Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XI Hong Kong Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1956
    Reference No: 6610, inside caseback stamped I.56
    Movement No: 574’895
    Case No: 114’478
    Model Name: Explorer "Red Depth"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “7206”, endlinks stamped “80”, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “2,65”
    Dimensions: 36m diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The story of the Rolex Explorer was really made when it was the very first wristwatch worn on the summit of Everest by none other than Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Tenzig Norgay. Launched in 1953, the Explorer was based on the Oyster “Bubbleback”, as these cases were robust, and it has an extra bulged screwed down caseback to fit a self-winding movement. Although Rolex had already begun testing their Oyster wristwatches on Himalayan expeditions in the 1930s, it was not until the successful climb of Everest in 1953 that the firm decided to launch their very first Explorer reference, 6150 and 6350 with its iconic 3-6-9 dial.

    The ref. 6610 was launched shortly after the first two references. Featuring a beautiful galvanized gilt dial, the reference further retains its iconic 3-6-9 dial with radium luminous material to fill the indexes and hands. Encased in a robust 36mm Oyster case with a screw-down caseback, the Explorer is ready for any expedition. The dial featured in the present example displays a rare and unusual red depth rating printed underneath the “Explorer” signature.

    Preserved in excellent overall condition with a nicely balanced case and a natural unrestored dial, the condition is impeccable with high radium reading under a Geiger counter. A superb red-depth Explorer to add to the collection.

  • 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, inside caseback stamped I.56
A very rare, attractive and unusual stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, “galvanized” dial, red depth rating and bracelet

Circa 1956
36m diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$200,000 - 350,000 

Sold for HK$302,400

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XI

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2020