A rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with centre seconds, dual time, bracelet and cream "rail" dial

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1986
    Reference No: 16550
    Movement No: 1'489'570
    Case No: 9'375'898
    Model Name: Explorer II, "Cream Rail Dial"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3085, 27 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster, stamped 78360, end links stamped 501, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Rolex Official Chronometer Certification dating from 1986 and product literature

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1985, the Rolex Explorer II reference 16550 was the first to be fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Only in production for less than a handful of years, it has become a favorite amongst collectors of Rolex sport watches. Due to a flaw in the paint used for the dials, watches with originally white dials are often seen with tones that have aged to pleasing shades of ivory or cream.

    The most coveted among these are those fitted with “rail” dials, as found on this well-preserved example. The term “rail” is used to describe the near perfect alignment of the vertical space between the text written across the two lines on the dial at 6 o’clock. You will notice “Superlative” and “Officially” are on the left, while “Chronometer” and “Certified” are on the right.

    In addition to the color change, the dials of the 16550 were made using a glossy, lacquered finish, giving them a porcelain-like look. The white gold applied luminous hour markers complement the dial of the present example, and is different from dials used in the reference 16570, its successor, that used black hour markers.

    Accompanied by its original guarantee certificate, this watch impresses with its exceptional condition and gorgeous cream-colored dial.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Rolex

Ref. 16550
A rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with centre seconds, dual time, bracelet and cream "rail" dial

1986
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF10,000 - 15,000 

sold for CHF20,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm