The genesis of the cream colored 16550 are a bit of a mystery. A mistake in the mixing of the laquer perhaps? By design? No matter what you think the origin story is, the cream dial 16550 has become highly sought after. The 16550 was the first sapphire crystal version of the Explorer II, as well as the first Explorer II to become available in an array of dial colors.
Debuting in 1971, the Rolex Explorer II was released to satiate the demand for a relatively niche timepiece for a particular type of explorer, Spelunkers, or cave explorers as we may call them. Made only of steel, the Explorer II's construction ensures that none of its parts might crack or break off against a rock in cramped conditions, such as a bezel insert. With this use in mind, the Explorer II originally featured its iconic arrow-shaped 24-hour hand to differentiate between AP and PM for spelunkers that might lose track of the day and night cycle while they were in caves for days at a time. The modern Explorer II models have had this function exchanged for a fully operational GMT-hand. Featuring its signature fixed stainless-steel bezel, arrow-shaped 2nd hour hand, and robust design, the Explorer II makes for an incredible jack-of-all-trades timepiece as it comprises of just about everything your modern exploring needs might demand. Whether you're 500m under a mountain, 30m underwater, or 10,000m in the air on a trans-Atlantic flight, the Explorer II has you covered.
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Vetted & Approved
Box, Guarantee Paper, Manuals, and Calendar
Est. value range
$15,000 – $25,000
The watch is in excellent condition. Case is full and thick, with only minimal surface wear and scratches. Bezel is sharp, and the numbers are still black and clearly visible. Dial surface is glossy and shows no signs of erosion. Original tritium indexes are a light off-white color. There are a few small noticeable areas of discoloration on some of the indexes. The original 78360 bracelet has very little stretch and comes with 12 links.
Featured here, is what would be considered as the textbook configuration- thick font bezel, rail dial, white gold indexes and nine million serial number, with original box and papers. This fine and complete example of a 16550 Cream Dial would be a trophy for any vintage Rolex collector.