Vintage Rolex Explorer 5500. Circa 1964. 1530 super precision automatic movement. 34mm steel case. Black gloss gilt underline dial with double "T 25" and Arabic and baton hour markers. This watch is on a Tudor steel bracelet with folding clasp. Service Papers dated November 2018.
Watch in Focus
The Rolex Explorer was launched in 1953, based around another iconic Rolex model; the ‘Bubbleback’. The tough and robust reputation of these watches made them the perfect ‘tool’ to use when Rolex began developing the Explorer. Prototypes began field testing by mountaineers in 1952, where the watch would accompany the wearer to the limits of their own capabilities.
Launched in the late 1950’s, the reference 5500 Explorer featured a smaller case size than the established models. Based on the Air-King which was more of a dress watch – and as a result had a smaller case size – the 5500 had a 32mm case size and 19mm lug width.
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay wore one of these prototype’s when making the first successful ascent of Mount Everest on the 29th May 1953 proof, if needed, that this new addition to the Rolex family fulfilled its brief as a true explorer’s watch.