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By: hxp
The Rolex Explorer is perhaps our favorite watch to come out of the 1950s. The watch we have found for you today is not an Explorer, although it's about as to close to one as you can get. We have seen this reference number (6564) before, but never one from this early date and never one that looks like this.

Just like the Explorer, this watch features a black face with only the 3, 6, and 9 numbered. It also happens to be a chronometer, just like the Explorer. Actually, the Rolex Reference Number 6564's (or sometimes known as the Oyster Perpetual Non-Dates) were inspired by the Explorer but later evolved into dressier, less distinct watches. These watches were produced for about 30 years and gained acceptance the world over as an alternative to the Rolex Datejust.

Seeing as the version we have found today was produced just 2 years after the initial release of the Explorer, and before either model really gained commercial acceptance, we can very clearly see the Explorer influence in this Oyster Perpetual. This watch features a really cool waffle dial, original crown, bracelet, and even box. This 1955 Oyster is a great chance to get the looks (and performance) of an early stage Explorer for about half the price. This watch is one we fully endorse to our readers at a price of $3499.

The Steve McQueen Rolex Explorer II (AKA Orange Hand, AKA Freccione Era Explorer) is one of our favorite watches of all time. There a few reasons for this. First, it was the very first iteration of a true classic and one of our favorite modern day pieces, the Rolex Explorer II. Second, its association with Steve McQueen (actor, racecar driver, and all around cool guy), is meaningful because it is one of the purest examples of celebrity impacting watch prices. The McQueen Explorer is by no means a complicated piece, and even the movement itself is nothing extraordinary, and yet this continues to be one of the most sought after vintage watches in the world. Finally, this is a great example of how the little things make a big difference in watches.

The looks of the McQueen Explorer are similar to the standard Explorer Two, with the most notable exception being that bright orange GMT hand. That bright orange makes a big difference to us, even though we are sure the vast majority of people we meet would never even notice it. And that is the point. We love this watch because it looks just like a normal Rolex Explorer II to 99% of the people that see it. But with that 1% of the population who knows exactly what it is, we now have an instant connection.

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