*Unpolished* 1981 Rolex Explorer II (Ref. 1655) MK V Dial

The Rolex Explorer II was first introduced in 1971 as the ref. 1655, and was a professional's tool watch with a very niche application. The Explorer II ref. 1655 and its famous orange 24hr hand works in conjunction with the fixed 24hr bezel to be used as a day/night indicator. This was an extremely necessary application for professionals working in extremely low light environments or environments without consecutive 24hrs of sunlight, where distinguishing the difference between AM/PM would be impossible without the use of an external tool. 

Sometimes the Rolex Explorer ref. 1655 is referred to as the Steve McQueen Explorer. But the truth is that this a total myth as Steve never wore one and or owned one. Steve personally owned a Rolex 5512 which he wore on his right wrist as well as a Heuer Monaco but never did he wear the Explorer ref 1655. Interestingly though, Jean-Claude Killy, a former Rolex Ambassador, and gold medalist skier was often seen sporting a Rolex ref. 1655 Explorer II. Jean-Claude Killy is also more notably known for wearing a Rolex ref. 6036 Dato-Compax.

Stock # RLXEXPII1665-7
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer II
Model 1655
Serial 67XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Matte Black "MK V"
Millimeters 40
Bracelet Rolex 78360 Oyster Bracelet W/ 580 End Pieces



The unpolished case is in exceptional original condition, showing honest signs of use while retaining crisp chamfers and factory finishing through the lugs. The original MK IV fixed 24hr stainless steel bezel is in exceptional condition, remaining unpolished with light signs of use and retaining its black enamel. The Rolex 78360 Oyster bracelet with 580 end pieces retains 12 links that show minimal stretch and will fit up to a 7 1/2 inch wrist. 


The stunning matte black MK V dial is in perfect original condition, showing no damage or notable age. The tritium lume plots have aged to a beautiful golden patina and exhibit no degradation under U.V. light inspection. The original tritium hands match the dial perfectly with no degradation present under U.V. light inspection.


None. The watch is keeping time perfectly, previous service history is unknown.