Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1966
    Reference No: 1016
    Movement No: 38’312
    Case No: 1’504’373; inside caseback stamped “1016, VI.66”
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped “58”, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped “2.69”
    Dimensions: 36mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Like the great slogan from the Rolex advertisement in the 50s, the “Rolex Explorer was built because there isn’t any watch repair shop on top of the Matterhorn”. Launched in 1953, the ref. 1016 is one of the most iconic and aesthetically purest model from the brand. Famed for its signature 3-6-9 dial, the ref. 1016 also featured an upgraded calibre with an increased waterproof capability of up to 100m. Early examples of the ref. 1016 were fitted with “glossy” black lacquered dials and Rolex later replaced them with matte black dials towards the end of 1966, the reference was discontinued in 1989.

    The present example of the Rolex Explorer ref 1016 bearing a 1.5 million serial with a caseback stamped fourth quarter of 1966 belongs to the last examples to be fitted with a gilt gloss dial.
    Immediately drawing one’s attention is the beautifully aged “tropical” brown patina that has developed over the years from its original jet-black dial. The present example is referred to as the Type 5 dial with characteristics such as the absence of the chapter ring with shorter hash marks at 6 o’clock indicating the SWISS – T < 25 insignia. Well-preserved and exemplifying a charismatic warm butter hued luminous material, the present specimen is without a doubt an attractive example of one of the most iconic professional tool watches from the 20th century.

  • 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. 1016
A rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, black lacquer “tropical gilt” dial and bracelet

Circa 1966
36mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$155,000 - 310,000 

Sold for HK$302,400

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022