Rolex Explorer II
A new chapter of the storied history of the Rolex Explorer opened with the release of the Explorer II in 1971. Just like its older sibling, the Explorer I, the Explorer II was a sturdy steel toolwatch but bigger and more outspoken. While its smaller brother sat on the wrists of mountaineers, the Explorer II was designed for the men and women that ventured into the deepest caves and across the far poles. As it is difficult to distinguish between day and night in these places, the watch features an extra hour hand and a fixed 24-hour bezel so that you can always read the correct time. But don’t worry, even if you spend most of your time in the inhabited world you won’t be this awesome watch is the perfect wrist companion!
The very first Explorer II model was the ref. 1655 released in 1971. This early reference was fitted with the calibers 1570 and 1575, the same movements as the GMT-Masters of that era, and featured a funky design typical for the early 1970s.
This reference is best known by its nickname ‘Freccione,’ which means arrow in Italian after the watch’s characteristic orange arrow-shaped 24-hour hand. Curiously, the 1655 is often associated with the ever so cool Steve McQueen. So much so, that many refer to it as the “the Steve McQueen,” even though not a single picture can be found of him actually wearing the watch!