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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1973
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: 109'968
    Case No: 3'343'182
    Model Name: Explorer II - Freccione
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 7836, end links stamped 380, max length 190mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped 4.72
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex product literature and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex launched the Explorer II in 1971, which provided a fresh update to the existing Explorer line. Designed as a versatile aide for intrepid explorers, the bright orange luminous 24-hour triangle tipped hand glowed under any light condition.

    Due to a limited market for such specialized timepieces, very few examples were sold. Reference 1655 is thus particularly rare, especially when compared to other Rolex sports watches. Interestingly, reference 1655 is also known as the ‘Steve McQueen’. While there is no concrete evidence confirming the actor ever wore this watch, legend becomes fact, and the wristwatch is now playfully named after the icon.

    The present watch is fitted with a rare Mk 1 dial, which is correct for the serial range. The dial displays a "T Swiss T" designation underneath 6 o’clock, instead of "T Swiss<25 T", which later generation dials would feature. The numerals have furthermore aged with warm orange patina, which match the hands. The watch features a correct straight seconds hand without the luminous lollipop, which was only fitted to the earliest reference 1655s. It is furthermore accompanied by its original bracelet, stamped for the fourth quarter of 1972.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Ref. 1655
A rare stainless steel dual time wristwatch with centre seconds, date and bracelet

Circa 1973
38mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€10,400-15,500
$12,400-18,600

Sold for CHF32,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017