Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270: A Comprehensive Review

by Barbara Wilson

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is a timepiece that transcends the boundaries of mere functionality. It embodies the spirit of exploration, resilience, and precision that has defined Rolex for generations. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the evolution of this iconic watch, exploring its features and functions, examining the reliability and accuracy of its movement, suggesting the best straps to complement its rugged elegance, and comparing it to its successor, the Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270. Join us on a journey to uncover the essence of the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270.


1. Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270: The Evolution of an Iconic Timepiece

A Legacy of Exploration:


The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 stands as a testament to Rolex’s commitment to advancing its tool watches while preserving their heritage. Its lineage can be traced back to the watches worn by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay during their historic ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. Rolex’s dedication to creating watches fit for explorers and adventurers has resulted in the evolution of the Explorer series, with the Ref. 114270 marking a pivotal moment in its timeline.


Advancements in Technology:


With each iteration, Rolex incorporated advancements in technology and design to enhance the Explorer’s capabilities. The Ref. 114270, introduced in the late 1990s, brought several notable updates. These included an improved movement, a sapphire crystal for improved scratch resistance, and refined proportions that appealed to modern tastes while staying true to the watch’s utilitarian roots.

Enhanced Water Resistance:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 boasts an impressive water resistance of up to 100 meters (330 feet). This feature ensures that the watch can withstand exposure to various environmental conditions, including rain, splashes, and even shallow water activities such as swimming. The enhanced water resistance adds to the overall durability and versatility of the timepiece, making it a reliable companion for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Exploring the Features and Functions of Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270

A Tool Watch for Adventurers:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is a quintessential tool watch designed to meet the needs of adventurers. Its 36mm stainless steel case strikes a balance between robustness and elegance, making it suitable for both outdoor excursions and formal occasions. The black dial is adorned with luminescent hour markers and hands, ensuring excellent legibility in all lighting conditions. The watch retains its signature Mercedes hands, and the 3, 6, and 9 numerals stand out prominently, providing a timeless aesthetic.

Scratch-Resistant Sapphire Crystal:

Protecting the dial is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which not only ensures the clarity of the watch face but also safeguards it against the rigors of exploration. Whether you’re traversing rocky terrain or navigating dense forests, the sapphire crystal offers peace of mind by preventing unsightly scratches and preserving the watch’s pristine appearance.

The Iconic Mercedes Hands:

One of the distinctive features of the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is its Mercedes hands. These hands are not only visually striking but also serve a functional purpose. The broad hour hand and minute hand, shaped like the spokes of a steering wheel, make it easy to read the time at a glance. Additionally, the Mercedes hands are filled with luminescent material, ensuring that they remain visible in low-light conditions, a crucial feature for adventurers exploring caves or venturing into the night.

3. The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 as a Watch with a Reliable and Accurate Movement

Precision and Reliability:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is powered by the Rolex Caliber 3130, a self-winding mechanical movement renowned for its accuracy and durability. Rolex has equipped this movement with several features to enhance its performance in challenging environments. The Parachrom hairspring offers increased resistance to shocks and temperature variations, ensuring that the watch remains precise even when subjected to extreme conditions.

48-Hour Power Reserve:

The Caliber 3130 provides the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. This means that even if the watch is not worn for two days, it will continue to keep time accurately. This feature is particularly useful for adventurers who may spend extended periods in the wilderness, where access to winding the watch may be limited.

Paraflex Shock Absorbers:

Rolex has equipped the Caliber 3130 with Paraflex shock absorbers, enhancing the watch’s resilience in the face of sudden impacts or vibrations. Whether you’re hiking rugged terrain or engaging in activities that subject the watch to physical stresses, the Paraflex shock absorbers ensure that the movement remains unaffected, maintaining its precision.

4. The Best Straps to Pair with Your Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270

Customizing Your Explorer:

One of the appealing aspects of the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is its versatility when it comes to straps. While the watch comes with the iconic Oyster bracelet, there are various strap options available to personalize your timepiece.

