An extremely rare and highly attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black dial, engraved "R.P.S Sovereign Mt. Everest"

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 6610
    Movement No: N861328
    Case No: 359'515
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    At first glance this exceptionally rare, highly desirable, and early rendition of the iconic Rolex Explorer model impresses. However, upon further inspection, the engraving, ‘R.P.S. SOVEREIGN, MT. EVEREST’, found on the caseback adds an air of mystery. Research indicates the ‘R.P.S’ initials most likely stands for the ‘Royal Photographic Society’ - one of the oldest photographic societies in the world, with a rich history dating back to 1853. The Royal Photographic Society has strong ties to the climbing expeditions that have taken place on Mount Everest. Rolex launched the now famous Explorer in 1953 to honor those who conquered Mount Everest for the first time that year wearing Rolex watches on their wrists. The model celebrated mankind’s desire to push the boundaries of human limits. This early Explorer reference 6610 dates to 1958, and one can assume it was a most appropriate gift for a professional who performed noteworthy work on Everest. The glossy black dial has aged to a consistent and pleasing shade of mocha over the course of its approximately 60-year life. Its rare and original, elongated gilt hour, minute and seconds hand further add to its beauty. The case is in superb condition - with sharp edges and wonderful proportions. Collectors will certainly appreciate the ‘Stainless Steel’ engraving on the caseback that is still crisp. Such shallow engravings are hard to find on early Rolex sports watches as they are easily worn away from constant contact with a wearer’s wrist. Collectors will also admire the beauty of the caliber 1030 housed within, which has developed a pleasing patina in a magnificent shade of pink. In overall excellent condition, this Explorer is as much a trophy for any vintage Rolex sports watch collector today as it was for the pioneer who first wore it.

  • 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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114

Rolex

Ref. 6610
An extremely rare and highly attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black dial, engraved "R.P.S Sovereign Mt. Everest"

1958
36mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€13,800-23,000
$15,500-25,800

sold for CHF47,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016