1953 Rolex Explorer Honeycomb Gilt Dial Model 6350 Lollipop Seconds

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SOLD on consignment from original owner at auction by Phillips of New York, Racing Pulse, Dec. 12 2020 for $126000 USD. 

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An incredible find direct from the original owner, this stunning 1953 Rolex Explorer model 6350 features its original black honeycomb textured dial with gilt printing, incredible original hands including the mini-lollipop seconds, sharp original finish case and crisp, tight original bracelet, all in completely as found condition.  The owner of this watch was a diving pioneer on the west coast of Canada, purchasing his first Aqua Lung diving kit from a magazine add in 1952 at the age of 21 and received the watch as a gift from his girlfriend in early 1956 while traveling in Europe.  It was only ever used occasionally for skin diving between 1958 and 1965 including to time annual octopus wrestling competitions him and his brother entered in Tacoma, WA.  It has been on world travels including to atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  His full account of the watches history will be included with the sale to the new owner, and if you would like to meet him, he has many wonderful stories to tell.  Since the late 1960's he has only used it for special occasions hence the incredible condition throughout.  This watch is in completely "as found" condition since I received it, as the owner believes it has never been opened, I have left it as such.  The crystal is unpolished, bracelet and case have not even been cleaned and the case back has not been removed. It is accompanied by the original box it was purchased with from the retailer R. Erbe in Basel, Switzerland.

Style: Sport, Tool Watch

Circa: 1953

Case: Sharp solid stainless steel case with original finish brush tops, crisp edges and polished sides with very light wear throughout consistent with minimal and gentle wear.  Measures 36mm in diameter excluding the original crown.  Stamped between the lugs at 12:00, Brevet + 6350, then between the lugs at 6:00 with a serial number in the 95XXXX range dating it to 1953, the year the Explorer line was launched to celebrate the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay.  The back is also absolutely sharp and has never been opened although if the eventual buyer of this timepiece would like to see the inside I am more then happy to break the seal. 

Dial: Original factory printed deep black gloss dial with honeycomb or waffle texture, gilt printing and gorgeous cream luminous in mint condition.  Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, Explorer, Officially Certified Chronometer, Swiss.

Hands: Gorgeous original hands in a very rare combination of mercedes hour, syringe minute and mini-lollipop seconds in superb condition with all original luminous and light surface patina on the gold finish.  From my research it seems the mini-lollipop seconds hand was typically paired with pencil style hour and minute hands, while the mercedes style hour hand with syringe style minute hand was typically paired with the large lollipop seconds hand similar to the Submariner models of the day.  This example obviously has a VERY rare set, with a combination of the two.  Possibly the only example known with this hand set.  

Movement: I have not opened the case so have no pictures or specifications of the movement within, but it is ticking away nicely and remarkably, keeps relatively good time after all these years of storage.  It should be a Rolex in-house automatic movement calibre A296 with 18 Jewels drawing from other model 6350 examples I have found.  I have taken the unusual step of not opening the watch to preserved the "as found" nature of this special timepiece, but of course if the buyer wishes the watch to be opened and perhaps even a service performed I am happy to do so included in the sale price.

Bracelet: Original solid stainless steel bracelet with spring loaded riveted links, model 58 in incredible sharp and tight condition with very light surface wear and zero stretch.  The clasp is all correctly stamped Steel Inox, Rolex, Swiss Made with the date stamp 4th quarter of 1955.  It seems this watch was not sold for at least a couple of years since it was produced in 1953.  It would be interesting to understand more of that side of its story.