Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D276210
    Case No: 3'181'610
    Model Name: Explorer II "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "580" and "78360" to the endlinks, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "N4 78360"
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by original purchase invoice from Mappin & Webb (Bradford, York) detailing purchase of the present watch with bracelet on January 1, 1976 for the amount of 138GBP, 3 sales tag, Rolex UK service document dated October 20, 1995, product literature, presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Explorer II was first introduced in 1971 by the way of the ref. 1655. Providing a completely refreshed configuration with the absence of the traditional 3-6-9 dial configuration and furthermore featuring a 39mm diameter Oyster case, it also is equipped with a 24-hour bezel and a large orange 24-hour hand - which gave him its Italian nickname “Freccione”, meaning "big arrow". Designed for explorers (unsurprisingly) and professionals alike, it specifically winks to speleologists as the large orange luminous hand is intended to be visible also in the low light conditions of a cave, and it allows to track the day/night cycle in case of prolonged underground expeditions.

    With its production spanning to the mid-1980s, the ref. 1655 was released with a total of 5 different marks as well as two service dials (one with tritium and one with luminova). The earliest examples of the reference known as the Mark I featured a distinctive straight center seconds hand, without the luminous dot found in later marks. Fully retaining this characteristic, and offered in extremely attractive condition of both case and dial, the present piece will delight the “completist collector” with an accessory hardly ever present in vintage pieces (and actually modern ones as well): the original purchase invoice dating to January 29, 1986. From such document it transpires that the watch/bracelet combo was bought at the Bradford, York Mappin & Webb boutique for the amount of 138 GBP (with a 15GBP discount on the listed price of 153 GBP).

  • 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 highly collectible stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, large orange 24-hour hand, date, MKI dial, bracelet, original purchase invoice and box

Circa 1972
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€12,400-18,500
$12,000-18,000

Sold for CHF30,240

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]
 

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022