1957 Rolex Explorer Ref. 6610 'original Gilt early tritium service dial'


Reference: 6610

Serial: 268367

Year: 1957

Case: All Stainless Steel

Dimensions: 36mm excluding original crown

Function: Sports watch

Caliber: Rolex cal. 1030 Automatic

Strap: 20mm original Rolex stainless steel riveted extensible bracelet 7206 with 58 endlinks and date stamped 3/67

Box/Papers: No/No

The Rolex Explorer is the brand’s most understated sports watch, often flying under the radar. However, with its rich history and very wearable look, the Explorer is a Rolex watch that shouldn’t be overlooked and it’s getting much appreciation by the watch community. The Explorer’s official story famously takes shape with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s pioneering ascent to Mount Everest in 1953.


The Explorer began to truly differentiate itself from the Oyster Perpetual line in 1957 with the introduction of Reference 6610. It had all the classic hallmarks of an Explorer: stainless steel oyster case measuring 36mm, black dial (gilt dial in this case, now highly desirable), 3-6-9 numerals, a reverse triangle at 12 o’clock, and a Mercedes hour hand. An especially rare variant of the 6610 is a “red depth indication” model, which has the water resistance (50m) printed in red under the Explorer moniker on the dial. You’ll also find some variants with the water rating printed in white. Ref. 6610 used a new caliber 1030 movement, which allowed the Explorer to shed the bubble back it’d been sporting up until this point. Because the 6610 had such a short production run, it’s a relatively rare find.


This particular example here remains in great condition, featuring an original, untouched and breathtaking glossy gilt early 6610 tritium service dial that changes tones when the Sun hits it. Note this is not a gilt 1016 dial modified to fit on the 6610 as many times seen, it’s the original Rolex 6610 service dial introduced in the early 60s when radium got prohibited. The tritium lume remains golden and evenly matching both in dial and hands.


The 36mm case remains in good shape although it has been previously polished.


The cal. 1030 has been fully serviced by our watchmaker and it is ready for someone to grab it and enjoy a unique example of a reference that’s only gaining in popularity amongst vintage watch collectors.


It is suited on a 20mm Rolex stainless steel riveted extensible bracelet 7206 with 58 endlinks and date stamped 3/67.