Rolex Explorer II 16550 'Cream Rail Dial'

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If you ever plan on visiting Svalbard or going spelunking, this is the perfect wrist companionYou 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.The reference 16550 Explorer II was produced only from 1985–1988 and is an important and collectible transitional reference between the vintage reference 1655 (known to collectors as the ‘Freccione’) and the succeeding reference 16570. The 16550 made a number of important improvements vis-a-vis the ref. 1655. It increased the case size from a modest 38 mm to a modern 40 mm, introduced a sturdy and scratch resistant sapphire crystal, and saw the incorporation of a new movement that would allow for the independent adjustment of the 24-hour hand.More noticeable, though, was the introduction of glossy white and black dials with applied 18k white-gold hour marker surrounds. And, it is these very dials that make the ref. 16550 so collectible. The white dials were manufactured with a defective paint that would discolour over time and acquire a warm creamy patina that is so desired by collectors.This watch is exactly what you would look for in a perfect 16550 Explorer II. The dial has changed into a lovely warm cream colour and so has the tritium luminescent material in the markers and the handset. Another desirable trait on this watch is that the letter ‘C’ in “CHRONOMETER” and “CERTIFIED” are almost perfectly aligned with one another; a detail referred to among collectors as a ‘rail dial’. The utilitarian look of the watch is broken up by the playful red 24-hour hand with a triangle-shaped tip. The original 16550 bezel has been replaced by a slightly later 16570 bezel.The watch dates back to 1988 and is in excellent condition, with a thick case and tight Oyster bracelet, and comes with the original box and papers.


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!


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.