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The Explorer II Ref 1655, an In Depth Review

 By: amanico : October 14th, 2009-14:06
Did you ever dream of being an Explorer? It was time to try to give to this watch the interest it deserves. The Rolex History is not only full of Subs, or GMT, but also includes for several decades the Explorer models, like the 1016, the 1655, and the 16 ...  

very well written..and thank you

 By: ocwatching : October 14th, 2009-14:19
I have always like the 1655 versus the current Exp2... Very interesting observations...THANK YOU

Thanks a lot for your nice comments!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:43
Well written, I don't know, but written with the heart, for sure! Best, Nicolas

Yes sir I do!

 By: Starman : October 14th, 2009-14:49
Great post and nice watch. I sure do like the old stuff, but I think the latest Explorer is a fine watch too. On this latest model the second hand is independant so it is GMT watch and a very complete tool watch IMO. Isn't it IWC who is claiming that Sir ... 

Well, Starman

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:48
I don't know if Sir Hillary always had a Rolex when he was climbing, but these are the only watches I know he had... The prices were very high for this model till the last year, then went substantially down, which was my chance to get one. My problem is t... 

The climbing watch

 By: Starman : October 15th, 2009-13:31
Well Nicolas, this is what I found on another website: "The Rolex Explorer was designed and made to supply the members of the 1953 expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay, on May 29, 1953, were the first to reach ... 

LOL, Starman! Excellent.

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:46
I will remember that in ...Let's say... 2029?!!! Info to be checked, of course. Thanks, my friend. Nicolas

RE;Rolex watch to amanico

 By: stranleyjose01 : September 13th, 2010-04:04
Thanks for the information its nice as good dicovering the explorer i know about the Rolex vintage perpetual establish in 1966 its one of best and unique vintage model.. must watch [URL=]Rolex Watch[/url]


 By: kbc.2222 : October 14th, 2009-17:14
Thats was a dream watch for a lot of vintage rolex friend ! U 1655 was SuperB conditions n sit perfect on your wrist :o) Thanks for whats the great review u give to us!!! All the best... Best Chung

Hey, Chung

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:50
It took me a long time to find MY 1655... I wanted one with a nice patina and in very good condition. Thanks for the nice words, my friend. Much appreciated. Best, Nicolas

Great post..

 By: joeyza : October 14th, 2009-17:28
... and very helpful for a Rolex novice such as myself. Thank you taking the time to put together the review. Slainte. Joe

My pleasure, Joe

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:51
I consider myself as an enthusiast novice, too, and I had to do my homework before being able to get my 1655. BUT I can tell you that this watch is worth some efforts! Best, my friend. Nicolas

Very cool review

 By: AT : October 14th, 2009-17:29
it is interesting to see the common element in the different add throughout the years. Thanks Nico for making me discover the Explorer!

The ads make it even more desirable, IMO, AT.

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:53
It is always nice to know the story behind the watch, the stories, should I say... The Beauty, the charm and the soul of this watch make it all! Best, Nicolas

Nico, you did me a service...

 By: BDLJ : October 14th, 2009-18:59
...I've been encouraging my stepfather to find one of these. Now, sadly I'll have to inform him that the bezel doesn't rotate, so it's not a GMT/2nd timezone watch...I hadn't realised that. No wonder it didn't sell very well. That said, It's my favourite ... 

Agree, Ben

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-12:56
Watchnuts are sometimes weird people, indeed. I didn't buy it for its supposed function ( the GMT it doesn't have ), but for its heaaaaavy charm, and originality. But it's a long time I separe watches and Utility... Best, my firend, and happy to have done... 

Great Post !!

 By: flamenco : October 14th, 2009-22:08
Now I am convinced I have to get one myself !!

Really, Flamenco?

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:07
That's the best compliment you should make! Best, and good hunt, my friend. Nicolas

And the price

 By: flamenco : October 19th, 2009-00:43
has just shot thru the roof ........... now that every purists wants one

Let's say ...More Reasonnable

 By: amanico : October 19th, 2009-02:28
But this is also another good reason to jump on it! Best, Nicolas

Fantastic post! The 1655...

 By: bullibeer : October 14th, 2009-22:10
Well after 2 years not wearing a 1655..... this model is getting hot again. Thanks for your post! Looks real great.... and very well written!!! Best, Bernhard

Well, Bernhard

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:10
Your situation is much more difficult than mine... YOU have all the hottest Rolexes, my friend. I would wear with a great pleasure a 6538! More seriously, the 1655 is maybe, to me, the most original Rolex ever made, with a very cool look, due to its orang... 

Thanks Nicolas,.....

 By: bullibeer : October 15th, 2009-13:19
Maybe you are right.... we all need a orange hand in our collection.... But... whoooooooooo... that also goes for the 6263 Big Red,.. DRSD,... 6542,.... shitttttttt..... this is really a hard hobby.... ! We all get dead broke and sleep on the streets one ... 

LOL, but true, my friend

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:23
A 6542 is also in my wish list... PFFFFFFFFFFF, what a delicious HELL! Best, Nicolas

Thank you for great write up and photos

 By: dreamer : October 14th, 2009-22:27
Nicko, you have a IMHO a very "romantic" way of writing.Like saying to yourself why ( now I hope I don't get into trouble here ) you fell for a lady that has all the charm,style in the world in your own eyes but yet realistically is not the most perfect i... 

I wrote this review with my heart, Dreamer

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:25
Which contributed to make it easier for me, as a good Borat I am! That is exactly that, my friend...The charm is sometimes more important than the Beauty. Best, and thanks for the very romantic comments! Nicolas

Thanks so much Nicolas !

 By: DrStrong : October 14th, 2009-22:33
for the great review, such interesting stuff to read and so nice pictures ! Yes the Freccione is a very special's mine: This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2009-10-18 05:58:53...  


 By: Rafiki3107 : October 14th, 2009-23:14
Nicolas, as I could see last week, this 1655 is absolutly gorgeous.... you manage to describe and to explain how much its beauty is terrific! Yours pics are also a great way to enhance its beauty. Thanks for your post, Rafael

Hey, Rafael!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:36
Welcome here, my friend! It was time to give it Justice, don't you think? We don't often speak about the Explos, as the Subs are the most popular watches. Or the SDs. This watch is a really coool alternative in the Vintage World, indeed. Best, and thanks ... 

Another very nice example, Jeff!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:33
Thans for your nice words, my friend! And please, don't sell this one! Best, Nicolas

Fantastic report!

 By: YASARGIL : March 14th, 2012-00:56
I think the 1655 is a very special watch. Its is very nice. This is mine!!...  

Aaah Yasargil, it is truly special, indeed!

 By: amanico : March 14th, 2012-01:05
Thanks for adding yours, here. Best, Nicolas

Great write up

 By: : October 15th, 2009-01:09
My 2 explorers Many thanks Julian...  

A Duo like I love them, Julian!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:39
A 1016 and a 1655 together! A very cool approach of the Rolex Vintage watches, indeed. Happy to see that you enjoyed my poor prose! Best, Nicolas

Simple Explorer

 By: Geo. : October 21st, 2009-22:10
I am new to this forum and to be honest I joined to try to learn about an old watch of my late Father's. (see my other post). I was just reading this post and the photo of the EXPLORER without the bezel or date caught my eye. It is just like the other Rol... 

Great review!

 By: Peter  : October 15th, 2009-01:38
Thks for sharing

Thanks, Peter!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:40

very timely review to me...

 By: FanFrancisco : October 15th, 2009-08:58
hi Nico, many thanks for the excellent review. it is very timely to me because i recently started learning this particular model. you post added much more directions to me to appreciate this model. thank you! stefan

Stefan, I really think that this

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:43
Rolex is to be seriously considered. Not the hottest, but not the less charming, too. The difficulty is to find a nicely patined one.... But the hunt is part of the pleasure, too! Best, my friend, and thanks a lot for your nice comments! Nicolas

Thanks for preparing this view of the 1655, Nicolas . . .

 By: Dr No : October 15th, 2009-10:06
. . . which is perhaps the one iteration of classic Rolex design that feels less like it's brethren and more like, dare I say, contemporary Omega. I, too, have a sense of ambivalence about this model . . . perhaps it's the Rolex for those who prefer not t... 

Damn, Art

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:53
I didn't get a word of your commet... Please, state it in an easier way for me, my friend. Best, Borat.

Sorry, Nico . . .

 By: Dr No : October 16th, 2009-09:42
. . . in Franglish, it would be: "has Omega overtones, looks like the Rolex for guys who don't want to come across as Rolex fans" . . . ;-). Kinda reminds me of this classic from the '60s: Tongue-tied, Art

LOL, Art, Thanks !

 By: amanico : October 16th, 2009-23:03
Well, that's what I guessed... But why do you say that? Best, Borat.

Mostly because of the hands, Nico . . .

