Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE Hong Kong Monday, November 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1956
    Reference No: 6610
    Movement No: N722811
    Case No: 168'748, further stamped ii.56 in interior
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless Steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Oyster Bracelet, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped 1-62
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee dated October 15, 1957 and stamped AFEX.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex’s reference 6610, like the present watch, is considered by many to be the first official Explorer model, and it is the design which is continued today. Replacing the earlier A296 caliber movement, the 6610, released in 1956, used the caliber 1030, Rolex’s first in-house designed and built movement. The thinner movement allowed for a slimmer case design with a flatter back creating a streamlined modern watch at 36mm. The dial design had a new aesthetic with the black glossy background with gilt print and luminous 3-6-9 numerals. The Mercedes-style hands became standard and the dial also featured an inverted triangle at the 12 o’clock, as well as the rare painted white seconds hand.

    The present watch is fresh to the market, coming from the original family. Purchased in 1957 by an American Air Force pilot stationed in Germany with his family. His son remembers accompanying his father to the US Air Force Exchange where he selected the present watch and wore it both in his military and civilian duties. It remained with the owner until the crown broke at which time he put it away for safe keeping. The guarantee read the closest Rolex Service Center was in New York City and the owner felt it was too far to ship the watch and therefore the watch remained unused for many years.

    The watch is accompanied by the original Guarantee dated October 15, 1957 and stamped AFEX for the Air Force Exchange. It remains in exceptional condition, the case proportions are strong and the lug bevels relatively sharp. The watch is presented with a lovely aged dial that is fully intact. The Explorer stands with other iconic Rolex wristwatches as a testament to the genius and innovation of Hans Wildorf, as well as the drive to create tool watches that not only withstood the environment, but also the test of time. Today, the Explorer is a modern classic and is as wearable now as it was over sixty years ago.

  • 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
An early, rare and exceptionally well preserved stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet and original guarantee

Circa 1956
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$160,000 - 310,000 

Sold for HK$250,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE

Hong Kong Auction 25-26 November 2019