A rare and unusual stainless steel wristwatch with 24 hour indication, date, center seconds, bracelet and letter from original owner

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1978
    Reference No: 1655
    Movement No: D853476
    Case No: 5'399'103
    Model Name: "Freccione Rail Dial"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding clasp stamped L5
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by letter from the original owner, CHUMS elastic, sticker and envelope.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Marketed for adventurers, the Explorer family of watches was first created in the early 1950s. This sports model found great success and in 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II as a tool watch for those who work in environments of total darkness for extended periods of time such as spelunkers (cave explorers), who needed to know if their watches indicated AM or PM . The bright, orange-colored, luminous 24-hour hand permitted the time to be read in total darkness.

    The present watch is also known as the "Rail Dial" as the words "Chronometer" and "Certified" line up together. Furthermore, scholars indicate that the "sweet spot" for this dial configuration is a 5.3 million serial number, which is present on this watch.

    Moreover, the backstory of this watch is as compelling as the object itself. It formerly belonged to Mike Taggett, the CEO and founder of Chums, an outdoor sporting goods store. A gift from his sister, this watch would accompany Taggett on his many adventures, ranging from building experimental engines in Argentina to sailing on Paul Cayard's America's Cup boat. This watch is accompanied by a letter from Taggett himself, chronicling the rise and subsequent decline of his storied and colorful career. Taggett sold the watch in 2009 to fund his next project, the "Human Dynamo".

    Preserved in excellent condition with sharp bevels and satin finishes, this watch is not only a particularly well-preserved example, it is also a testament to the stories and memories that a timepiece can represent.

  • Maker Bio

    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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250

Rolex

Ref. 1655
A rare and unusual stainless steel wristwatch with 24 hour indication, date, center seconds, bracelet and letter from original owner

Circa 1978
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€10,300-15,400
$12,700-19,100

sold for CHF30,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018