Rolex Explorer 39mm Review

The Rolex Explorer I is a watch that aficionados adore for its classic style and legendary past as a genuine Rolex sports wristwatch. The Explorer I has been a symbol of discovery and adventure since its introduction in 1953, adorning the wrists of mountaineers, explorers, and enthusiasts seeking dependability in challenging circumstances. The watch, traditionally made with a 36mm case, has stood for the height of tough elegance for many years.

Rolex released the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270, a modern take on the legendary wristwatch, in 2010 in response to the rising demand for larger watches. The original Explorer’s spirit was preserved in this 39mm version while also catering to contemporary tastes. The bigger size gave it a confident yet elegant appeal that attracted more people without diminishing its legendary status.

Rolex Explorer  I 39mm 214270 (photo: Google)

The Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 underwent numerous substantial changes while it was in production. Rolex updated the model in 2016, debuting the Mark II dial with greater brightness and readability-improving proportions. But this cherished timepiece was removed from production in 2019, which increased its appeal and turned it into a highly sought-after collectible.

We will examine the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 in detail in this review, looking at its features, the progression of its design, and its legacy as a symbol of exploration and fine engineering.


As the purist’s interpretation of a Rolex sports watch, the Explorer I 39mm ref. 214270 has a particular place in the hearts of watch enthusiasts. It captured the spirit of travel and adventure when it was first introduced in 1953, marking a crucial turning point in the history of horology.

Rolex Explorer  I 39mm 214270 (photo: Google)

The Explorer I has long been known for its 36mm case size, which radiated tough elegance and usefulness. However, as tastes in the 21st century evolved towards larger clocks, Rolex chose to meet this demand by releasing the 39mm Explorer I in 2010, the ref 214270.

The famous watch underwent modification with the introduction of the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 in 2010, which offered a change from the customary 36mm size. The original Explorer’s essential qualities were preserved while the bigger case gave the watch a bolder presence on the wrist. It’s the only time since 1953 that Rolex has departed from the 36mm norm. With a stainless steel Oyster case and a smooth bezel, the watch maintained its subtle elegance while capturing the spirit of a tool watch that could resist the rigours of exploration. Additionally, this new reference features the cutting-edge Rolex calibre 3132, which has a 48-hour power reserve, excellent accuracy thanks to a Parachrom hairspring, and Paraflex shock absorbers.

Rolex Explorer I 39mm vs 36mm (Photo: Google)

The ref 214270 underwent numerous changes over the years, with one of the most significant changes taking place in 2016. The dial, known as the Mark II dial, was added after Rolex revised the model. Thanks to the employment of Chromalight luminous material, the hour markers and hands on this new dial had improved luminosity. The Explorer I became even more useful for daring endeavours as a consequence of better visibility, particularly in low light circumstances.

The prominence of the 3, 6, and 9 numerals on the dial with luminous in-fill was another modification with the Mark II dial. While the seconds hand no longer nearly reaches the track, the minute and hour hands have been lengthened and moved closer to the hour markers, improving the overall legibility and balance of the dial.

Despite its success and ubiquity, the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref. 214270 met a tragic end in 2019 when Rolex chose to stop manufacturing the watch. This timepiece’s demand was severely impacted by its discontinuation, increasing demand among collectors and aficionados. The Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 was given a particular status as a collectable item after the decision to stop manufacture, and its scarcity and historical significance added to its attractiveness.

Rolex Caliber 3132 (Photo: Google)

The Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 is an exceptional watch that epitomises Rolex’s mastery of creating dependable and enduring timepieces. The watch had several significant changes from its inception in 2010 to its redesign in 2016 and eventual retirement in 2019.

The larger 39mm case size appealed to modern tastes, while the Mark II dial brought enhancements in luminescence and design, solidifying the Explorer I’s position as a true tool watch. Its unique status as a discontinued model only adds to its desirability, making the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270 a timepiece that continues to captivate watch enthusiasts and stands as a testament to Rolex’s enduring legacy in horology.


Rolex Explorer I 39mm Mark I and Mark II Dials (Photo: Google)

In the Rolex Explorer I 39mm ref 214270, the change from the Mark I to the Mark II dial signified a significant improvement in both appearance and usability. With its straightforward baton hour markers and the recognisable 3, 6, and 9 numerals in white gold, the Mark I dial, as seen in the first 2010 release, adheres to the classic Explorer look. This dial design was tasteful and classic, maintaining true to the Explorer’s history as a dependable tool watch made for exploration.

However, Rolex saw an opportunity to improve the watch’s looks and readability, which led to the release of the Mark II dial in 2016. The adoption of Chromalight illuminating material for the hour markers and hands was one of the biggest advancements. This development in luminescence technology enhanced the watch’s visibility during diving or nocturnal exploring by enabling a longer and brighter glow in low light.

Rolex Explorer I 39mm 214270 Mark II Dial

The prominence of the 3, 6, and 9 numerals, which were larger and bolder than on the Mark I dial, was the most immediately noticeable alteration on the Mark II dial. While maintaining the iconic Explorer charm, this change gave the watch’s appearance a dash of modernity and dynamism. Like prior incarnations of the watch, the numerals were filled with luminescent material to ensure that they would remain extremely visible in any lighting condition.

On the Mark II dial, the minute and hour hands were extended and moved closer to the hour markers. This minor change harmonised the dial’s proportions and improved the watch’s overall legibility. The bigger numerals and lengthened hands combined to make the time easy to read at a glance.