When people think of Rolex, watches such as the Submariner, Day/Date and Explorer come to mind. As much as we love these classics, there is another watch to consider that will set you off from the pack and gain you kudos from Rolly lovers—if you can find one.
Deep within the Rolex catalogue is a little known watch called the COMMANDO. Released in 1972 and only in the United States for just one year of production, it was the least expensive watch in Rolex’s catalogue at the time and sat alongside the boy’s size watch. Though not an Explorer, it’s related and considered a Spartan version of the 1016 model. It has the handsome aesthetic of the Explorer 3,6,9 dial and the same markers but has different style hands and is a manual wind movement, resulting in a thinner profile.
According to noted Rolex expert Eric Ku, whom we interviewed here about collecting Rolex, the watch was sold at the PX military exchange store. We don’t know the reason for Rolex’s decision to make the COMMANDO. What we do know is that it’s a coveted and rare piece. Far from it’s original price of $108.75, which was listed in an Abercrombie and Fitch ad selling the watch, it now goes for upwards of $20,000.