Rolex Explorer 1655 Mark II 'McQueen' Complete Full Set
A vintage Rolex watch is always special. However this Mark II Explorer, nicknamed the 'McQueen', represents the pinnacle of investment watches. In outstanding condition, this time capsule from 1973 is accompanied by a complete full set made up of its original inner and outer packaging, guarantee, chronometer certificate, hang tag, booklets and invoice showing its sale in 1976. As Xupes report, this model has quadrupled in value since the early 2000s. Its surge in popularity, coupled with its incredibly rare full set, makes this Rolex a prime target for any collector.
The allure of vintage style commonly derives from on-screen heroes of the past, such as Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, who would adorn the now legendary watches sought by collectors today. Their embodiment of vintage-cool extended through their choice in timepiece, unaware that their choices would shape the global watch market of the future. There is debate as to whether Steve McQueen actually wore the 1655 reference. Regardless, demand for this now revered '70s Explorer has yet to cease.
The scarcity of this particular reference is a result of its niche market. The bold and legible 24-hour hand, allowing optimum visibility in low-light conditions, was designed for cave-scientists, volcanologists and polar and jungle explorers could distinguish from night and day. Its demand was shadowed by the ever-popular GMT-Master, which offered more functionality. Over its 14 year run, the 'McQueen' Explorer sold few models. However after passing quietly under the radar in the '70s, the watch gained admiration from Rolex collectors due to its unconventional design.
Between 1971 and 1985, Rolex produced five different variations, or 'Marks' of the Explorer II 1655. This Mark II example indicates it was manufactured in 1973 and its invoice indicates it was sold in 1976. Its rarity is heightened further by its punched and written papers. The likelihood of encountering such an incredible full set shortens by the year. There is never a better time to invest in Rolex history.
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