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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 6350
    Movement No: 46'816
    Case No: 955'948, case back stamped IV. 53, 18
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Literature: For a comparable watch but with Ref. 6150, see 100 Superlative Rolex Wristwatches, John Goldberger p.182

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Explorer rose to fame when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered Mount Everest on 29 May 1953, with an Explorer strapped on their wrists. In fact, even though Rolex had already registered the name “Explorer” in January of the same year, it was only after Hillary and Norgay reached the peak of Everest that the name was officially adopted.

    Although Rolex first experimented with '3-6-9' dials in 1953, it was not until the arrival of reference 6350 that the manufacture officially used this dial configuration in their line of production.

    The key objective in creating the Explorer was dial legibility. Luminous material was thus applied to the dial, with the iconic '3-6-9' numerals clearly recognizable even from far away. Unlike reference 6150, which bore ‘Precision’, reference 6350 was marked ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’, confirming the movement had been subject to stricter timing tests.

    The present example features the early and highly sought after black honeycomb dial. In lovely original condition with gilt lettering, the black dial stands out with its quarter Arabic dial, displaying only the numbers 3-6-9, with the remainder being baton numerals.

  • Artist Biography

    Rolex

    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. 6350
A very rare and highly attractive stainless steel wristwatch with sweep center seconds and ‘Explorer’ honeycomb dial

1953
36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€11,100-16,700
$11,900-17,800

Sold for CHF35,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017