Rolex Explorer II 1655 'MK 5'

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If you plan on visiting Svalbard this winter you really should get this watch.You might wonder what the hell Svalbard and the Rolex Explorer II have to do with one another. Allow us to shed 'light' on the matter. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago located at 78˚ North, the northernmost inhabited place in the world. Due to its location, the sun doesn’t rise in Svalbard for 84 consecutive days each year. The Rolex Explorer II was made to address this very problem. The Explorer II features an extra 24-hour hand and an engraved 24-hour scale bezel so that the wearer can easily distinguish between day and night. This comes in handy when you spend your days in caves or during the dark days of winter in Svalbard. Enough with the geography class for now.Let’s turn to the watch at hand. This ref. 1655 dates back to 1981 and features a MK V dial. The watch features a matte-black dial with painted tritium indexes. To assist with the watch’s 24-hour display, the dial features 12-hour as well as 24-hour markings. Small rectangles outside the minute track correspond with the 24-hour hand. To further legibility, the 1655 features a funky triangle-shaped orange 24-hour hand, earning it the Italian nickname ‘Freccione’.One of the most enamoring aspects of the reference 1655 is that it sports a mid-sized case, measuring in at a diameter of 38 mm. As a result, the watch wears very well, even on the smaller-wristed among us. Besides the case size, the condition of the case is the absolute star of the show on this particular watch. The watch seems to be in absolutely perfect condition, with razor sharp lines and shiny thick chamfered edges. The matching stainless steel folded Oyster bracelet is in excellent condition as well and the date code in the clasp matches up with the production year of the watch. In other words, this watch still looks exactly the same as the day it left the Rolex dealership 40 years ago!


Rolex Explorer IIA new chapter in 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 this awesome watch is the perfect wrist companion!Ref. 1655The 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!


Packages are generally dispatched within 2 days after receipt of payment and are shipped within the Netherlands by Registered Mail through the Dutch carrier PostNL and for other countries by Fedex. Consult us if you prefer another method of shipping. For most destinations tracking is available.