 By: Dr No : October 17th, 2009-12:14
. . . which share a great deal in common with '70s vintage Omegas . . . Art

OK, Art, now I get it!

 By: amanico : October 17th, 2009-12:16

great story

 By: Ryan5446 : October 15th, 2009-10:27
thanks for sharing. great picture too... !

Thanks a lot, Steven!

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-13:54


 By: Miguel V : October 15th, 2009-15:11
Beautiful review!.....I enjoyed read it! Regards and congratulations for the trio.

Hey, Miguel

 By: amanico : October 15th, 2009-22:10
Thanks for your nice words, and ...Welcome here! I love so much these Explorers that I hope that the trio will turn in Quintett! Looking forward to hear more from you, Best, Nicolas

Great review

 By: hans_jorgen_1968 : October 16th, 2009-02:09
Hi Nicolas Thankyou so much for your review of the 1655. After reading do I "almost" regret I sold my 16570, maybe due to the fact that the GMT's are better usable than the expolrer. But those hands on the 1655, wauw BR Hans

Thanks, Hans

 By: amanico : October 16th, 2009-03:54
Funny to see how much these Explos are underated, compared to the GMTs and Subs! That's maybe why I love them so much... Best, Nicolas

Superb post ,thanks for sharing !

 By: chronoman19 : October 16th, 2009-06:44

My pleasure, Walter

 By: amanico : October 16th, 2009-06:49
It takes a lot of time, but it gives a lot of pleasure to make such posts... And honestly, this watch is worth it! Best, Nicolas

Nicely put Nicolas !

 By: bimbeano : October 16th, 2009-12:51
Thanks for a refreshing explanation about these 'underestimated' Rolex' watches. My favorite may be a 1655 , but i 'd put my money (i'm a poor bloke) on a new black dialed expl ... . Cheers and thank you very much for this post. El Bim

The 16570 Black would be an excellent choice, too, Filip.

 By: amanico : October 16th, 2009-23:05
Why not? And, as an underestimaed watch, the prices are very ...wise for this one. Yes, you should! Best, Nicolas

That is a lot of effort ! The 1655 is getting more desirable as...

 By: a.ler : October 16th, 2009-15:38
as witnessed by the escalated price. Often overlooked watches like these were not stars of their time and had relatively smaller production numbers made them even more desirable when the trend reverse. Could the 70s be a time when pragmatism prevails, the... 

Thanks a lot, a.ler for your input!

 By: amanico : October 17th, 2009-09:32
I have several anecdotes about the 1655 from guys here and there who witnessed on the fact that these Explos weren't loved at all... Funny how things change... Well, not sure that things changed a lot, because when you tink about Vintage rolexes, the same... 

Explorer 2 in action!

 By: smith : October 17th, 2009-09:12
Regards Smith...  

Explorer 2 after the action!

 By: smith : October 17th, 2009-10:38
Please note the feet....... Regards Smith...  


 By: amanico : October 17th, 2009-10:43
I had to view it several times, as I couldn't believe it! Best, Nicolas

great post!

 By: TheWatcher : October 17th, 2009-15:19

Thanks for the nice words. [nt]

 By: amanico : October 18th, 2009-09:07
No message body


 By: nilomis : October 18th, 2009-03:48
Nicolas, This is what I call " a post ". I always had mixed feelings about this watch (I didn't think that I had use for a watch that tell me if is 9 AM or 9 PM without GMT capabilities) but your deep examination of the 1655 changed my mind. This watch ha... 

You're too kind with me, Nilo

 By: amanico : October 18th, 2009-04:34
I tried my best to desrcibe the Passion I have for this too often underated watch. It has a great personality, and a big charism. The fact that after reading this post you're on the hunt for one is the best compliment you could do to me. Thanks a lot! Bes... 

Hey, Cisco

 By: amanico : October 18th, 2009-09:08
Your next Vintage Rolex? A small Sister for your magnificient 1675? Best, my friend. Nicolas

Impressive, simply impressive...

 By: E.J. : October 20th, 2009-14:24
What a great post!!!. With lot of love, passion... this post is true passion. I´ve enjoyed the reading a lot, this work deserves an "Oscar" I love this watch, you´re a true lucky man, hermano. I was able to share with you the moment when you hunted it... ... 

That's true, Emilio

 By: amanico : October 20th, 2009-14:32
You were there when I bought it!!! What a moment! A jewel in my modest Vintage Rolex Collection. Thanks for your nice words, Hermano. Nicolas

Great post, Nicolas!

