Check Out This Rare Vintage Rolex Explorer Ref. 6350

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Rolex Explorer Ref. 6350 (photo: Phillips)
At the Rolex Milestones auction in Hong Kong last month, a very rare Rolex Explorer (Reference # 6350) exceeded expectations by selling for approximately $46,600 US. This may seem like a lot for an uncomplicated stainless steel watch on a worn leather strap, but this beloved Rolex professional watch has a special place in the hearts of the watchmaker's loyal admirers.

The stainless steel case of this 6350 Explorer measures 36 millimeters in diameter and is equipped with an automatic A296 movement. Introduced around 1953, the watchmaker tied the legacy of the Explorer with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's summit of Mount Everest that same year. Rolex had provided them with Oyster watches before their trip and still include the historic climb in their marketing materials for Explorer models.

What is unique about the 6350 reference in particular is the "Officially Certified Chronometer" above 6 o'clock. The characteristic 3-6-9 hour markers and hands are filled with the original radium luminescence that draw a clear contrast with the black honeycomb dial. This particular piece retains the original Brevet crown and sharp edges that have not been worn down by polishing.

The original intention for the Explorer model was to create an extremely legible watch, something the watchmaker achieved. While other model configurations can suffer from a congested dial and lack of luminescence and symmetry, the Explorer stands along as a simple and uncomplicated cult classic for Rolex. Even vintage models like this one look remarkable similar to the current configuration, save the size and leather strap.

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