A rare stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, black lacquer "Explorer" dial and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1965
    Reference No: 5500
    Case No: 1'215'267
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1520, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 57, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped 4.64
    Dimensions: 33mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Explorer watches were produced to withstand the perils of alpine expeditions and the elements. The present model is a crossover between the Air King and Explorer model, evidenced by the iconic '3-6-9' numerals on the dial. Reference 5500 was fitted with either a 'Precision' or 'Super Precision' dial, as the movements were not chronometer certified. At the time, many examples were delivered to the United Kingdom.

    The present watch features a well-preserved black lacquer dial that is still glossy and mirror-like in its appearance. The case furthermore retains robust proportions and crisp edges. The bracelet is stamped for the fourth quarter of 1964, attesting to the originality of this timepiece.

  • 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. 5500
A rare stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, black lacquer "Explorer" dial and bracelet

Circa 1965
33mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF8,000 - 12,000 
€7,000-10,600
$8,200-12,300

sold for CHF15,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018