Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1953
    Reference No: 6298 inside caseback further stamped II.67
    Movement No: 33'090, H51661
    Case No: 955'914, caseback further engraved "Expedition Suisse A l'Everest 1952, Raymond Lambert"
    Model Name: Oyster Perpetual
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex bracelet, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 3.71
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by the DVD Everest 1952-2002, Fulfilling the dream of Yves Lambert and Tashi Tenzing climbing Mount Everest in 2002.

  • Catalogue Essay

    May 28th, 1952 would become a landmark for Switzerland and for the history of mountaineering.

    With the need of creating a new, modern, and welcoming Switzerland after the Second World War, the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Explorations had asked the Government of Nepal for an authorization to explore Mount Everest from the south. It would be at the end of 1951 that the authorization was granted for the following spring 1952. Meanwhile, in Geneva, a group of eight alpine mountaineers were feverishly preparing for an expedition whose goal was to climb a peak of 8000 meters. Little did they know that their dream to ascend the highest summit in world would become reality.

    Always at the forefront of innovation and with a wish of pushing the boundaries of what is technically and humanly possible, it comes as no surprises that Rolex would provide each participant of the expedition with a wristwatch, an Oyster Perpetual reference 6098 (similar to lot 75). This was the perfect opportunity to test and improve the reliability and robustness of the watches, using the Himalayan mountains as a living laboratory.

    With such watch on his wrist, the Swiss mountain guide Raymond Lambert, accompanied by the sherpa Tenzing Norgay, climbed above the south col of Mount Everest and reached the highest altitude ever achieved by mankind of 8,595 meters on May 28th, 1952. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather condition, the duo had to turn back just before reaching the summit. It would be the following year, that, eventually, the English expedition led by Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay would arrive to the top.

    Upon their return to Switzerland, each member of the Swiss expedition had to return their watch to the manufacture for extensive testing. Lambert, true to his word, brought back his timepiece, which would forever remain in the hands of Rolex. In exchange of his great contribution and to express their gratitude, Rolex would eventually gift him the present watch, an Oyster Perpetual reference 6298 with a caseback engraving “Expedition Suisse A l’Everest 1952 – Raymond Lambert”.

    Launched in the early 1950s, the reference 6298 was an upgrade of reference 6028, featuring a new, COSC certified movement. Its large case allowed for a clean, legible dial that would become the basis for one of the company’s most famous models: the first Explorer.

    Known by collectors as the Ovettone, the reference 6298 impresses by its large case size of 36mm and its domed back further increasing its wrist presence. The present wristwatch is fitted with a light silvered dial. The dial is beautifully complemented by yellow gold applied indexes with round luminous plots that are striking in contrast to the stainless steel case. The watch retains strong proportions with thick lugs and a sharp engraving to the caseback. Interestingly, the caseback dates to 1967 while the case is from 1953. The original caseback was most probably exchanged during a service and replaced with the current one. Yet, in recognition of Raymond Lambert’s extraordinary ascend of Mount Everest, the watchmaker reproduced the original engraving “Expedition Suisse A l’Everest 1952 – Raymond Lambert” that is almost always erased through polishing over time. Meanwhile, the original reference 6098 resides within Rolex's collection.

    Holding a very special but underestimated place in Rolex’s history, the reference 6298 is a wonderful, robust and practical watch. Originally acquired from the family of Raymond Lambert, the present watch with such an incredible provenance is sure to delight collectors who enjoy adventure and history as much as pure and thoughtful designs.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Δ76

Ref. 6298 inside caseback further stamped II.67
A fine and historically important stainless steel self-winding wristwatch with presentation inscription "Raymond Lambert - Expedition Suisse à L'Everest 1952"

Circa 1953
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 40,000 
€20,600-41,200
$20,000-40,100

Sold for CHF69,300

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]
 

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022