Rolex Explorer Ads
Rolex Explorer Advertisements
For more great information on the history of the Rolex Explorer, check out Hodinkee’s Reference Points video and comprehensive article. Also, I highly-recommend Explorer1016.com as an invaluable resource for collecting vintage Explorer models.
Vintage Rolex Explorer
When you think of a vintage Explorer, the reference 1016 may come to mind, partly because of its 29 year production run from 1960 to 1989. The iconic “top of the Matterhorn” ad, published in several 1966 magazine issues, is likely the first Rolex ad to prominently feature the reference 1016 with a later gilt dial. Other Rolex Explorer ads from the vintage era show a variety of interesting ad styles and feature slightly different dial variations of the model through the decades. For example, the quarter-page 1978 Tiffany & Co. ad shows an extra-coveted version with a matte dial stamped by the famous jeweler. Interestingly, for a watch with such a long lifespan, only about a dozen unique 1016 ads have been found, with none being from the 1980s. From climbing to skiing to bull riding, these early Explorer ads really highlighted the versatility of the model, showing consumers at the time that this was truly a multi-purpose watch that’s built to last.
Neo-Vintage & Modern Rolex Explorer
The Ref. 14270, 114270 and 214270 all have arguably become THE Rolex model many aspire to buy and enjoy forever. What’s great about many ads for these models is that they not only show iterations of the modern Explorer, but also incorporate visual elements and verbiage regarding the marketing history that helped establish Rolex as a household name beloved by so many. Although the 14270 tritium dial Explorer was produced for over a decade, I’ve only been able to find one particular ad showing the watch - and it’s the early and highly collectible “Blackout” version. This same ad was used over and over again throughout the 1990s to represent the model even though that particular watch dial was phased out very-early into its lifecycle.