 By: dxboon : October 22nd, 2009-02:06
I've never considered the Explorer before. Like so many others, I love the Sea-Dweller and Submariner. Having read your article however, I'm reevaluating my feelings. The Ref. 1655 is so unique, and has a such a strong viewpoint that it is tough to ignore... 

To me, Daos, the Patina and the condition are important factors, on this watch

 By: amanico : October 22nd, 2009-02:46
Things are not easy, with the 1655. I waited a long time before finding the nice patina, the good condition on a 1655... Then I saw that the bracelet was also an important thing on this watch. A Vintage one made the 1655 too cheap ( to say all, the Vintag... 

Very nice example, Mr Baron.

 By: amanico : September 13th, 2010-06:28
I'm tempted to get a straight second hand, too! Greediness... Best, my friend. Nicolas

Thanks Nico for the great poost

 By: EdwardL : September 13th, 2010-06:15
A pleasure to read

My pleasure, Edward.

 By: amanico : September 13th, 2010-06:35
As I said, I have a particular affection for the Rolex Explorers, which I find totally underated, living in the shadow of the Subs. Which is not fair. Maybe I'll write another post, about another Explo... Best, Nicolas

Le 1655 Formidable mon amis! [nt]

 By: Miranda : September 13th, 2010-13:51
No message body

Je le savais... YOU speak french! :)

 By: amanico : September 13th, 2010-13:55
Thanks for the nice words, Imran. Best, Nicolas

Great Military Watch

 By: Mil Rolex : October 14th, 2011-09:29
I appreciate the history and lineage information contained within this piece. I must say, that this is absolutely a great piece for military personnel who are looking for a high quality timepiece. The 24 hour graded bezel and bullet proof stainless steel ... 

An an Explo II fan, I am very sensible to your words, Mil Rolex. Thank you so much, AND...

 By: amanico : October 14th, 2011-09:34
Welcome here, by the way. I look forward to hear more from you, now that you're here. Best, Nicolas.


 By: bobo : February 25th, 2012-03:36
very well written. i can see your heart in it...thank you... I remember back in the very early 1990s, the explorer II hardly worth nothing, i once had one in my hand and the dealer was asking C$900 for it. I did not take it as the condition was not close ... 

hi amanico

 By: bobo : February 25th, 2012-03:59
i know, all these rolex sports models (vintage) are so lovely, i collected a lot of them back in the 1990s and 2000s, my daughter wanted to be a pilot and the tuition fee is really expensive as you can imagine, so i decided to sell all of my vintage Rolex... 

There are priorities in life.

 By: amanico : February 25th, 2012-04:52
The cause was noble, though. But you start the " reconstruction " in a nice way. I'm a big big fan of the 6542. Any chance to see pics of yours? Best, Nicolas


 By: bobo : February 25th, 2012-10:52
i am a computer dummy, so dont know how to post the picture here, but i will ask my son for his help and hopefully, he will help me. i met a lot of dealers/collectors in Rolex, but i have never seen a collector have so much passion in a watch, when i read... 

Hello Nicolas! Congrats on a great article and presentation! As a matter of fact...

 By: Subexplorer : February 25th, 2012-07:25
... I can not remember having read any other review of the first generation Explorer II so exhaustive, well written and illustrated. I haven t been an enthusiast of this model, but your passionate writing changed my view of this watch. You surely taught m... 

That is an old article I wrote about two years and a half ago, my friend.

 By: amanico : February 25th, 2012-07:32
But I would not change any of the words I wrote... As I said, I tried many before finding MINE. It was always a problem of condition, which made me under appreciate the watch. But when the condition and the patina is here, well, it is difficult to resist.... 

Good you didn´t change a word! I enjoyed so much reading and rereading your post!!...

 By: Subexplorer : February 25th, 2012-17:11
... your enthusiasm for the Explorer II, is contagious!! You are right, to find it in great condition and nice patina, is a must! Thank you again for a wonderful post my friend! Very cordially, Abel.

Wonderful post Nicolas ;)

 By: ESE 2A : February 26th, 2012-05:54
I know you speak mainly of the "freccione" in this post, but not only, so, I would add the descendants of the 1016 and 1655. (Although I know that among the "PuristS" you prefer the vintage) I specify that my intention is not to create a polemic between t...  


 By: cascarilla : March 4th, 2012-09:06
Nice, Thanks Muchas Gracias

Hello Nicolas! To resucitate this old post of yours...

