Truth Revealed: Rolex Explorer 5504 Review & Surprising Backstory

Today we’re talking Rolex Explorer.
November 12, 2019

Today, we’re taking a look at the Rolex Explorer 5504, and discussing some of the crazy misconceptions about its backstory and history.

Rolex has a long history of testing pieces on Himalayan expeditions. While the common story is that Sir Edmund Hillary wore a Rolex Explorer on his trip to summit Mt. Everest, that isn’t entirely accurate. What Hillary did wear was a Rolex on one wrist, and a Smiths on the other. Smiths missed the boat on the advertising opportunity that they’d been handed, but Rolex jumped right on it, releasing the 6208 almost immediately.

Within a year, the 6150 and 6350 were released, which were the first “Explorer” reference to resemble what we now associate with the iconic design of the model. And then came the 5504, the watch we’re looking at today. It features gilt text for everything but the words “Explorer” and “Super Precision.” A year later, the 6610 was released, followed by the 1016, which ran from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s. It’s the longest running Explorer reference to date, and has been replaced by no less than four new references since its discontinuation.

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