A rare and fine stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, date, 24-hour indication, Mark I dial, bracelet, Guarantee and box

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D305080
    Case No: 3'182'880
    Model Name: Explorer II, "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "220" and "7836", max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped "2 72"
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee stamped by London retailer Watches of Switzerland LTD and dated September 21, 1974, service papers documenting two services one in 1978 and one in 2011, product literature, green document holder, Rolex service plastic bag, fitted presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Explorer II appeared in Rolex catalogs in 1971 as the reference 1655. The introduction of the new model was a significant milestone for Rolex. Instead of a refined upgrade of the Explorer, the Explorer II is a completely unique watch of its own. Featuring a 24-Hour calibrated bezel, the purpose was to provide speleologists to differentiate between night and day in tremendous caving expeditions. Whilst referred by collectors as “freccione” which translates to “big arrow”, indicating the oversized and neon-like orange center hand, a feature intended to further facilitate the reading of the 24-hour cycle in low light conditions (such as can be found, indeed, in caves).

    The reference 1655 was produced in five different variations (marks) and with two known additional service dials (one with tritium and the other with luminova). The present example is fitted with a Mark I dial and further accompanied by the full set of accessories that came with the watch when it was purchased. As Mark I dials represent the first iteration of the design and are furthermore scarcer than later examples, they are considered more appealing and collectible. Mark I dials can be found in cases bearing serial numbers between 2.5M and 3.5M.

  • 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. 1655
A rare and fine stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, date, 24-hour indication, Mark I dial, bracelet, Guarantee and box

Circa 1972
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€14,100-23,500
$15,400-25,700

sold for CHF37,500

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020