The present wristwatch is an example from the legendary Explorer II SSR limited edition. The British Special Reconnaissance Regiment was instituted by the United Kingdom in 2005 to provide the Queen and other sensitive targets with increased protection, especially against acts of terrorism. Possibly to mark the creation of the Regiment, two Rolex models - a Submariner 116610, and the present Explorer II - were made in limited editions with engraved back for the SRR. These two models might be the only instances of Rolex military timepieces being part of a numbered limited edition. In fact, the watch bears a caseback with the bas-relief of the crest of a regiment in the center and an additional light engraving close to the rim reading SSR and the limited edition number. Other military timepieces are known to have been made in exceedingly small series such as the “Polipetto” Sea-Dweller for the Italian State Police, known to have been made in 78 examples - see lot 15- but not one of them feature watches with numbered cases. Furthermore, a limited edition Certificate issued jointly by the SRR and Rolex certify the limited edition and the number of the piece. Such an amount of details regarding the limited edition is indeed extremely unusual for a military timepiece and leaves little doubt that the one who commissioned the series was a serious watch enthusiast.
The icing on the cake for the collector of military timepieces is the condition the watch comes in: absolutely as new and still bearing the factory stickers. Needless to say, this is an occurrence which may take a very long time to happen again at public auction: collectors are warned.
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.
Ref. 16570 T
One of only 139 Military Explorer II's made by Rolex for the UK Special Reconnaissance Regiment, this example is remarkable for it's stickered and practically untouched condition. Complete with the original original Rolex warranty card (confirming direct supply from Rolex to the SRR), signed and numbered Regimental certificate, tags and original box. Incredibly rare, extremely sought after and one of the most important '5 digit' sports models in Rolex's history.
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed