Auction item: gentleman’s Rolex Oyster Explorer wristwatch

September 2020

This gentleman’s Rolex Oyster Explorer wristwatch, with its original but incomplete bracelet, dates from 1968.

This watch was part of a probate valuation undertaken by Drummond Read and sold by Chorleys Auctioneers in Gloucestershire, watches from other clients were also included in this particular sale.

The receipt and guarantee that survived with the watch show that it was purchased from the jewellers Bravingtons Ltd of King’s Cross, London, on 27th August 1968. This kind of documentation is always valuable when selling at auction; it provides buyers with proofs of authenticity and of the direct provenance from the original owner.

The Rolex Oyster Explorer model was a robustly engineered wristwatch, designed to meet the most challenging of conditions. In 1926 Rolex introduced their first waterproof and dustproof model, the ‘Oyster’, whose hermetically sealed case provided optimal protection. The ‘Explorer’ model, released in 1953, was developed as a professional tool, and it could hardly have garnered a more prestigious endorsement when it equipped the 1953 expedition to Mount Everest, in which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first successful ascent to the summit. As a 1954 magazine advertisement confidently proclaimed, “From the top of the world to the bottom of the sea, Rolex proves dependable!”


The image shows Watch No. 1359680 Model No. 1022/6635. This watch was part of a probate valuation undertaken by Drummond Read Associates and sold by Chorley’s Auctioneers. Valued for between £3000-£5000, it sold for £8,000. Image courtesy of Chorley’s Auctioneers.