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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1973
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: 136’543
    Case No: 3’270’441, inside caseback stamped 1655
    Model Name: Explorer II, MK I
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “7836”, endlinks stamped “380”, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Released in 1971, the Rolex Explorer II provided a refreshed appeal to the famous Explorer line via the ref. 1655. Designed for expeditioners and professionals, the ref. 1655 featured a large triangular tipped luminous orange 24-hour hand allowing the wearer to tell the time under any conditions earning its nickname “Freccione” meaning “Big Arrow” in Italian. Featuring a 24-hour calibrated bezel, the purpose was to provide speleologists to differentiate between night and day in tremendous caving expeditions.

    In production until the mid-1980s, the reference was released with a total of 5 different marks with an additional two service dials (one with tritium and one with luminova). The present example from circa 1973 with a 3.2 million serial features a correct Mark I dial with Mark I center second hand and a Mark II bezel is offered in attractive overall condition. Boasting a nice dial with beautifully aged luminous material, this early example of the coveted ref. 1655 is certainly a rare treat for lovers of vintage sports watches.

  • 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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1033

Ref. 1655
A fine, attractive and rare stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, date, 24-hour indication, Mk I dial and bracelet

Circa 1973
39mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$100,000 - 200,000 
€10,500-21,000
$12,800-25,600

Sold for HK$352,800

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021