Just a few short years ago, Rolex surprised all of us by returning the Explorer to its 36mm roots, after a relatively short stint at 39mm. I discuss that move and the watch itself at length in this review of the ever charming 124270. While many lamented the change, there is certainly no shortage of larger sport watches across the Rolex catalog to choose from. This year, Rolex again returns to the Explorer, adding an entirely new size option to live alongside the 36mm case, offering something for everyone with a new Explorer 40 reference 224270. They’ve managed to fix some of the odd proportion issues that plagued the old 39mm 214270 in the process.
The Explorer 40 was was one of many new releases from Rolex this year, and largely fell into quiet territory alongside blockbusters like a new Daytona, a titanium Yacht-Master, an entirely new formal range called Perpetual 1908, and a pair of unusually colorful watches in the OP and Day-Date range. But, for fans of the Explorer missing a larger option, this was a momentous release worth celebrating. This simple, perhaps iconic even, Rolex dial is now more accessible to more wrists than ever, and more options are always a good thing in my book.