Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FIVE Hong Kong Monday, November 27, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1964
    Reference No: 5500
    Case No: 1’026’973
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped “4 64”
    Dimensions: 33mm diameter
    Signed: case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: With Rolex Guarantee stamped by Ludgate Hill, London retailer Watches of Switzerland dated October 6, 1965 and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    After the successful ascent to the top of Mount Everest on the wrist of Sir Edmund Hillary, Rolex’s Explorer enjoyed a growing popularity, so much so that they began to produce variations. The reference 5500 was launched at the end of the 1950s, and it was essentially an Air King with Explorer dial.

    The present watch is an extremely collectible example because of its superlatively well-preserved dial, and unusual signature combination. It presents both the underline mark and the T<25 designation. In the beginning of the 1960s, regulations imposed watchmakers to discontinue the use of radioactive radium, and substitute it with the safer tritium. With this change, watchmaking brands were unsure on how to communicate this to the public, Rolex, for example, introduced the underline mark to indicate radium-free dials, then switched to T<25 Swiss, and eventually settled on T Swiss T. The present piece perfectly exemplifies this moment in time, as it presents both the underline mark and the T<25 designation. Furthermore, close analysis shows both markings were printed at the same time in silver on a gilt “single swiss” dial: obviously, Rolex employed a pre-existing dial and modified with both designations.

  • 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. 5500
A fine and very rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, gloss, underline, T<25 dial and guarantee

Circa 1964
33mm diameter
case, dial and movement signed

HK$56,000 - 80,000 

Sold for HK$162,500

Contact Specialist
Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FIVE

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2017