An early, very rare, and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with "Mark 1" dial, 24-hour indication, date and bracelet, retailed by Joyeria Ricciardi, Buenos Aires

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1971
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D930'957
    Case No: 2'770'331, inside case back further stamped II.71
    Model Name: Explorer II, "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 7836, end links stamped 280, max overall length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped 11.71
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex presentation box with Ricciardi retailer signature.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex introduced the Explorer II as a new generation of the famed Explorer family of wristwatches first introduced in the early 1950s. With the successful ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay, Rolex sought to offer a robust and wearable tool watch meeting the demands of early mountaineers.

    The unique design, with the engraved 24-hour calibrated bezel and oversized center hand, referred to by collectors as “Freccione” or big arrow, permits the wearer to easily tell time in the darkness of caves. The triangular-shaped hand indicates the time on the non-rotating 24-hour calibrated steel bezel. While reminiscent of the 24-hour rotating bezel of the GMT-Master, this watch is not for dual time purposes, but solely for those who are in darkness for prolonged periods of time, and enables the wearer to differentiate night and day.

    The present lot is an exceptional, early example, featuring all the correct elements of first generation examples of the reference that are so sought after by collectors – straight seconds hand, Mark 1 bezel, and Mark 1 dial. Fresh-to-the-auction market and manufactured in the first year of the model’s production, it’s preserved in wonderful original condition with an unpolished case and dial that has beautifully aged over the last 47 years. Elevating its importance, the watch is further enhanced by hand-stamped inventory numbers to the underside of the lugs, the unmistakable mark of a watch retailed by the prestigious Joyeria Ricciardi of Buenos Aires, and one of less than a handful known to exist. The warm brownish hues of the luminous hour markers match the hue of the luminous hands, while the case has strong proportions and clearly defined lug bevels as delivered from the factory. The reference 1655 is an exciting reference for collectors – a prominent model within the Rolex product line since it was first introduced. Accompanied with its Ricciardi-signed Rolex box, it is not only an all original early example, retailed by Ricciardi, it is one of the finest examples of the reference to appear on the market.

  • Maker Bio

    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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Rolex

Ref. 1655
An early, very rare, and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with "Mark 1" dial, 24-hour indication, date and bracelet, retailed by Joyeria Ricciardi, Buenos Aires

1971
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$18,000 - 30,000 
CHF17,900-29,900
€15,600-26,100
HK$141,000-235,000

sold for $41,250

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

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