Rubber or NATO Straps:

For a sporty and casual look, consider a rubber or NATO strap. These options not only enhance the watch’s durability but also make it comfortable to wear during outdoor adventures. NATO straps, in particular, offer a range of colors and patterns to suit your style.

Leather Strap for Elegance:

If you’re looking to elevate the Explorer’s aesthetic for more formal occasions, a leather strap is an excellent choice. The contrast between the rugged watch and the refined leather strap creates a harmonious blend of styles, making it suitable for a variety of settings.

The Iconic Oyster Bracelet:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 comes with the iconic Oyster bracelet, known for its robustness and comfort. The Oysterlock clasp ensures that the watch remains securely fastened during your explorations. The combination of the Oyster bracelet and the watch’s sporty yet sophisticated design creates a balanced and timeless look.

5. Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 vs. 214270: Which One Should You Choose

The Successor Debate:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 had a successful run but was eventually succeeded by the Ref. 214270. While both watches share the Explorer’s DNA, there are key differences to consider when choosing between them.

Size and Dimensions:

One of the most noticeable distinctions is the size of the cases. The Ref. 114270 features a 36mm case, while the Ref. 214270 boasts a larger 39mm case. The increase in size provides a more modern and substantial presence on the wrist, catering to contemporary preferences. Your choice between the two should consider your wrist size and your inclination towards a classic or contemporary look.

Bracelet Design:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 features the classic Oyster bracelet, while the Ref. 214270 introduced the Easylink comfort extension system on its bracelet, allowing for quick adjustments to find the perfect fit. This feature enhances wearing comfort during various activities, particularly in changing climates where wrist size can fluctuate.

Movement Upgrade:

The Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270 is powered by the Caliber 3132, an evolution of the Caliber 3130. While both movements are highly reliable, the Caliber 3132 introduces improvements in terms of precision and magnetic resistance. It also features the Paraflex shock absorbers and a blue Parachrom hairspring, further enhancing the watch’s robustness and accuracy.

Luminescence and Dial Details

: The Ref. 214270 features enhanced luminescence on its dial, offering improved legibility in low-light conditions. The 3, 6, and 9 numerals are larger and more prominent, aiding readability. If excellent visibility is a priority, the Ref. 214270 may be the preferred choice.

Cyclops Lens:

Another notable difference is the presence of a Cyclops lens on the Ref. 214270, magnifying the date window for easier reading. Some purists prefer the clean, symmetrical dial of the Ref. 114270 without the Cyclops lens. Your preference for date visibility can influence your decision.

Model Availability:

As the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is no longer in production, it has become a collector’s item and is sought after for its classic charm and historical significance. The Ref. 214270, being the current iteration, offers modern advancements and is readily available through authorized Rolex dealers.

In conclusion, choosing between the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 and the Ref. 214270 comes down to your individual preferences and priorities. The Ref. 114270 holds a special place in Rolex’s history as a bridge between tradition and modernity, while the Ref. 214270 offers contemporary improvements in size, movement, and visibility. Both watches embody the spirit of exploration and the enduring quality of Rolex timepieces.


The Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is more than just a timekeeping instrument; it’s a symbol of exploration and resilience. Its evolution through the years has culminated in a watch that balances rugged durability with timeless elegance. With its reliable movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and iconic design elements like the Mercedes hands, it remains a favorite among adventurers and watch enthusiasts.

The option to customize the Explorer with different straps allows you to tailor it to your style and intended use, whether for outdoor escapades or formal occasions. While the debate between the Ref. 114270 and Ref. 214270 offers choices for enthusiasts, both watches share the same DNA of Rolex excellence.

Ultimately, the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270 is a testament to Rolex’s commitment to producing timepieces that endure the test of time and the rigors of exploration. It’s a watch that not only tells time but also tells a story of adventure, making it a cherished companion for those who seek to conquer new horizons with style and precision.


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