Rolex Explorer II
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
For decades, Rolex prided itself on sending their watches to the farthest reaches of the earth. Where the iconic Submariner ruled the ocean depths and the GMT Master owned the skies, the Explorer II was designed to delve deep into the earth itself.
Released in 1971 as a follow up to the original Explorer, the Explorer II was designed specifically for a new threshold of exploration: Speleology - the exploration of all things subterranean. This hearty breed of adventurers spend days on end underneath the surface of the earth, and without sunlight it is easy to lose track of day and night. To keep them on point, Rolex combined a 24-hour hand with a fixed 24-hour steel bezel which kept continuous track of whether it was AM or PM.
Unlike it's predecessor, the Explorer I, which made famous by mountaineers in the 1950s, the Explorer II utilized a larger Oyster Case design closer in proportion to the larger sports models already offered (the Submariner and GMT).
Although the Explorer II was produced in far fewer numbers than its Sub and GMT counterparts, it maintains a strong collector following, due partially to its assumed connection with Steve McQueen. In the early 2000s, a rumor was started that the legendary actor/racer/all-around King of Cool owned a 1655. In truth, no evidence exists that McQueen ever wore one, much less owned one, and there is no photographic proof to substantiate the rumor. Regardless, his name is forever connected with the watch, and although prices have cooled down since the truth was revealed several years back (he actually wore a Submariner 5512), the Explorer II remains a highly collectable and totally awesome member of the vintage Rolex family.
This particular watch is one the last of the 'Orange Hand' models produced by Rolex before they altered the design in the early 1980s, minting the Ref. 16550 which offered a matte black dial round luminous markers with white-gold surrounds, a red 24-hour hand, a sapphire crystal and a steel bezel with wider, fatter font and triangular odd hour markers. In excellent condition over all, this piece is sure to be a beloved fixture in any collection. The presence of the nicely patinated service dial and pristine service bezel suggests that this watch was lovingly maintained by its previous owner.
Whether you're looking for a bomber tool watch or a collectible vintage sport Rolex, the 1655 is never the wrong answer.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Rolex Explorer II