The story of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer & Explorer II begins in 1952. This watch evolved from Rolex’s passion for equipping explorers, set to take on the harshest and most extreme environments in the world.
Sending watches where few people venture.
This was a time when some of the world’s leading explorers were on the cusp of reaching the highest point in the Himalayas, Mount Everest. Rolex wanted its watches to reach the summit so, the company equipped the British climbers with large Oyster watches, which are now referred to as pre-Explorers, essentially prototypes of what we now know to be The Explorer Series.
The idea was to create the ultimate mountaineer's tool watch that could keep perfect time at -50°C (-58°F) with 70% less oxygen than at sea level. The Explorer was the result of 20 years of “resisting the extreme”.
By using the world’s most intrepid explorers, mountaineers and scientists, Rolex had the opportunity to test these watches in real life situations and in the some of the toughest conditions. Pushing their chronographs to the very limits of their durability & reliability.
Over the years, the Explorer I has been made in various executions and there is one thing that a lot (definitely not all; like some early pieces) have in common, the so-called 3-6-9 Explorer dial.