March 27, 2023
by Nick Lehner
In 2021 when Rolex released the 36mm Explorer, a lot of purists rejoiced that the brand had returned the model to its original size. There were, however, a seemingly equal number of fans who felt that 36mm was too small, and lamented that the 39mm version was long longer with us. I expect that many more casual Rolex buyers also might prefer a bigger watch. Those customers will be happy to see Rolex’s releases for Watches and Wonders 2023 then, because Rolex has brought back the larger Explorer, now sized at 40mm.
Model: Oyster Perpetual Explorer 40
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Movement: Calibre 3230
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel with Easylink extension
Price & Availability: $7,700
Unlike the 36mm version, only one version of the new, bigger Explorer is available. There isn’t a two-tone model, and 40s will be available only with black dials, and only in Oystersteel (Rolex’s proprietary blend of 904L steel). The new case looks familiar, however, and doesn’t deviate much from the Explorer formula. The crown remains unguarded, and the case is a mix of brushed surfaces and a fully-polished bezel. Bracelet links are fully brushed, and the clasp does feature the Easylink extension.
Like the updated 36mm Explorer, this new version features 3, 6, and 9 numerals filled with Chromoalight blue luminous paint, rather than being solid polished metal. As with other modern Rolex watches, it glows blue.
The 40mm version is powered by the same Calibre 3230 no-date movement that is present in the Explorer 36. This manufacture calibre is a self-winding movement that brings 70 hours of power reserve and a -2/+2 second accuracy rating, as well as an official COSC chronometer certification. These specs are achieved partially through the use of a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers.
With the addition of this larger size, Rolex has added another option for those who enjoy the tool watch styling over something like a standard Oyster Perpetual or Air King. The Explorer is one of my personal favorites in the Rolex catalog, and I found the 36mm slightly too small for my taste. It’s exciting to see this new model return. The Explorer 40 (Reference 224270) will be available through Rolex dealers at an MSRP of $7,700 USD. For more details, visit the brand’s website.