‘Black Out’ 14270 Rolex Explorer I
We tend to think of inter-reference variation as something that only defines vintage Rolex. While alterations were certainly more common and easily discerned years ago, Rolex are still iterating . . .without telling anyone. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is the 14270. The 14270 is beloved by many, including yours truly; more topically, the 14270 is also believed by many to be a standardized product. Yet, the reference contains one of the best extreme anorak Rolex variants of all time: the black out dial.
Very early in production of the then-new 36mm Explorer I (late E and early X serial numbers, specifically), Rolex produced a batch of dials with black enamel filling in the 3-6-9. This lack of contrast can cause this Explorer’s signature applied numerals to disappear against the dial in certain light, hence the name. Immediately after this tight serial range, Rolex changed to matched lume inside the numerals to increase legibility. The black out was produced in truly low numbers, placing it amongst the rarest mainstream-production, modern Wilsdorf products of all time. Some have claimed this is definitely the rarest sapphire crystal Rolex, though disputed. Whatever the true numbers, it is a modern Rolex with the level of nuance one can usually only seek out in vintage.
This example has been worn but not abused. Importantly, its case is full and not polished to my eye. The dial is perfect and well-preserved, all important as it is. The watch has been recently serviced and comes from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Black Out 14270 here from Eguchi Japan for ~25000 USD.