 By: Subexplorer : March 11th, 2012-19:48
... as fantastic as it is, had a "bad" efect on me! It completely changed my view about this reference, for which I had never been very enthusiastic about. Now, it put me in the search for a copy of it! ... Very rare down here ... ! Well, time will tell i... 

It would be so, if the 1655 was hard to find.

 By: amanico : March 12th, 2012-02:00
It is not. You just have to take your time to find yours, the one with the right amount of patina, in good condition. Best, Nicolas

You see Abel? Nico's former occupation is a museum curator. :-)

 By: TdotBean : March 12th, 2012-02:08
Just to confirm your ability to cause anxiety. The 1655 is in my nightmare. LOL Regards Tyler

Well, not so easy to find down here! Not the rarer of Rolex ...

 By: Subexplorer : March 12th, 2012-05:19
... references, but not very often seen here. Well, I always rely in Cosmos Conspiration for help! Un abrazo amigo Nicolas! Abel.

I guess in my case it can be considered "Panic attack"!! ...

 By: Subexplorer : March 12th, 2012-05:16
... I feel I desperately need a 1655!! Regards, Abel.

This is something you can reasonably plan during your next trip in Europe.

 By: amanico : March 12th, 2012-05:18
We can find one for you, when you're here. Best, Nicolas

Buen dia Nicolas! I have a lot of expectations about ...

 By: Subexplorer : March 12th, 2012-05:23
... my next trip to Paris! But things are rather complicated with business here Nicolas. We are a little more than a month ahead to the Paris GTG, and still can not clearly see if will be able to take the plane. Anyway, sooner or later, I´ll be able ... 

only just found this thread Nicolas. you know what i'm going to show

 By: G99 : March 12th, 2012-06:18
i finally get to post my brothers watch. i apologise for the poor pics, but the lighting was bad. i will attempt to get better ones soon. there is a good , if not funny, story to this piece. my brothers father in law bought this watch off a friend in the ...  

Funny story, Graham.

 By: amanico : March 12th, 2012-06:23
Which is the monopole of these Vintage watches, for sure. I don't wish you luck to get this very one, but I thank you for sharing with us its story. Best, my friend. Nicolas

well you've been waiting a...

 By: G99 : March 12th, 2012-06:26
well you've been waiting a long time to see a pic since i told you about it, at least a year. best G

Hello Graham! That´s a great story...

 By: Subexplorer : March 12th, 2012-06:34
... and this type of stories is what makes for the attraction and enjoyment of our vintage watches. I´m not very knowledgeable about this particular Rolex reference 1655, but I feel this one you show is of the first series, as per the straight seconds han... 

thanks Abel,   i know...

 By: G99 : March 14th, 2012-04:36
thanks Abel, i know nothing, but if one came along after my lotto win i would happily forget my 1964 theme and buy one as i just like the way they look. best G

i could, but then i...

 By: G99 : March 16th, 2012-02:36
i could, but then i would lose a whole theme for 1 watch. i have 2 watches i would sell, but even they would only pay for 1/2 or less. i might get a GMT if they sold, but never had much luck with them. i could always go for the MKII LRRP first edition whi... 

a couple more pics of my brothers EXP II taken today

 By: G99 : March 25th, 2012-09:00
lovely sunshine, walk the dog on the beach and grab a pic. i got a bit more info. he believes it to be a 1974. dont know which edition that is, either 1 or 2 i presume. Graham...  


 By: Baron - Mr Red : March 25th, 2012-09:01
first edition.... the best

thanks for that info Baron....

 By: G99 : March 25th, 2012-09:07
thanks for that info Baron. sadly getting it off his wrist is impossible i didnt realise until last night that the 24 hour hand cant be adjusted. is this the case with the GMT Master as well ? best Graham...  

1st generation, my friend. Very nice! [nt]

 By: amanico : March 25th, 2012-09:37
No message body

Awesome post Nicolas...........

 By: Topcat30093 : May 10th, 2012-01:23
Since finding "Vintage" I have admired these pieces and find it so strange that they were not a huge seller, when first I released love the configuration of the dial and hope that in a long time to come my 42mm Explorer II may also have the same following... 

I am also very happy to see this thread surviving to Time.

 By: amanico : May 10th, 2012-08:29
I posted it almost more than 2 years and a half, and there are still answers and comments. One thing is sure, it waxd priduced during 14 years, depsite the fact that it didn't sell well, as this time. I guess it was much less produced than GMTs or Subs, t... 

Thanks, Pier. [nt]

 By: amanico : May 14th, 2018-14:44