Rolex - Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR Geneva Friday, November 11, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 6350
    Movement No: H98028, 45488
    Case No: 955'855, case back stamped IV. 53, 18
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding clasp, stamped 1.64, max length 195mm.
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The “Explorer” was introduced in 1953 to celebrate the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay. Marketed to adventurers and in particular mountaineers, early prototypes used the bubble-back case as Rolex sought to improve upon their early success with this design. Created with active clients in mind, the Explorer featured clear, legible dials, the earliest of which were white with steel or brass triangular markers and numerals. Rolex continued to evolve the design, and by 1953 the reference 6350 was launched with the word “Explorer” on the black dial. Rolex promotional material from the period refers to the case as a reinforced Oyster. 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. The original pencil shaped hands, which are found on the later Submariner, are common on the earliest examples. Further dating the watch, the case back is stamped IV.53. The “Explorer” wristwatch has had a long and important history with new and subtle variations over the years, and is still retailed today by the manufacturer.

  • 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. 6350
An early and rare stainless steel wristwatch with black honeycomb dial, center seconds and bracelet

36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for CHF35,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016