|Estimate:||$15,000 to $25,000|
|Case Serial Number:||
|Bracelet:||Stainless steel fold over oyster bracelet.|
|Movement:||Cal. 1570, manual-winding, 26 jewels.|
|Signed||Case, dial, movement, and bracelet.|
Bob's does NOT charge a buyer's premium – what you bid is what you pay.
Excellent original and clean matte black tritium "Rail Dial" with creamy markers and matching hands.
Excellent original stainless steel case that has previously been polished in the past with light wear from use. Serial and reference numbers are crisp and well defined. Inner caseback is stamped 1655.
Excellent original stainless steel bezel with light wear from use.
Excellent original 9315 stainless steel fold over oyster link bracelet with 10 links and 380 end links. Bracelet has moderate stretch rom use. Clasp is stamped with a "B" date code.
Bob's presentation box, Certificate of Authenticity, and warranty card.
While the original Rolex Explorer collection was first introduced in 1953, it was a time-only watch and did not possess any specific features or complications that would make it suited for any one type of sport or environment. In 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II, which was to be offered alongside the classic Explorer, as a complimentary watch model aimed specifically at cave explorers.
The very first Rolex Explorer II was the reference 1655, and the watch represented a significant departure from the original Explorer watch. Fitted with a fixed stainless steel bezel that was marked with a 24-hour scale, and an additional bright orange, arrow-shaped 24-hour hand, the original Rolex Explorer II 1655 was intended to serve as an AM and PM reference for cave explorers operating for extended periods of total darkness. To aid in this task, the ref. 1655 Explorer II was fitted with a unique dial that could be used to read both 12-hour and 24-hour times. Nicknamed the 'Steve McQueen' (even though the famous Hollywood actor never actually wore one in real life), the reference 1655 represents the oldest and most desirable model among all Rolex Explorer II references.
Production of the Rolex Explorer II 1655 lasted until the mid 1980s, meaning that all examples of this reference will be fitted with matte dials. With that in mind, some variation exists among ref. 1655 dials, and this particular example from 1978 is fitted the rare ‘rail dial’ style, which can only be found on Explorer II and Sea-Dweller models from the late 1970s, and that features different spacing for its chronometer-certification text, than both older and later-era reference 1655 Explorer II dials.
By 1985, Rolex had discontinued the ref. 1655 Explorer II and replaced it with a model that more closely resembled its GMT-Master collection, making the reference 1655 entirely unique. The ref. 1655 is the only Rolex Explorer II to feature an acrylic crystal, the only model to feature a matte dial, the only one with a case diameter under 40mm, and the only Explorer II without an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. Truly unique and unlike any other Rolex watch, the reference 1655 represents Rolex’s original vision for its Explorer II collection.
MOVEMENT: Movement is functioning. Watch comes with a Bob's Watches one year warranty.
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