Unpolished 1981 Rolex Explorer II (Ref. 1655) "Mk. V" W/ Box and Papers

 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, the truth is, this a total myth as Steve never wore one and or owned one. Steve McQueen personally owned a Rolex ref. 5512 which he wore on his right wrist as well as a Heuer Monaco. This 1981 Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 with an Mk. V dial is a complete collector's set. Not only does this ref. 1655 comes with all of its original accessories, but the watch itself remains in superb condition with an unpolished case and exceptionally well-preserved dial.

Stock # RLXEXPII1665-6
Brand Rolex
Style Explorer II
Model 1655
Serial 66XXXXX
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial Matte Black Mk. V
Millimeters 40mm
Bracelet Rolex 62510H Jubilee W/ 550 End Pieces



The unpolished case remains in remarkable condition showing strong original chamfers and case finishing with honest signs of light use. The fixed 24hr bezel is unpolished as well, showing light signs of use and retaining its original black enamel within the numerals. The era-correct Rolex 62510H D-link Jubilee bracelet with 550 end pieces was sourced with the watch and shows almost no stretch, light signs of use, and retains 21 links.


The matte black Mk. V Explorer II dial is in superb original condition. The tritium lume plots have taken on a nice ivory coloration, under U.V. light inspection the lume remains fully intact showing no degradation. The original tritium hands match the dial perfectly and exhibit no degradation or lume loss under U.V. light inspection. The metallic date wheel is era correct with open 6's and 9's.


This 1981 Rolex Explorer II Ref. 1655 comes complete with its original inner and outer boxes, guarantee paper, serialized hangtag, booklets, and chronometer hangtag. Watch is keeping time within COSC spec, previous service history is unknown.