VIDEO: Rolex Explorer II “Cream Dial”
One Minute Watch with John Carter
Pre-Owned Rolex Explorer II “Cream Dial”
First released to the market in 1985, the Ref. 16550 introduced several new features to the Rolex Explorer II. The movement was upgraded to include a jumping hour function, the crystal was changed from acrylic to sapphire, and Rolex added a significant aesthetic change in two new dials – white and black in color with a glossy lacquered finish.
The white lacquered dials on these vintage 16550s often developed a rich and creamy vanilla custard color. This unique aging affect is likely due to a paint defect but these “cream dials” have become a watch collector’s dream!
First released in 1985, the Ref. 16550 introduced several new features to the Rolex Explorer II. The movement was upgraded to include a jumping hour function and the crystal was changed from acrylic to sapphire.
Rolex also added a significant aesthetic change with two new dials– one white and one black, both with a glossy lacquered finish. Due to a paint defect, these new dials would sometimes display unique aging effects. The white dials models can develop a rich and creamy vanilla custard color. Originally stark white, these cream dials have become very collectible due to their rarity as well as their unique and beautiful appearance.
This watch also shows another detail called a “rail dial”, where the spacing in the dial text lines up, creating a gap in the center. The Ref. 16550 is considered to be a transitional reference, and was only produced for a short time until 1989.