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Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16550 - 'Cream Rail' Dial

Sale price$28,450.00 USD

The Rolex Explorer’s core has always been in rugged expedition. While it was originally born out of the Everest celebratory Explorer I - the Explorer II was designed for cave diving. Officially known as spelunking!

While the initial run of Explorer II, the Reference 1655, or 'McQueen' (spoiler: there is no evidence of a connection or that he ever wore one, but the nickname stuck!) had black dials with orange accents, while later iterations like the Ref. 16570 added a white dial to the mix. These are commonly referred to as ‘Polar’ dials and they are among the most striking Rolex dials of the last 40 years or so, due to their monochromatic scheme with gloss white dials and black outer lume rings.

The watch that we have here, however, is something slightly different to your typical 'Polar.'

Prior to the release of the long-running Ref. 16570, there was the Reference 16550 — the first 'Polar.' On the surface these look nearly identical to their successor, but when you look a little closer, there are a few differences, with the most notable being the dial.

Ultimately because of the way that these dials were produced, a small run of these early pieces have aged over the years to a variety of cream-tones.

The piece that we have here, is one of those early watches — exhibiting a gorgeous 'creme' tone, with contrasting indices. Dial aside, this example dates to circa 1986 and features an excellent, sharp case, a handy GMT-function, and a matching Oyster bracelet.

Stainless Steel 1986 Automatic Sport

"As collectors themselves, Oliver and Clarke are on a mission to make buying vintage watches as painless as possible."

"The company focuses on good prices for its pieces, elite customer service and full transparency."

"The appointment-only space is inviting, with comfortable seating areas and exposed brick walls."

From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke