Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN New York Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1966
    Reference No: 1016
    Case No: 1’380’916
    Model Name: Explorer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet stamped 7206m endlinks stamped 58, max overall length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 4.66
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee dated December 12, 1966, and stamped Artland Watch Co. LTD, Hong Kong, Bureaux Suisses de Contrôle de la Marche des Cronometers certificate dated July 6, 1966, and green Rolex envelope.

  • 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 Rolex Explorer belongs to one of the last examples fitted with a “glossy” lacquer dial bearing a 1.3 million serial from circa 1966. Immediately drawing one’s attention is the beautifully aged “tropical” brown patina that has developed over the years from its original jet-black dial, remaining well-preserved with its luminous hour markers and hands aging to a pleasing yellowish hue. The watch is further fitted with its original riveted Oyster bracelet stamped fourth quarter of 1966.

    Fresh-to-market, well-preserved, and accompanied by its original dated guarantee and chronometer certificate, the present Explorer is without a doubt a premium example of one of the most iconic professional tool watches from the 20th century.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 1016
An early and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with “tropical” black lacquer dial, with original guarantee and chronometer certificate

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

$15,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $22,680

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

New York Auction 10 - 11 December 2022