Rolex 1016 Explorer wristwatch with all original packagingWhat sort of packaging, paperwork, and other materials came with the purchase of a new 1960 Rolex reference 1016 Explorer?

As the only real-world wristwatch ever chosen by Ian Fleming for his fictional James Bond character (and the only Rolex that’s been confirmed as his own, personally worn by him), this is the next logical question of serious collectors and diehard 007 fans.

One answer comes from Christie’s, which, according to its website, auctioned just such a configuration on May 12, 2008. As I noted last year in articles describing my discovery of the literary James Bond watch, Ian Fleming’s Explorer I is (most likely) serial number 596851 and was manufactured in the fourth-quarter of 1960. Thus, this Christie’s watch is somewhere between mere hours and not more than a day or so older that the Fleming-Bond Rolex.

Lot Description

Rolex. A fine and rare stainless steel self-winding water-resistant wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, bracelet, original Guarantee, Bulletin de Marche, tags, seal and original box. Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, Explorer, ref. 1016, case no. 596475, manufactured in 1960. Cal. 1560 nickel-finished lever movement, 25 jewels, the black lacquered dial with luminous baton and Arabic numerals, luminous mercedes hands, sweep centre seconds, in tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case with screw back and screw down crown, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and clasp stamped 4.60, case, dial and movement signed 36 mm. diam.

The lead photo here on, courtesy of Christie’s, shows many of the accompanying pieces further described for this Lot number 12, Sale 1353.

Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee dated 27 February 1962 made out by Geneva Watch Co., Kowloon, Hong Kong, Bureaux Suisse de Contrôle Officiel de la Marche des Chronomètres Watch Rate Certificate No. 14538 dated 29 November 1961, two original tags, original seal, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer card and original fitted presentation box. The watch was purchased by the uncle of the present owner in Hong Kong in 1962. He was serving as Sergeant Mayor in the British Army, stationed in Hong Kong, and bought the watch as a farewell gift to himself.

Although pre-auction estimates anticipated a selling price of between $4,779.00 and $7,647.00, the actual price realized was $21,516.00 (including buyer’s premium).