In the early 1950s Rolex set out to design a model that wasn’t just another timepiece but something more. They wanted the Explorer watch to serve not just timekeeping functions but as companion for courageous individuals – mountaineers, adventurers and explorers. Robust yet reliable while easily legible it had something unique about its design that set it apart both functionally and stylistically.
Nikola Tesla had an uncanny grasp over our collective consciousness. Famous for his groundbreaking contributions in electromagnetism and electrical engineering, Tesla held an obsessive fascination for numbers 3, 6, and 9. According to him, they held the key to understanding our universe; famously stating “If only everyone knew the magnificence of 3, 6 and 9, then you would possess an invaluable key for grasping its secrets!”
In 1953, the first Rolex Explorer was born ref#6530 above, featuring numerals at the 3, 6 & 9 o’clock positions to improve readability in adverse watch design with revolutionary results. Many in the watch industry have gone into great detail about the history of the Rolex Explorer, but I have yet to see anyone ask why Rolex used the numbers configuration 3,6,9 and where it came from?
Over the last 70 years, the Rolex Explorer has become synonymous with rugged elegance and adventure. However, its mysterious design choice became legendary among watchmaking experts; was Rolex intentionally following Tesla’s belief in the powers of three, six, and nine? Or was its arrival simply serendipitously nodding towards someone who himself explored cosmic mysteries?
Rolex’s decision and Tesla’s philosophy remain shrouded in mystery among watch enthusiasts and collectors, keeping watch enthusiasts guessing as to their meaning. Perhaps this unspoken relationship between art of watchmaking and universal mysteries makes the Rolex Explorer not simply another timepiece but an iconic legend?
At its heart, the Rolex Explorer remains an ode to design, functionality and the mysterious allure of Tesla’s numbers – each factor contributes toward making this timepiece timeless and lasting like its 3, 6, 9 dial itself. So the story behind that iconic dial lives on through time!
Due to the unpredictable and volatile market on certain Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet watches, prices are subject to change.