Rolex explorer 39mm nato

Rolex is not only one of the most recognisable and powerful global brands of the past century; the privately held, Geneva-based watchmaker is also responsible for many of the most important innovations in rolex explorer 39mm nato modern watchmaking history.

The company produced the first waterproof watch (the 1926 ‘Oyster’), were the first to earn chronometer precision certification for a wristwatch, and created the first watch with a changing date in the dial (the 1945 Datejust).

It was a Rolex on the wrist of Sir Malcolm Campbell when he broke the sound barrier in 1935, and when members of the Hillary expedition made the first ascent of Everest in 1953, we’ll give you one guess at what they were wearing.


Founded by German watchmaker Hans Wilsdorf in London in 1905, the company anticipated the role the wristwatch would play in modern life, and Wilsdorf set out to make precise, waterproof, robust and reliable instruments to function as indispensible (albeit, luxury) tools.

Rolex watches in their purest sense have always been designed and built to complement specific tasks or professions. A Submariner is called a submariner because it’s a dive watch; the Daytona is a racing chronograph, and the Explorer was made to survive years of beating in hard environments rolex – and still get the job done.

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For all these reasons, a Rolex is a great place to kick off a watch collection. As well as being notoriously tough and reliable, it is a testament to their design that many of the models have been tweaked only very subtly since the pieces were first introduced.

The world of new and vintage Rolex is a treasure trove that deserves exploration. They have some of the highest residual (or resale) values amongst any watches thanks to their enduring popularity among collectors, and having graced the wrists of luminaries from Churchill to Clapton, Paul Newman to Pablo Picasso, it’s not hard to see why Rolex wears the crown.


Starter collector: Explorer

Offering a lot of history in a relatively simple looking watch, the Explorer is often seen as a purist’s Rolex. Originally released in 1953, it has no date, a 100m water-resistant case, a screw down crown and comes with a COSC certified in-house movement – bringing together every essential attribute that makes a Rolex a Rolex, it’s a triumph of unadorned practicality.

The older models with their simple black dials, and a case size of 36mm are understated, laid back and enduringly stylish – especially when fitted with a nylon NATO strap. The new edition for 2016 is larger at 39mm, has Paraflex shock absorbers and a healthy application of Chromalight lume that emits a blue glow in low light. New or vintage, the Explorer is a great everyday watch that will take on it’s own personality over time, and will undoubtedly outlast you.

Developed at the request of Pan American Airways to provide its crews with a dual time watch in the mid-1950s, the GMT-Master features a bi-directional two-tone bezel for easy indication of day vs night when used across different time zones. The original red and blue bezel (affectionately known as the ‘Pepsi’ bezel) marks the GMT as one of the most distinctive travel and sports watches around.


Since 2005, the GMT has used Cerachrom (Rolex’s version of hardened ceramic) for the bezel, alongside other technical enhancements such as a highly stable Parachrom hairspring and Triplock crown for waterproofness. Whilst precious metal versions are available, the GMT’s charms are in its roots as a tool watch, and we feel it’s hard to beat the 2013 reference in 904L steel.

Next-level collector: Cosmograph Daytona

It’s an iconic, legendary watch with a timeless design that’s evolved subtly since it was originally introduced back in 1963. The Cosmograph Daytona is a no-nonsense chronograph that’s made to be worn daily. It has a robust self-winding movement housed in a tough-as-nails ‘Oyster’ case that’s built to last generations.

The new Cosmograph with black Cerachrom bezel was one of the standout hits of this year’s BaselWorld watch fair, but it is on the vintage market that Daytonas really come into their own. Steel Daytona models in rare configurations from the 1970s and earlier have a cult following amongst collectors, prized for their classic looks, versatile styling and high resale values. Problem is, they’re not easily obtained.

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