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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D196’269
    Case No: 3’097’660, inside caseback stamped 1655, II.72
    Model Name: Explorer II, MK I
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel folded Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "7836", endlinks stamped "280", max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped "3,71"
    Dimensions: 39mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Explorer II was first introduced in 1971 by the way of the ref. 1655. Providing a completely refreshed appeal 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. Designed for expeditioners and professional alike, one of the most notable traits of the ref. 1655 is its large orange luminous 24-hour hand, which allowed the wearer to differentiate night and day under any conditions earning its nickname the “Freccione” or “Big Arrow”.

    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. The present example from circa 1972 with a 3 million serial is arguably one of the most attractive examples to have appeared at auction in recent times. Boasting a crisp case with thick and defined lugs, the dial is simply a stunning specimen with luminous materials that has aged harmoniously to a warm buttery hue. This is an unmissable opportunity for collectors and vintage enthusiasts to acquire one of the finest.

  • 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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953

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

Circa 1972
39mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$100,000 - 200,000 
€11,100-22,100
$12,800-25,600

Sold for HK$327,600

Contact Specialist

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

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII

Hong Kong Auctions 25-26 November 2021