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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1975
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D248’481
    Case No: 4’028’351
    Model Name: Explorer II, "Freccione" MK II
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “7836”, endlinks stamped “280”, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped “4/72”
    Dimensions: 38mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex green wallet, product literature, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Nicknamed the “Freccione” in Italian or “Big Arrow” due to its iconic bright orange hand, the Explore II ref. 1655 launched in 1971 was built for adventures. Designed for speleologists (cave explorers), the large tipped luminous hand and 24-hour bezel are vital features to these specialists while unearthing the unknown, and to track time where daylight is a limited resource. Due to a limited market for such specialized timepieces, this reference was not an instant commercial success and consequently few examples were sold. Reference 1655 is thus particularly rare and highly collectable.

    Fitted with a MK 2 dial characterised by the coronet with heavier dots on the tips that is a reminiscent of a frog foot, the seconds hand and the T SWISS T inscription at the bottom edge of the dial. The present example is preserved in excellent condition and has furthermore aged with patina on the luminous plots. With the latest 2021 release of the new Explore II Ref. 226570 paying homage to the iconic orange arrow hand, this is a superb opportunity to acquire the original frontier made for the extremes.

  • 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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970

Ref. 1655
A rare and fine stainless steel wristwatch with date, center seconds, MK II dial, 24-hour indication, bracelet and presentation box

Circa 1975
38mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$95,000 - 160,000 
€10,200-17,200
$12,200-20,500

Sold for HK$214,200

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