Finds Vintage

A Very Pumpkin 1655 Explorer II ‘Freccione’ Mark 1

Rolex-1655-Freccione-Mark-1

Halloween is coming in August this year, or so this 1655 would have one believe. The 1655 Explorer II is undoubtedly a grail sport Rolex for many and could be a real contender for my personal perfect one tool watch (I don’t frequent the Mariana Trench often, before you object). Initially designed for spelunkers, the Explorer II has become a go-to for the more understated jet set, a modern travel-tool classic. When the world finally returns to a normal, there would be no better companion.

Rolex-1655-Freccione-Mark-1

I find the genius of the Explorer II design in its fixed bezel. The 24-hand that the bezel correlates to could not be accidentally reset with a bash, as the bezel does not rotate. While not many have need for that function due to time caving, it is remarkably comforting. The effect is like having that bezel lock that the Ploprof does, without the look-at-me attitude of a bright red button.

This desirable mark 1 is not necessarily the most rare, but rare to find with unadulterated and wholly intact tritium. The vast majority of 1655s have been refinished or, sadly, swapped to service dials. In this specification and condition, there is a charm about this reference almost unmatched in most vintage Rolex. It’s not trying too hard; the Freccione doesn’t make any false pretense about its dive ability and the steel bezel wears a little smaller than one might expect.

Rolex-1655-Freccione-Mark-1

This example is just lovely. Its case is strong with stout lugs and even a small section of bevel presenting. Its dial and handset are matched, pumpkin-ed, and delicious. The movement is said to have been serviced recently. It comes with a box, manuals, and hang tags from a well-regarded retailer.

Find this 1655 Mark 1 here from Xupes at 27999 GBP.