Introducing: The 2021 Rolex Explorer 36mm

by Patrick Gilbertson April 07, 2021

Stop pinching yourself! It’s real, the Rolex Explorer is now exclusively available in 36mm. We’ve got a bigger power reserve, slimmer lugs and an extra-bouji bi-metal option. 

What's new?


Firstly, and most obviously, the new Explorer models are only available in 36mm. For those who aren’t in the loop, the previous generation sat at 39mm - a bit too big for old school 3,6,9 mafia members (like Adrian). Many will see this downsize as a call from Rolex that they do, in fact, have an ear on the enthusiast community. Also, in a similar way to the 2020 Sub, the lugs have been slimmed down, better reflecting the earlier references of the Explorer.


The 2021 Rolex Explorer ref:124270


As expected, the slightly antiquated calibre 3132 has been upgraded to the newer 3230. The main benefit from the new movement is an increase from 48 hours to 70 hours of power reserve. The 3230 also powers the 2020 Oyster Perpetuals and the 2020 No-date Submariner.


The Rolex Calibre 3230


The new Explorer has actually seen a slight price reduction. The previous 39mm reference 214270 cost £5,200 and the new 36mm 124270 costs £5,150. For many, those prices won’t mean much - we’re yet to see where the secondary market price for the new 36mm will lie, but the ‘old’ 39mm is currently trading for around £7,000. 

Bi-metal option

Finally, the 36mm Explorer now has a gangster cousin in the form of a steel and 18ct yellow gold variant. This new bi-metal model features the same black dial that we’re used to but with applied yellow gold hour markers and a matching mercedes handset. The price of this model is £8,700. 


The 2021 Rolex Explorer ref:124273
Dimensions -  36mm case diameter, 20mm lug width
Movement - Cal.3230 (accuracy: +/- 2 seconds per day)
Power Reserve - 70 hours
Water Resistance - 100m, screw-down crown
Case Material - Oystersteel (904L) or Oystersteel (904L) and Yellow Rolesor
Bracelet - Clasp: folding Oysterlock safety clasp with ‘Easylink’ 5mm extension
Price - £5,150 (steel), £8,700 (bi-metal)


Patrick Gilbertson
Patrick Gilbertson


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