Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1966
    Reference No: 1016
    Movement No: 24'980
    Case No: 1'517'021
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex USA riveted Oyster bracelet, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex USA deployant clasp stamped "78"
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1963, ref. 1016, as implied by the name, was a tour-de-force of reliability and legibility, designed from the inside out to resist some of the most harsh conditions found on the planet. Early examples of ref. 1016 were fitted with black “glossy” lacquered dials and Rolex later replaced them with matte black dials towards the end of 1966. The reference was eventually discontinued in 1989, but the near three decades of production made this model as memorable and iconic as the Submariner or the Daytona, maybe even more given its higher accessibility. On some level, it can be said that the Explorer - considered its original highly technical nature, reliability, design and extended production run - is one of the watches that best epitomises the characteristic of Rolex’s vintage production.

    The present example of Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 belongs to one of the last examples fitted with a black “glossy” lacquer dial bearing a 1.5 million serial from the end of 1966 (according to the caseback, the fourth quarter of ’66). The connoisseur will immediately notice the incredible well preserved nature of the dial. Not only the luminous material presents no losses and has developed a subtle, even and charismatic ivory hue, most notably the gloss finish is incredibly well-preserved, without bubbling or flaking as often seen on Rolex dials from this age.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 1016
A charismatic and extremely well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, black glossy luminous dial and bracelet

Circa 1966
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF22,680

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021