A fine and attractive stainless steel wristwatch made for the British Army

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 6150 stamped 2.53 inside the caseback
    Movement No: 27'124
    Case No: 945'016
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 34mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed. The caseback is engraved: "H.S.10 CD "British Arrow" 945016"

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex was the first watch manufacturer to produce waterproof wristwatches in larger series. Following their earliest cushion-shaped designs, the “Bubble Back” generation was the main model for over a decade before it was replaced by larger, more modern Oyster case-designs, amongst collectors affectionately called “Large Bubble” or “Ovettone”. Reference 6150 in steel was the first model to feature a black dial with strong luminous arabic and baton numerals – today immediately recognisable as the Explorer dial design. The line was marketed to adventurers and in particular mountain climbers. It was launched in 1953 to celebrate Edmond Hillary and Tensing Norgay’s ascension of Mt. Everest, who wore Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatches during their historic climb.
    Launched in the early 1950s, the reference 6150 is one of the rarest and earliest examples of the “Explorer” model. Some collectors refer to the reference as a “pre-Explorer” since the first Rolex reference to carry the “Explorer” designation was the model 6350, which was only manufactured in 1953. Early examples of the reference 6150 do not carry the “Explorer” name, and only read “Precision”, however in later years the designation was added to the dial. The present lot is a lovely example of this early model. The highly legible black dial, with its 3-6-9 numerals and Mercedes-style hands, exhibits the iconic characteristics of the Explorer family of watches. The case back is engraved “H. S. 10 CD”, which stand for HS = Hydrographic Service
    HS 10 = waterproof wrist watch for divers, CD= Clearance Diver, denoting the watch was issued to a British military diver working for the hydrographic services.

  • 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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Rolex

Ref. 6150 stamped 2.53 inside the caseback
A fine and attractive stainless steel wristwatch made for the British Army

1953
34mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed. The caseback is engraved: "H.S.10 CD "British Arrow" 945016"

Estimate
CHF10,000 - 15,000 
€9,200-13,800
$10,300-15,500

sold for CHF23,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016