Rolex Explorer 1016

  • Brand: Rolex
  • Model Name // Number: Explorer // 1016
  • Year: 1963

About this Model: I have another reference website dedicated to the 1016 Explorer, follow this link to learn all about them. This model is the “Type 3”.

About My Example: Of all the watches I own, this and the Submariner 5512 have the most history to tell. This watch was owned by James B., a lovely British gentleman who served in the British Army for many years as a surveyor. Here is the history of the watch, as told to me by him:

“The watch was officially Certified as a Chronometer on 24 January 1963. James B——– purchased the watch in Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia on 25 November, 1964, primarily to use on astronomical observations in providing positioning control for mapping. Thereafter the watch accompanied James on his travels.

  • Borneo Sarawak Malaysia (24 Nov 1964 – 3 Jan 1967): James was a member of the British Royal Engineers and in 1 Topo Troop 84 Survey Squadron RE. The squadron was based in Singapore and the troop was based in Sarawak where they were attached to the Lands and Surveys Department of the Sarawak Government. The purpose was to improve the mapping required because of the confrontation with Indonesia. Travel in Sarawak was by air and by river. Shortly after arrival in Sarawak on a trip up river the longboat in which James was travelling overturned in the rapids. The watch received its first test of waterproofing. Thereafter much of the travel was by Helicopter and teams would winch down onto hilltops to clear the hill tops to enable trigonometric observations to be made by measuring angles and distances using theodolites and electronic equipment (tellurometers).
  • England UK (4 Jan 1967 – 3 Apr 1967): On Leave in the UK visiting Sussex and Northumberland awaiting travel to Canada
  • Canada (4 Apr 1967 – 27 Sep 1969): Travelled to Montreal on the Empress of England. Took up an exchange posting with the Royal Canadian Engineers Mapping and Charting Establishment based in Ottawa. During the next two and a half years spent time surveying in the Yukon including survey of the Steele Glacier. Also surveyed in Alert, Nunavat, Ellesmere Island at 82° 30’ North 62° 20’ West. Very close to the North Pole (picture below). Travelled to Alert via Greenland. Survey in Nova Scotia. Road Journey from Ottawa to Vancouver and return. Travelled to New York, USA.

  • England UK (28 Sep 1969 – 12 Apr 1972): Worked in the Newbury area of Berkshire
  • USA (13 Apr 1972 – 2 Dec 1972): Based in Washington DC with Defense Mapping Agency and travelled to Omaha, Sacramento, Billings Montana, Sailed up the Alaska Coast from Washington to Kodiak Island surveying at Loran stations enroute.
  • Azores, Portugal (18 Oct 1972 – 29 Nov 1972): Survey on San Miguel Island
  • Spain (30 Nov 1972 – 2 Dec 1972): Staged through Madrid.
  • Scotland, UK (3 Dec 1972 – 29 Dec 1972): Surveyed in Outer Hebrides
  • Muscat and Oman (30 Dec 1972 – 16 Jan 1973): Surveyed on Masirah Island (picture below)
  • Cyprus (17 Jan 1973 – 18 Apr 1973): Surveyed in Nicosia and Limassol
  • England, UK (19 Apr 1973 – 9 Oct 1977): Surveyed in Newbury area Berkshire and London
  • Belgium (10 Oct 1977 – 23 Mar 1980): Worked at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Mons, Belgium and travelled to France, Luxembourg, and Vienna, Austria
  • England, UK (24 Mar 1980 – Nov 1980): Worked in the Newbury area Berkshire
  • Germany (Nov 1980 – Apr 1982): Worked at HQ 1st British Corps Bielefeld. Travelled to Bavaria, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and San Marino.
  • England, UK (Apr 1982 – Nov 1984): Worked in the Newbury area Berkshire
  • England, UK (Nov 1984 – Jan 1985): Worked in Leicester Area
  • Sultanate of Oman (Jan 1985 – Dec 1989): Worked at the National Survey Authority of Oman travelling all over the country. Travelled to India.
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Jan 1989 – Mar 2005): Worked with the Saudi Military on Mapping travelling all over the country. During this time also visited South Africa, Thailand, Philippines, Sarawak, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Cyprus.
  • South Africa and England, UK (Mar 2005 – Mar 2014): Flip-flopped between South Africa and the UK. Based in Southbroom Kwa Zulu Natal and Anstey in Leicestershire. During this time travelled to UAE, Thailand, Mauritius, Lesotho and Swaziland.
  • England, UK (Mar 2014 – May 2019): Settled in Rothley Leicestershire. During this time travelled to Turkey, Poland and Switzerland. Travelled to various parts of the UK.
The watch, on James’s wrist, 2019.