Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX Geneva Friday, November 10, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1983
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D'654'923
    Case No: 7'434'261
    Model Name: Explorer II "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 580, max length 195mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: With Rolex International Service Warranty and service papers dated 13 July 2010.
    Literature: For another example of a reference 1655, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 182.

  • 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 such as spelunkers (cave explorers) and who need to know if the hours their watch is indicating are AM or PM . The bright, orange-colored, luminous 24-hour hand permitted the time to be read in total darkness.

    Due to a limited market for such specialized timepieces, this reference was not a commercial success and consequently few examples were sold. Reference 1655 is thus particularly rare.

    Delightfully nicknamed “Freccione” – Italian for large arrow due to the orange hand’s prominent shape reference 1655 is also known as the “Steve McQueen”. While there is no concrete evidence confirming the actor ever wore this reference, we can easily imagine “The King of Cool” wearing this watch whilst sipping Scotch between two shoots.

    The present lot with its graphic dial and playful large orange hand is a superb addition to the collection of 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 date, 24 hour indication, bracelet and service papers

Circa 1983
39mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for CHF21,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017