ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS
ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS
ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS
ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS
3 More
This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules an… Read more ROLEX THE JÜRG MARMET REF. 6298 – WORN ON THE SWISS-CANADIAN BAFFIN ISLAND EXPEDITION OF 1953 & WORN ON THE FIRST ASCENT OF LHOTSE IN MAY 1956 AND ON THE SECOND EVER ASCENT OF MOUNT EVEREST, REACHING THE SUMMIT ON 23RD MAY 1956FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF JÜRG MARMET – THE FIRST EUROPEAN ON EVEREST, NO. 3 ON THE OFFICIAL EVEREST SUMMITEERS’ LIST
ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS

SIGNED ROLEX, ‘PRE-EXPLORER’ MODEL, REF. 6298, CASE NO. 929’708, MANUFACTURED IN 1953

Details
ROLEX. A HISTORIC AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT EXPEDITION-WORN STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS
SIGNED ROLEX, ‘PRE-EXPLORER’ MODEL, REF. 6298, CASE NO. 929’708, MANUFACTURED IN 1953
Movement: Automatic
Dial: Matte silvered with luminous accents, luminous hands
Case: 36 mm. diam., engraved “Baffinland 1953 Jürg Marmet”, inside case back stamped “IV 53” and further stamped “18”, the back of the upper right-hand lug also stamped “18”
With: Signed attestation from the son of Jürg Marmet stating that Rolex serial number 929'708 was worn on the successful conquest of Mount Everest on 23 May 1956
Special notice
This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules and 7.7% VAT will be charged on the ‘hammer’ and the ‘buyer’s premium’

Brought to you by

Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Watches, Europe and Americas

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Few Rolex watches are as powerfully evocative as those that accompanied daring and courageous expeditions to some of the most inhospitable parts of the world.. The early 1950s was a period of great technological advances that allowed explorers to venture to more extreme and uncharted areas of the globe than ever before. Rolex was wisely often at the forefront of such adventures, the company benefitting enormously from the attendant publicity resulting from a Rolex watch performing well under extreme conditions. To this end, the company supplied watches to the team members of some of the great land and sea explorations of the 20th century. The present watch is one such timepiece and is particularly exciting, having been worn during not one, but two well documented and significant expeditions, including accompanying its then owner, the Swiss mountain guide, chemist and oxygen specialist Jürg Marmet on his successful ascent of Everest as part of the official “Schweizerische Mount Everest-Expedition 1956”. It is fascinating to think that Jürg Marmet, wearing this very watch, was only the third person ever to reach the summit of Everest, following Sir Edmund Hillary and Norgay Tenzing’s inaugural climb of 1953, it is therefore of incalculable historical value. Furthermore, this Rolex watch was revered and treasured by both Jürg Marmet and his family, so that it has remained in completely untouched and wonderfully unrestored condition. The dial has aged beautifully to a light golden colour, the case is excellently preserved with clearly legible reference and serial numbers.

Jürg Marmet (1927-2013) Jürg Marmet was one of those remarkable and impressive men who were fearless in the advancement of human endeavour and in his pursuit of scientific knowledge. Most notably he goes down in history as the first European to set foot on the summit of Everest and is number 3 on the official summiteers’ list, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Norgay Tenzing of course being numbers 1 and 2.

Born in Bern, Switzerland, Marmet was a scientist and chemist professionally. He qualified as a Chemical engineer in 1952 and gained his PhD in human toxicology in 1957. He held various management positions in the pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food, vitamins & fine chemicals industries and was CEO of an intercontinental research and business group. He retired 1992. Jürg Marmet became a Licensed Swiss Mountain Guide and Ski Instructor in 1949 and pioneered Swiss Air Rescue (parachutist, plane and helicopter rescue 1952-1959), he pioneered high altitude oxygen equipment for Everest (autumn 1952-1956) and was the Oxygen consultant for subsequent expeditions (1956-1962).

Jürg Marmet was involved in the following Expeditions: Baffin Island: Cumberland Peninsula (Pangnirtung), physiologist, surveyor and mountain guide. First climbed (lead) Asgard (Swiss route), the Queen, Tête Blanche, etc. (1953).

