Rolex just announced an additional reference to its collection of Explorer watches. Meet the new Rolex Explorer ref. 224270, now in a 40mm size. After introducing and discontinuing the 39mm Explorer, Rolex decided it was time to cater to those who can’t or don’t want to wear the Explorer 36.

Rolex Explorer 40

Rolex Explorer 40 ref. 224270

The Rolex Explorer doesn’t need any introduction, so I won’t bother you with it (for now). The Explorer is (perhaps) my absolute favorite-looking sports model. It’s a clean-looking watch with a very legible dial, no date, and, basically, no nonsense. The problem for me, though, is the 36mm size. I’ve tried it numerous times — my wife has an Explorer, and some of my colleagues do as well — but it never gave me the right vibe. Weirdly enough, my Day-Date is also 36mm, but that somehow works better for me. It’s probably the presence of the President bracelet that makes it look bigger on my wrist.

Rolex Explorer 40 ref. 224270

White gold numerals and hands

The Explorer is only available with a black lacquer dial (some predicted a white dial for the Explorer) with the numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock in 18K white gold. The hands are also in white gold, and both the hands and dial feature Chromalight, Rolex’s blue lume.

Caliber 3230

Anyway, you can imagine how happy I am that Rolex is now introducing a 40mm version of the Explorer. The good thing is that, basically, nothing much differs from the Explorer 36 when it comes to the other specifications. The Rolex Explorer 224270 is powered by caliber 3230, which has a guaranteed performance of ±2 seconds per day. Rolex ensures that the watch has this accuracy after the movement is cased.


The case and bracelet are made of Oystersteel (904L). They have mainly satin-finished surfaces, except for the bezel and case band, which have a high-polished finish. The Rolex Twinlock crown and a screw-down case back ensure a 100m (10ATM) water resistance rating. On this model, you will also find the Oysterlock clasp on the bracelet, as well as an Easylink extension that allows you to resize it an additional 5mm without tools.

New dimensions for the Explorer 40

As for the case dimensions, the diameter is 40mm, the height is 11.6mm, and the lug spacing is 21mm. You can say it’s a pity that the end links are 21mm wide because the selection of 21mm straps is not as vast as 20mm or 18mm sizes. But you should wear the Explorer on the Oyster bracelet anyway. It’s one of the best and most comfortable bracelets. However, if you insist on wearing something else, you can always have a 21mm strap made.

The 36mm Explorer 124270

Some initial thoughts on the Explorer 40

Just to be clear, the Explorer 36 is not discontinued; the Explorer 40 is just an addition. And a very welcome one, at that. Unlike Daan or my wife, I have an 18.5cm wrist, and the 40mm case is therefore the perfect size for a sports watch for me. The Explorer 39 had slightly different proportions from the Explorer 36 in my opinion, which made the watch look less elegant. The Explorer 40 appears to have a sleeker design, but as always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. My pudding will be served in a few hours from now, and I will come back with another article to share my experiences and afterthoughts.

The price of the Rolex Explorer 40 is CHF 7,300. Rolex gives a five-year international warranty on its watches.

Watch specifications

Explorer 40
Black lacquer with applied 18K white gold indices and Chromalight
Case Material
Oystersteel (904L stainless steel)
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 11.6mm (thickness)
Case Back
Solid 904L stainless steel
Rolex 3230 — automatic winding, 31 jewels, 28,800vph, 70-hour power reserve, Chronergy escapement
Water Resistance
10ATM (100m)
904L stainless steel Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp and Easylink extension
Time only (hours, minutes, central seconds)
CHF 7,300
Five-year international warranty