Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1962
    Reference No: 5500 inside case back IV.62
    Movement No: 29'450
    Case No: 845'555
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal 1530, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet, measuring 200mm. max. Endlinks stamped 57.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1-64
    Dimensions: 34mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed. Dial further signed Joyeria Riviera

  • Catalogue Essay

    Research suggests that 14 Rolex reference models, both vintage and modern, were assigned to the “Explorer” line. Of this group, the reference 5500 may be the most unusual since it is a hybrid watch. Rolex, like most brands, built upon early successes and often made subtle changes to a timepiece, gracefully evolving predecessor models. The reference 5500 is a crossover watch composed of an “Air King” case, but fitted with the classic 3-6-9 Explorer dial. Rolex produced two variations of the 5500: the “Precision” with the caliber 1520 and the “Super Precision” with the chronometer-certified caliber 1530 like the present lot.

    Manufactured from 1958 until 1967, the present example with a caliber 1530 and correct “Super Precision” signature dates to 1962. The dial bears the historical Joyeria Rivier signature, the latter was created in 1943 Havana. Considered at the time as one of the most prestigious retailers of the Caribbean, with the Cuban Revolutions the founders sons fled to Puerto Rico and opened their flagship boutique, still in operation.

    The dial also features two rare displays. A double Swiss printing, one in gilt the other in silver matching the color of the retailer name. The other rare dial feature is the display of an exclamation mark at 6 o'clock, believed to signify a lower amount of radium used for the luminous material. By this time, Rolex had realized the health hazards of using radium on their dials, and gradually transitioned to tritium.

    The present lot is an interesting and uncommon example of the Explorer, with a beautiful dial and uncommon Joyeria Riviera signature, offering great value for fans of vintage Rolex sports models.

  • 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 inside case back IV.62
An attractive and fine stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet and "double Swiss exclamation mark" dial, retailed by Joyeria Riviera

34mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed. Dial further signed Joyeria Riviera

CHF7,000 - 12,000 

Sold for CHF32,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017