Mk1, ‘Frog Foot’ 1016 Rolex Explorer
Have you ever looked down at your vintage Explorer and thought, ‘Yeah this lovely, but I wish the Rolex coronet looked a little more like a frog’s foot’? Me neither. And yet, there are those among us who do. Or at least the market would seem to indicate such, as Mk1 or ‘Frog Foot’ 1016s regularly sell at premium to their less amphibious counterparts. Yes, we’re back in the realm of Wilsdorf details again so pour yourself one and find a cozy chair.
Much like Submariners, the earliest 1016s featured gloss gilt dials. Then, somewhere around 1967, Rolex transitioned to matte dial production. In that transition, the 1016 adopted a curious characteristic. Its coronet (or crown for the plebs) had its five points splayed much wider than printing before or since. The dials were so distinct that collectors eventually termed this the ‘frog foot’ for its wide, webbed appearance. This coronet appears only in the earliest Mark 1 matte 1016 dials, though the Mk1 did survive for some time. It is estimated that most will appear between serial number 1.5-3.5m and, curiously, 4.4-5.1m cases. Apparently, the dial run was not entirely cased right away.
And that’s it; literally the only distinction. I never promised everything here would be groundbreaking, we aim only for ‘at least somewhat’ interesting. But before you’re too disparaging, it’s worth remembering that the first of anything has a way of becoming important all its own. Matte dials were a fairly significant marker in Rolex history. So too, are errors. This dial posseses both and, for all the talk of how utterly boring Rolex people are, that spells some type of significance to those who care. Just perhaps don’t invite them around for the dinner party.
This example is killer. The case is full with strong lug-top brushing and edges. Its dial is undamaged with the frog foot extremely clear. It comes on its original bracelet from a well-regarded Japanese retailer.
Find this Mk1 1016 here from Eguchi Japan for ~22000 USD.