1980 Rolex Explorer 1016 Mk V

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The History

There are two origin stories of the Rolex Explorer. The first is the actual story and the second is the story that Rolex marketing would like you to believe. Both stories surround the historic 1953 first summit of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The Rolex marketing implies that a Rolex Explorer was actually worn during the summit trek but that is not actually the case. In truth a modified Rolex Oyster Perpetual (in addition to a Smith watch) were the pieces worn on the excursion. Being the marketing geniuses that they are, Rolex launched the Explorer line shortly after the summit to commemorate the event. That first model, reference 6298 and subsequent reference 6350, were fitted with the typical “explorer” dial that the watch is so well known for today.

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The Reference

Having been in production for over 25 years, from 1963 to 1989, the Rolex Explorer reference 1016 is probably the most well known of vintage Explorer models. In typical Rolex fashion the 1016 was an evolution from the previous reference (6610) rather than a revolution. The 1016 introduced a new movement, the 1560, improved water resistance of 100 meters, and the exclusive use of tritium lume all in a new case. Also in typical Rolex fashion, the 1016 evolved with slight changes over the course of its long run. From glossy to matte dials, “T Swiss T” to “Swiss T<25”, 1560 versus 1570 movement, and even the elusive Space Dweller there are always great little details that make a 1016 more interesting than meets the eye. For more information on all of these details we recommend you check out explorer1016.com. This particular 1016 is a wonderful example from 1980 with a Mk V dial.

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The Case and Bracelet

The case and crystal are in excellent condition with no major faults to note. The reference and 662XXXX serial number are clearly legible between the sharp lugs. The bracelet is thought to be a slightly earlier jubilee model with 55 end links that was likely added by a previous owner and has moderate stretch.

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The Dial and Hands

The Mk V dial is in matching excellent condition with no major flaws to note. The lume has aged evenly across the dial to a light caramel color.

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The Movement

This watch features an automatic Rolex caliber 1570 movement with hacking feature that was serviced less than a month ago. The watch is currently running at COSC spec.


Seller SagaTradingCo
Auction Number 289
Location Connecticut
Brand Rolex
Model Explorer
Reference Number 1016
Movement Automatic, Rolex caliber 1570
Year 1980
Dial Black
Case Width 36mm
Case Material Stainless Steel
Band Material Stainless Steel
Clasp Type Deployant
Original Box No
Original Papers No
Seller Type Dealer

Auction has expired

Auction expired without reaching reserve price

Highest bidder was: Afg514

Bidder Name Bidding Time Bid
Afg514 May 20, 2021 5:30 pm $9,500.00
tspoon0111 May 13, 2021 10:48 am $8,700.00
Auction started
May 13, 2021 7:00 am

Reserve price Not met!

Auction expired without reaching reserve price

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