A fine and rare example of the Rolex Explorer, reference 5500, from 1966. This stunning example was purchased from a single-family owner and represents a rare unspoiled example, with its original gilt dial and Mercedes hands showing a beautiful patina.
The Rolex Explorer reference 5500 is considered one of the most unique and collectable Explorers to have been produced. Sharing the same 34mm case as the Air-King, the reference 5500 featured a stunning gilt-inscribed dial with tritium luminescent paint. This particular example is one of the best we've seen and is sure to be a great future investment.
The history behind the Rolex Explorer
Rolex began producing watches for explorers in 1933 (as an original backer of the Himalayan expedition), with a highly visible dial and unique lubricants that allowed functionality between -20° C and +40° C. Rolex introduced the name, 'Explorer' to these watches after the first Everest summit was completed in 1953, to capitalise on the achievement, as Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was wearing one when he reached the summit.
For an in-depth look into the history and origins of the Rolex Explorer, we highly recommend that you check out the article written by Blowers Jewellers on the 'History of the Rolex Explorer: The Ultimate Tool Watch'
Technical & Condition:
Presented in overall excellent vintage condition. The case, whilst polished in the past, retains its shape nicely and is free from significant dings. The dial has aged beautifully with matching lume colour on both the hands and dial, both of which remain in excellent shape for their age. The bracelet is in great shape with almost no stretch. The movement is in good condition and just back from a service.
- Case size (exc. crown): 34mm
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Movement: Automatic
- Strap/bracelet: Oyster ref. 7835. Will fit wrists up to approximately 17cm
- Box and papers: Original Rolex box and various papers
Make this Rolex Explorer 5500 yours today!
Examples like this are few and far between these days. Whether you're buying it for its beauty or its investment potential, don't hang around. We're unlikely to be able to source another like it for some time to come, and certainly not for this price point!
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Don’t like it? Return it for free!
1 Year Warranty
If something goes wrong, we’ll repair it for free.
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Case Size (excluding crown):
Box & Papers:
Case Size (excluding crown):
Box & Papers:
For orders placed before 2pm orders will be shipped the same day.
Your watch will be carefully packaged and shipped fully insured with leading global courier companies.
Delivery within the UK is Free. Delivery within Europe is £30. Delivery for the Rest of the World is £50.
Don't like it or change your mind? Return it for a full refund with our 14 day, no hassle returns on all sales. See the full conditions here.
Are all watches authenticated?
All our watches pass through a double authentication process to insure their authenticity. We also provide detailed photos of the watch from all angles to allow you to undertake your own anlysis. Finally as with everything, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to our friendly team
What if something goes wrong with the watch
Whilst all our watches are fully serviced before sale, if something does go wrong, we'll repair it for free as part of our 1 year warranty
Do watches come with original box and papers?
It depends on the individual watch. You can see details under "The Basics" heading on this page. For the majority of vintage watches their original box and papers have been lost to time. Whilst they are nice to have, it’s important to note that “box and papers” DO NOT authenticate a watch despite what many in our trade say. It’s also important to realise alot of sellers (including some of the most well known in the UK) put together full sets of box, papers, hang tags etc by buying blank paperwork and boxes in the secondary market. This is a very regrettable, but unfortunately common occurrence in the trade but something we will never do!
How do I know it will fit?
For metal bracelets we provide the size it will currently fit in the description section of this page. If this measurement is too large or too small we are able to assist in either adding or removing links. We also offer this service, post service on a at-cost basis (i.e. we don't add a margin).
Can you change the strap?
Absolutely! If you don't like the current strap, let us know and we'll change it for free! We maintain a broad selection of styles and can also source straps to your specification free of charge.
Can you source something similar?
Absolutely! If its not quite what you’re looking for just get in touch and we can source one with our Free, No Obligation sourcing service. You can contact us on phone, live chat or simply submit the details of what you’re looking for on our “Find a Watch” page.
What payment options do you offer?
We accept payment by all leading credit and debit cards, ApplePay as well as bank transfer.
Do you offer financing?
Currently we don't offer financing but it’s something we're exploring.
Shipping & Returns
Can you ship an order to arrive on a certain day?
We can certainly try! We can request with our shipment partners for delivery on a certain day but ultimately the exact delivery date is subject to a number of factors outside our control.
How do I return a watch?
Simply let us know you want to send the watch back within the 14 return period and return it to us via Royal Mail Special Delivery. We’ll process your refund the same day we receive the watch back.
Terms & Conditions
Terms & Conditions
You can find our full terms and conditions here.
Rolex Explorer 5500 Gilt Dial, 1966
The Rolex Explorer reference 5500 is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive and collectable Explorers ever made. The reference 5500 has the same 34mm casing as the Air-King and a magnificent gilt-inscribed dial with tritium luminous paint. This specific example is one of the nicest we've seen, and it'll almost certainly pay off in the future in terms of investment.
What our customers are saying
Rolex Datejust 16013 Bi-Metal, 1987
Time Rediscovered is a pleasure to deal with. An outstanding watch at an even better price! The watch was accurately described. Promptly replied to my messages and offered me a very personal service from start to finish. Many thanks.
Longines 9k Gold, 1952 Vintage Watch
Nick is a legend, delivering absolutely excellent service from start to finish. Buying this vintage Longines from Time Rediscovered was a true pleasure, and I'd recommend anyone looking to buy a vintage watch to have a chat with Nick.
Rolex Precision, 9k Gold
Having recently dealt with with Time Rediscovered, I was most impressed with the way matters were handled. Expert advice, no pressure and no “hard sell” that I have experienced from others. Product beautifully packaged and promptly dispatched. First class service. Well done!
Rolex Oyster Extra Prima, 1928
I purchased a vintage timepiece from Time Rediscovered. The service was excellent- acknowledged my order quickly & kept me informed. I have no reservation about recommending Time Rediscovered.
Omega Jumbo 2506-10, 1947
Very good experience with Time Rediscovered. Nick answered my questions promptly and swapped a strap for me for no extra charge. The watch is in excellent condition. Very happy to recommend Time Rediscovered.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King
Excellent service from Nick - my preowned watch was very well priced compared to other websites and in better condition that expected, and the communication throughout the process was helpful and responsive. Would use again.