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1973 Rolex Explorer II 1655

1973 Rolex Explorer II 1655


While many may associate the Rolex Explorer with tales of the first watch to reach the summit of Mount Everest, few likely know the back story behind the Explorer II.


Far from being the second edition of the Explorer, it’s a different watch entirely and was created in 1971 for use by cave explorers. They would often work underground for many days at a time and in the darkness, they would lose any notion of day or night.


As such, the first Explorer II, reference 1655, featured a fixed 24-hour bezel and a large, brightly coloured, luminous, arrow-shaped 24-hour hand.  The watch also had a date function and offered 100m of water resistance.


This reference is often referred to as “The Steve McQueen” after the actor was featured in advertisements wearing the watch however it’s unknown if he ever owned one. The model also has the nickname “Freccione”, Italian for big arrow, which I think sounds a little more glamorous.


We are excited to bring to the market this fantastic example of an early Explorer II from 1973. The dial and hands are original with the 24-hour hand fading to a soft yellow colour.


The steel case is in a good condition, showing wear consistent with its age. The bezel is in a very good condition and believed to be a service bezel, fitted at a later date. The steel bracelet is also the original from 1973, fitted with a replacement clasp in 2010.

We have further details of a service carried out at Rolex UK in 2010, along with paperwork of the watch having been purchased by its previous owner from Watches of Bond Street.


The Calibre 1575 automatic movement has been tested and found to be running well, and as such we are pleased to supply the watch with a 6-month warranty.



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  • Case

    . Steel, fixed 24-hour bezel, 100m water resistant

  • Movement

    . Automatic - Rolex Calibre 1575

  • Bracelet

    Original steel Oyster bracelet, fitted with a service clasp from 2010

  • Box & Papers

    Rolex box, receipt from previous purchase in 2019, details of a Rolex service in 2010

  • Age


  • Case Condition

    Fair condition with marks to case consistent with its age. Scratches to glass - option to have it replaced on request

  • Warranty

    Six-month warranty supplied by Watch Concierge Services

  • Movement Condition

    Movement tested and running well

  • Model Reference


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