Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: NINE New York Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1967
    Reference No: 1016
    Movement No: D’203’976
    Case No: 1’734’971
    Model Name: “Space-Dweller”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet reference 7836, end links stamped 258, max approximate overall length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 35.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Japan service receipts dated June 19, 2003, and August 5, 1998 detailing servicing, and Rolex plastic slip.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Horological lore tells us that after the Mercury manned-spaceflight missions in the early 1960s, those astronauts visited Japan on an international goodwill tour to immensely positive reception in 1963. Hoping to capitalize on this publicity, it’s believed that Rolex introduced the Space-Dweller shortly thereafter in limited quantities for the Japanese market. This initial run of reference 1016s with one slightly different line of text did not gain traction, however, and Rolex abandoned “Space-Dweller” as a model name going forward – perhaps there was not enough to differentiate the “Space-Dweller” from the regular Explorer.

    Consequently, very few Space-Dweller examples have appeared publicly. The present reference 1016 “Space-Dweller” comes with two Rolex service receipts from Rolex Japan, adding a much desired level of credibility to this example. It is exquisitely well-preserved, with a glossy black dial in perfect condition, with vibrant gilt graphics and pale golden luminous material. Though Rolex is not known for limited-edition watches, these uncommonly rare and abandoned, limited-production runs have always been a source of excitement for scholars and collectors alike.

  • 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 extremely rare, unusual, and appealing stainless steel wristwatch with glossy black dial and bracelet, designated “Space-Dweller”

Circa 1967
35.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

$50,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $190,500

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Deputy Chairman and Head of Watches, Americas
+1 (212) 940-1293
Isabella Proia
Head of Sale, New York
+1 (212) 940 1285

The New York Watch Auction: NINE

New York Auction 9 - 10 December 2023