Explorer II Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen Steve McQueen acted a leading role in The Hunter(1980) However, the statement mentioned above has been questioned for many times, because Explorer II Ref. 1655 was produced since the beginning of 1970s, and it had been stopped production in 1985. Nevertheless, Steve McQueen just took part in several movies in the 1970s before his dead of lung cancer in 1980. Among his movies, there was the only one that can improve he worn Rolex in movie, that was The Hunter released in 1980. From several shots that we could know that he indeed worn Rolex watch, but we judged from the features of its bezel, crystal and bracelet, it seemed that he worn Submariner but not Explorer II. However, Steve McQueen died early, unlike Paul Newman who worn Daytona Paul Newman and raised money for Steve McQueen's philanthropic foundation, so Steve McQueen could not tell people the truth. It is a matter of course that the story of Steve McQueen and Explorer II 1655 will continue to spread. Explorer 1655 Explorer II Ref. 16550 with Cream/Ivory Dial Just like GMT Master I had been restyled to GMT-Master II Ref. 16700, Rolex launched Explorer II Ref. 16570 in 1986. Its crystal selected Sapphire crystal, and its hour, minute hands as well as 24-hour hand were changed into the same as GMT Master II, moreover, its movement selected Caliber 3135 that allows the 24-hour hand oscillate forward and backward and it would not interfere the operation of hour, minute and second hands. The bezel of Explorer II Ref. 16570 was solid and non-rotating, just as the former models. Furthermore, it was equipped with black skeleton 24-hour digit, which was different from GMT-Master II. However, few of the Explorer II 16570 was equipped with red skeleton 24-hour digit, and they are very rare. Another relatively rare watch is Explorer II Ref. 16550 Cream/Ivory Dial which was only produced for two years after 1985, and it had been already stopped production. This Explorer II Ref. 16550 Cream/Ivory Dial has unique tone which is different form the black or white dial of Explorer II now. It is said that its advantage is it can be seen the time clearly during the day or night, it will not interfered by bright light. Creamy dial of Explorer II 16550 Explorer II White Dial Explorer II is just like the derivative watch of GMT-Master since it is launched, but it is more popular than GMT-Master, hence its functions or appearance may be better than GMT-Master. However, many people consider that the wonderful name of Explorer, the unique charm inherited from its former watch Explorer 1655, and unclear legend between it and Steve McQueen are the reasons for the popularity of Explorer II. After all, people would image that when them wear Explorer II, they would feel like they are explorers or superstars, and this feeling is irresistible for people. Explorer 16570 Black Dial
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