Rolex - Game Changers New York Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1963
    Reference No: 1016
    Movement No: D90454
    Case No: 901’202, interior stamped II.63
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1560, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, and movement signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Explorer wristwatch was launched following the famed ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay as a celebration of this historic event and a testament to Rolex’s durability even in the harshest environments. Both gentlemen wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch to the top of Everest, reaching the summit on May 29, 1953, and while similar to the now iconic Explorer, their timepieces did not feature a black dial and the famed 3-6-9 dial. Rolex released the reference 6510 in 1953 with black lacquer dial and luminous 3-6-9 Arabic numerals, however the model read “Precision”. The first model with the Explorer designation was the rare reference 6350 with honey comb dial and marked “Officially Certified Chronometer” testifying to stricter timing requirements. Similar to other iconic timepieces from Rolex, the model evolved with time and in 1963, the reference 1016 was launched and is today the vintage model most closely associated with the Explorer name amongst Rolex collectors.

    The present early ref. 1016 dates to 1963. The original and lovely galvanic black lacquer dial with gilt printing is unrestored and retaining its original glossy surface as it left the factory over five decades ago. The dial features a rare “exclamation mark” at 6 o’clock, with a small dot below the luminous baton hour marker, to signify to that tritium was used as opposed to radium. Early Explorers used the caliber 1560 like the present watch, however in the 1970s this was upgraded to the caliber 1570, which featured a hacking mechanism. Rare variants of any Rolex model always draw attention when they come to market, and this Explorer is no exception. A famed tool watch with a long and prestigious lineage, it is a watch sure to please collectors of vintage Rolex sports watches.

  • 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
An early and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black lacquer “exclamation” dial

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, and movement signed.

$8,000 - 16,000 

Sold for $27,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293

Game Changers

New York Auction 10 December 2019