News & Insights

Rare vintage Rolex ‘Explorer’ sells for £31,000 at auction

23rd July 2018.

Vintage and luxury watches performed exceptionally well in Tennants Auctioneers Summer Fine Art Sale on 21st July, with a large number of bidders joining the sale around the world, eager to snap up one of a strong selection of lots. Most sought after were good vintage examples, in original condition with a good patina, and one such example was the top lot of the sale.

Generating competing bidding from nine telephone lines as well as bidders in the room and online, was a rare and early ‘Explorer’ stainless steel wristwatch by Rolex from 1953. Selling for £31,000 plus b.p., the 6150 reference is one of the rarest and earliest of Rolex’s Explorer watches. Indeed, some collectors refer to the reference as a ‘pre-Explorer’ since it was only manufactured for one year. The model was introduced and marketed for adventurers, particularly mountaineers, and it was launched to celebrate Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay’s ascension of Everest in 1953.

Other highlights of the watch section included a 1966 Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’ watch - a rare second generation Seamaster, which had been in the same family since new - (Sold for £6,500 plus b.p), a 1954 Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch (Sold for £4,000 plus b.p), a modern Classic Fusion Hublot watch (Sold for £2,800 plus b.p) and a gold and diamond Audemars Piguet ladies watch from 1980 (Sold for £3,400 plus b.p).

Jewellery saw strong bidding too with top prices going to period pieces, with a definite trend for diamonds and emeralds being seen. The top lots of the section went to a period diamond three stone ring (Sold for £12,000 plus b.p) and a diamond bangle set with old cut diamonds (Sold for £12,000 plus b.p). Also selling very strongly were an Art Deco diamond cluster ring (Sold for £5,000 plus b.p), an Art Deco Diamond and Emerald Ring (Sold for £2,400 plus b.p) and a Belle Epoque diamond and enamel pendant with interchangeable plaques (Sold for £3,200 plus b.p).

Bidders were drawn, too, to dramatic, textured pieces of 20th century jewellery, with a pair of 1970s two-coloured textured gold drop earrings by Charles de Temple selling for £3,500 against an estimate of £600-800. Also proving popular was a textured circular gold plaque pendant by Jaqueline Stieger, which sold for £1,050 plus b.p.

The sale resulted in a total hammer price of £1,083,140 for the 807 lot sale, with an 86% sold rate.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the Autumn Fine Art Sale on 17th November 2018, please contact the Salerooms on 01969 623780 or for details.


Illustrated: A Rare and Early ‘Explorer’ Wristwatch by Rolex – Sold for £31,000
A Diamond Bangle – Sold for £12,000

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