Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SIX Hong Kong Monday, May 28, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1982
    Reference No: 1655
    Case No: 7'434'218
    Model Name: Explorer II "Steve McQueen" "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "78360" and "580" to the endlinks, maximum length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "H" and "78360"
    Dimensions: 38mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1971, reference 1655 - also known as "Steve McQueen" - features one of the most unusual and immediately recognizable dial designs of the entire vintage rolex production. It can be considered an hybrid of an Explorer I and of a GMT. In fact, the 24-hour hand is derived from the GMT model, but in this case its elected function is not to indicate the time in a different time zone (and indeed the bezel is not revolving) but rather to indicate if it is day or night. This because the model was conceived to aid spelunkers in their cave-exploring activities, where long periods of time may go by without seeing sunlight, and thus making it quite possible to loose track of the nocturnal/diurnal cycle. In fact, the entire layout is thought with spelunking in mind: the abundance of luminous material and the bright orange hand - from which it derives its Italian nickname "Freccione", literally "big arrow" - are all features very useful in the low-light condition of caves, as is the very robust case construction. Finally, the hack features allows a group of explorers to perfectly synchronize their timepieces.

  • 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 stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, hack feature, 24-hour indication, date, bracelet and box

Circa 1982
38mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$62,000 - 95,000 

Sold for HK$150,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030

Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032

Jill Chen
+852 2318 2033

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SIX

Hong Kong Auction 29 May 2018