Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE Geneva Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1974
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D288'052
    Case No: 3'913'432
    Model Name: Explorer II "Steve McQueen"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 7836, end links stamped 580, max length 195mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by fitted presentation box with outer packaging, Rolex original guarantee, hang tags, product literature and a spare bezel

  • Catalogue Essay

    Marketed for adventurers, Rolex first introduced the Explorer family of watches in the early 1950s. This sports model found great success, and in 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II as a tool watch for those who work in environments of total darkness for extended periods of time. Featuring a bright, orange-colored, luminous 24-hour hand, it permitted the time to be read in total darkness. Due to the very limited market for such a specialized timepiece, few were sold, making them particularly rare compared to most other Rolex sport watches.

    Delightfully nicknamed the “Freccione” – Italian for large arrow due to the orange hand’s prominent shape, the watch is also known as the Steve McQueen Explorer, named after the famous American actor. The present lot is a desirable first generation version, fitted with a less commonly seen “straight” center seconds hand. Accompanied by its original accessories, it is a superb example for the aficionado of uncommon sports watches.

  • Artist Biography


    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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Ref. 1655
A fine and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with 24 hour indication, bracelet, box, certificate, literature and spare bezel

38mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for CHF30,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016