Rolex - Racing Pulse New York Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1953
    Reference No: 6350; inside caseback stamped 6350 IV.53 18
    Movement No: 46’698; H 840
    Case No: 955’837
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel expandable Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 58, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped 4.55
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet, and clasp signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by original Rolex box and signed provenance letter.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary successfully summited Mount Everest and it was no coincidence that in the same year, Rolex released the reference 6350 with “Explorer” on the dial – the first of its kind. It was the first of the great sports watches from Rolex – the others being the GMT Master, the Daytona, and the Submariner – to be released to the public. It is distinguished by the “3-6-9” dial layout that is a mainstay of the model to this day, and was implemented for its legibility.

    Certain early reference 6350s were fitted with a “waffle” or “honeycomb” dial, such as the present example, as opposed to a smooth glossy dial, and this trait is highly sought after by collectors. Upon close inspection, the dial is made of diamond-shaped tessellations that are textured in appearance, rather than the hexagonal comb created by honeybees. Matched with a gilt chapter ring and printing, it is a striking and coveted combination rarely found in the oeuvre of vintage Rolex dials.

    This particular reference 6350 is truly breathtaking. It was consigned by the original owner, who received this watch from his future wife as a gift while she was on holiday in Switzerland in the mid-1950s. He was, along with his brother, the first scuba diver in Victoria, British Columbia. This 6350 was his companion during many dives over his career and was utilized specifically in timing spear fishing and octopus wrestling competitions. It also enjoyed a storied career on land as the owner went on safari, cycled all over the world, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Despite its rough-and-tumble life, the watch remains in exceptional condition, with a razor-sharp case and beautifully preserved dial. Accompanied with a touching letter from the original owner, the present example is amongst the finest examples of a reference 6350 ever to come to market.

    Consigned by the Original Owner

  • 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. 6350; inside caseback stamped 6350 IV.53 18
An exceptionally well-preserved, early, and extremely rare stainless steel wristwatch with gilt honeycomb dial, and bracelet, with box, and signed provenance letter

Circa 1953
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet, and clasp signed.

$50,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $126,000

Contact Specialist

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

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020