17 July 2019 | Monaco
Rolex A very nice and beautiful Rolex Explorer II reference 16550 in stainless steel with dual-time and date
Estimate € 10,000 – 20,000
Model: Explorer II
Material: Stainless Steel
Reference N°: 16550
Case N°: 9666976
Movement N°: 1693904
Bracelet: Stainless Steel
Signed: Dial, Case and movement
The Explorer is probably one of the most underestimated tool-watches ever produced by Rolex and also one of the most iconic. Rolex has always had the action and adventures as main topics for its creation such as the Submariner, Daytona or GMT Master but one of those which failed to gain the importance it deserved is precisely the Explorer. The Explorer I was created especially for mountain climbers, while the Explorer II, with its 24-hour graduated bezel and its large, luminescent 24-hour hand arrow, was intended for those spending extended time in dark environments, such as spelunkers.
It was 1971 when the first Explorer II reference 1655 was presented and 14 years later, in 1985, it was replaced by the reference 16550, such as the lot here offered. In production for only a handful of years, this model has become a favorite amongst collectors of Rolex sports watches and it was the first model to be equipped with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. One of the main peculiarities of this watch was the material used for the dial which was a glossy, lacquered paint which gave it a porcelain-like look. It was common also, with the passing of time, that these dials tended to change to a creamy/ivory color and the lot offered here is one of these wonderful examples with also its very nice white-gold baton indexes with luminous material which is turned to an exciting yellow. This Explorer II delights with its hardly worn condition, crisp, unpolished case, and beautifully aged dial. Additionally, the reference 16550 allowed the 24-hour hand to be independently adjusted, rather than simply indicating whether it was day or night in dark environments.