Mark the time and place: 28 November, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hong Kong. One can safely assume that the Phillips auction that day – Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History – will go down in watch lore as a sale that set new records. Of course, one says that about all Phillips sales of late, but they are only part of a perfect storm. The other element that defies nature is the near-vertical increase in vintage Rolex values, regardless of which house is doing the selling.

For this particular sale, Phillips – again working with Bacs & Russo – has collaborated with watch authorities John Goldberger, Pucci Papaleo and a team of experts to assemble a monumental selection of Rolex rarities. Here are but five of the notable highlights:

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rolex 16570 explorer ii

1.Lot 809

Reference 1665, an exceptionally rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, commissioned by the Sultan of Oman and thus bearing the “Khanjar” dial, with original bracelet, guarantee and box. Retailed by Asprey, circa 1972.

Estimate: HKD 1,600,000-3,200,000 (USD $200,000-400,000)

rolex explorer ii black face
rolex explorer ii retail price

2. Lot 816

Reference 6062, an exceptionally fine, rare and important yellow gold triple calendar wristwatch with star-set numerals, moon phases and bracelet, circa 1952.

Estimate: HKD 2,400,000-4,800,000 (USD $300,000-600,000)

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3. Lot 824

Reference 4645, non-Oyster, a highly rare, unique and exceptional yellow gold square wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting Neptune and heavy bracelet, circa 1953.

Estimate: HKD 4,000,000-8,000,000 (USD $500,000-1,000,000)

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rolex explorer ii orange hand

4.Lot 830

Reference 6036, an exception pink gold Spanish triple calendar with two-tone dial, bracelet, retailed by Serpico Y Laino, circa 1951.

Estimate: HKD 2,000,000-4,000,000 (USD $250,000-500,000)

rolex gmt explorer ii
rolex explorer ii new price

5.Lot 835

Reference 6263 “Paul Newman” Cosmograph with “Oyster Sotto” dial circa 1970.

Estimate: HKD 4,800,000-9,600,000 (USD $600,000-1,200,000)

rolex oyster explorer ii

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