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A rare and "fresh-to-market" Rolex Explorer in stainless steel
Auction Ended
6 Bids
Reserve Met
Auction Ended On
August 4, 2020
Lot 4
Starting Bid: $15,000
Estimate:  $15,000 to $25,000
Manufacturer: Rolex
Year: Circa 1963
Model Name:
Reference: 1016
Case Serial Number:
Condition: Excellent condition.
Material: Stainless Steel
Bracelet: Stainless Steel Oyster Rivet Bracelet 
Item Number: 112183
Movement: Cal. 1560, 26 jewels.
Signed Case, dial, movement, and bracelet.

Rolex EXplorer 1016  

Bob's does NOT charge a buyer's premium – what you bid is what you pay.

Condition Report


Excellent original glossy gilt chapter ring exclamation dial with creamy yellow markers and matching hands. All lume glows brightly and drops off quickly when exposed to UV light which is correct for this vintage of watch. The dial has minor aging near the edge of the dial by the 2 o'clock marker. 


Excellent original stainless steel case that has been lightly polished in the past and shows some wear from use.  Insider case back in stamped 1016 II.63. Serial number is worn but still discernable. Reference number is well defined. 


Original smooth stainless bezel is also in excellent condition and shows some wear from use.


Original later stainless steel oyster rivet stretch bracelet with 10 links. Bracelet is in good condition with very minor wear from use.The clasp is stamped with a 75 date code. 

Box and Papers

Original Rolex box, papers, COSC papers, and booklet. 

Catalog Essay:

First launched in 1953, the Explorer is Rolex’s original sports watch collection and its core design has served as the foundation for many of Rolex’s most iconic and successful models. Rather than offering features or complications designed for one specific sport or lifestyle activity, the original Rolex Explorer was simply designed to be a reliable and durable watch with a highly legible display that could go anywhere its owner could and accurately tell the time while doing it.

The reference 1016 first appeared about a decade after the initial 1953 launch of the Rolex Explorer collection. While it was not the very first Explorer model that Rolex ever produced, the reference 1016 is considered by many to be the quintessential example of Rolex’s original sports watch collection, and the ref. 1016 is easily the most well-known and fiercely collected Rolex Explorer reference of all time.

The Rolex Explorer 1016 remained in production all the way up until 1989. During that time, it was fitted with a variety of different dials and bracelets, which further adds to the excitement for today’s collectors. The very earliest examples were fitted with glossy gilt dials; however these were later replaced with matte dials around 1967, and matte dials remained in use until the end of the reference 1016’s production run and the implementation of gloss black dials with applied, white gold hour markers.

This particular Rolex Explorer 1016 dates back to approximately 1963, and as one would expect from a very early example of this historic reference, the watch is fitted with a gilt dial with both a chapter ring and exclamation point marking. The ‘exclamation point’ only appears on vintage Rolex sports watches from the early 1960s, and it is believed to have been used to signify that the radiation levels of the luminous material had been adapted to the new Atomic Energy Commission standards. Completing this watch is a vintage rivet-link Oyster stretch bracelet, which helps make it an excellent example of one of the earliest variations of this iconic and important Rolex sports watch.


MOVEMENT: Movement is functioning. This vintage Rolex Explorer comes with Bob's Watches one year warranty.

Auction Terms & Conditions | Bob's Watches | (800) 494-3708 | Bond # 72BSBHE9842

* The money you spend bidding on items you receive at auction is not tax deductible. Please consult your accountant for all tax related questions or deduction qualifications and bid accordingly.


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Bob's Watches is an independent watch dealer and is not sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex S.A., Rolex USA, or any other brand listed on its website. Bob's Watches only sells pre-owned watches and provides its own warranties on the watches it sells. The brand names and associated model names for Rolex, OMEGA and other manufacturers are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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