I have to be honest here: It took me a few years to come around to not only the ref. 1016, but also the Explorer in general. I would typically wear a Submariner or another watch that was 39mm-plus, so I always thought 36mm would be too small for me. After being in the watch world for a few years and really getting to see what’s out there, one day I realized I was actually into the Explorer, and the size was perfect. Personally, I have amassed a small collection of watches in the sub-36mm category, and now when I put on an Explorer, it feels substantial. I don’t own one – hopefully one day – but to me, the perfect replica Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 has the potential to be the headliner in a one-watch collection. It can cover sporty, dressy, and everything in between.
The watch we have here today, a glossy dial version from 1963, can certainly be a contender to cover all one’s needs. The glossy dial helps dress the watch up, but the bracelet keeps it sporty. I’ve become a sucker for glossy dials the past couple of years, but these early 1016s are special for a few reasons. First off, this watch has that beautiful glossy dial as well as the exclamation point at six o’clock. It’s understood that the little dot under the six o’clock was to signify that the luminous material had changed to a less radioactive substance. 1:1 best fake Rolex would make the change from radium to tritium lume around this time period.
In addition to the neat exclamation point, this watch comes with its original box, papers, chronometer papers, and even product literature brochure. Looking through these old accoutrements makes me think of what it was like when this watch was purchased new. I even bring the box up to my nose for a little whiff, and there it is, that familiar smell reminding me of my grandparent’s basement – gotta love it. As that scent hits the olfactory, I wonder if this person had been saving up or it was just another day in their life, and they decided to get a new watch. Either way, I’m thankful they decided to hold on to everything so that you too can share in this experience should you choose to make this watch your own, right here.