Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE Geneva Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1963
    Reference No: 5500, stamped 1002 inside the case back
    Case No: 971'239, stamped IV.63
    Model Name: Explorer Super Precision
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet, stamped 78, max length 190mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding deployant clasp stamped 78
    Dimensions: 33mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Clearly identifiable as an Explorer with its 3-6-9 dial, the present reference 5500 is a transformed Air King model. It is fitted with the Air King case measuring 33mm diameter whereas the Explorer case had a 36mm diameter, likely introduced by Rolex as an alternative destined to a younger audience looking for a more affordable watch.

    The present lot is distinguished by its stunning and unusual glossy, lacquer dial. Preserved in immaculate condition, it features beautiful sunk gilt printing. Of particular interest to collectors is the presence of an “underline” along with the rarely seen double “–T<25” printing on both sides of the “SWISS” designation at 6 o’clock. Printed in silver on top of the dial at a later date, these inscriptions indicate the absence of radium on the indexes and hands. This watch is in overall very good condition and is fitted with a folded riveted Oyster bracelet, and offers fantastic value to the discerning collector.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Ref. 5500, stamped 1002 inside the case back
A fine and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black gloss underline dial and bracelet

33mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF5,000 - 8,000 

Sold for CHF28,750

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016