Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1958
    Reference No: 6610
    Movement No: N745754
    Case No: 359'887
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Explorer was launched in 1953 to celebrate the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. So, as it often happens with Rolex’s most iconic vintage watches, the Explorer as well originated as a tool watch marketed - unsurprisingly - to explorers who would appreciate its strong, waterproof case, highly legible dial and extremely reliable movement.

    Introduced in 1955, Rolex’s reference 6610 was a new generation Explorer wristwatch with an updated movement, caliber 1030, which allowed for a flatter case back. This evolution presented a more compact and sleek appearance compared to earlier references fitted with the thicker caliber A296 that required a rounded “bubble back” type case. The Explorer dial has a minimalist appeal: the dial with a “3-6-9” numeral configuration and Mercedes hands is a hymn to legibility and the robust, 36 mm steel Oyster case makes it light, durable and waterproof. Unlike its more common successor ref. 1016, reference 6610 displayed "Officially Certified Chronometer", at the six position, while ref. 1016 would use the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” designation.

    Featuring un unmarred, further original dial which aged with grace highlighting the vintage vibe of the piece, the present watch is an all original, extremely well-preserved example. The case in our opinion was never polished or restored in any way – even its original curved, crystal was never replaced. Fitted with its original and extremely rare, ‘white lollipop’ seconds hand, its luminous dial and hands have aged charismatically to a caramel hue.

  • 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. 6610
A charming and very well preserved stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds

Circa 1958
36mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF18,000 - 36,000 

Sold for CHF21,590

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023