Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Hong Kong, Apr 25, 2021

LOT 244


HKD 300,000 - 400,000

USD 38,700 - 51,600 / CHF 36,000 - 48,000

Sold: HKD 512,500

Fine, prototype, rare, stainless steel, self-winding wristwatch with black nipple dial, date and 24h indicator.

Grading System
Case: 2-8

Very good

Slightly scratched

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-6-01

Very good

Slightly oxidized

HANDS Original

Brand Rolex

Model Explorer II Prototype, Nipple Dial

Reference 16550

Year Circa 1986

Movement No. 1499399

Case No. 9376077

Bracelet Stainless steel Rolex 78360 Oyster bracelet and 501B end link with deployant clasp, approx.overall length 180 mm

Caliber 3085

Dimensions Ø 39mm

Signature Case, Dial and Movement


Rolex Explorer II 16550 (prototype dial)

Rolex Ref. 16550 Explorer II was produced in 1984 as the successor to the beloved Ref. 1655. This reference equipped with a new generation of movement cal. 3085 that includes a ground-breaking independently adjustable GMT hand. With its sapphire crystal glass and the newly designed dial, this reference indeed set the tone for the later Explorer II references.

This example has a prototype dial featuring ‘Nipple Dial’, a specific type of dial usually found on gold or gold/steel GMT-Master from the same period. It was nicknamed for its slightly protruding metal hour markers. It was believed that this prototype design was firstly seen at Basel Fair of 1982 but was then put on hold by the brand.

To the best of our knowledge, only three examples of this black version prototype had been seen in the market. The first one was auctioned by Christie’s in 2008 and the second one was auctioned by Antiquorum in 2020.