Everest: Second ascent (South East Ridge, 1956), First European on Everest, Nr 3 on official summiteers’ list, first Swiss Mountain Guide on a 8000 m peak.
Axel Heiberg: First Traverse of the Swiss Range (Foundation peak, Midnight peak etc.) and the White Crown (1960). Member AAC, AC, SAC, AMC

The Story of Rolex No. 929’708 - Baffin Island 1953, the second ascent of Mount Everest (8850 m) 23rd May 1956, first ascent of Lhotse (8501 m) May 1956.
The present reference 6298 ‘pre-explorer’ was one of those supplied by Rolex to the team for the 1953 joint Canadian and Swiss expedition to Baffin Island (Baffinland in German). This expedition, for scientific purposes, was the second such expedition and followed an earlier successful expedition in 1950. The 1953 expedition was led by Colonel P. D. Baird, and the Swiss members were: Hans Röthlisberger, Jürg Marmet, F. H. Schwarzenbach and Jean Weber. Watch number 929’708, was issued to Jürg Marmet and the back of the case is engraved “Baffinland 1953 Jürg Marmet”. The interior of the screw-down back is stamped “IV 53”, Rolex’s code for the fourth quarter of 1953.

In 1956, Jürg Marmet was one of the team chosen to take part in the third Swiss attempt to conquer Everest. Naturally, the Rolex wristwatch that had been given to him for the earlier Baffin Island expedition would accompany him on his next and most challenging endeavor. This successful 1956 ascent of Everest by the Swiss team was in fact only the second after Hillary and Tenzing’s of 1953. During those early years, special permission had to be granted from the Nepalese authorities in order to climb Everest and although the Swiss had made two earlier attempts in the Spring and Autumn of 1952, almost succeeding on the latter occasion, they did not have permission for a further attempt until 1956, by which time Hillary and Tenzing had already achieved their historic first. The Swiss expedition was a huge undertaking lasting 6 months, the ascent and descent taking 40 days alone. The support group consited of 350 sherpas carring an incredible 10 tons of equipment. Part of the route that the team chose to climb Everest that year enabled them to simultaneously conquer the world’s fourth highest mountain, Lhotse, for the first time. The Swiss Everest team consisted of 11 members but it was two of these men, Jürg Marmet, then aged 29 and Ernst Schmied, aged 32, who became the third and fourth human beings respectively to stand on the summit of Everest. This historic Rolex watch, no. 929’708 is quite remarkable, having been worn by Jürg Marmet as he stood on the ‘top of the world’.

The following text is an edited extract from the detailed account of the Schweizerische Mount Everest-Expedition 1956. The full account is available from the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research.
The second ascent of Everest, May 1956
On May 21 (1956), Camp VIa was moved over the ‘Geneva Spur’ (8020 m) to the South Col (7,986 m). The new Camp VIb was located approximately 100 metres west of the camp set up by the 1953 British expedition. Here, our climbers found many useful items, edible food rations and oxygen cylinders. On the afternoon of May 22, following light snow in the morning, the first rope team set off for the summit: Ernst Schmied and Jürg Marmet with four Sherpas.

The climbers used oxygen in their ascent. After two hours, the team reached the 8250 m point, where Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing set up their highest tent camp in May 1952. At around 8,400 metres, west of the ridge edge, they found a small depression that was suitable for a tent camp. The four Sherpas were sent back to Camp VIb while Schmied and Marmet set up Camp VII with a small two-person tent. Because of the strong winds, the tent had to be weighted down with stones and fixed using pitons. Both climbers were well equipped, with an air mattress, a double sleeping bag made of down, a joint bivouac sack made of nylon, a small stove, a summit package full of necessary provisions and five full oxygen cylinders. During the night, the heavy snow weighed the tent down so much that the climbers had to uncover it to avoid being suffocated. They had to wait until 8:30 a.m. to start their approach. The weather was still very stormy, which made the team doubt their chance of success. However, the winds gradually calmed down, and the two climbers reached the top of the South Summit (8,760 m) at about midday. A ridge of loose limestone with massive overhanging snow cornices led to the main summit. The weather had finally cleared up, revealing clear blue skies. A steep 15-metre-high stage challenged the climbers just below the summit, with a spur leading up between rock and snow. Schmied worked his way up step by step, followed closely by Marmet. At 2:00 p.m. on May 23, people stood on the highest summit on earth for the second time. Schmied attached the flags of Nepal, Switzerland and Bern to his ice pick, while Marmet’s camera recorded pictures of the unique panorama. The winds were calm, allowing them to take off their oxygen masks and stay on the peak for nearly an hour. Then they were suddenly surrounded by dense fog, forcing them to make a fast descent. At 5:00 p.m. they reached Camp VII, where they found the second team of Dölf Reist, Hansruedi von Gunten and a Sherpa busy shovelling out the snow-covered tent. The Sherpa accompanied Schmied and Marmet on their rope, and they continued down to the South Col, reaching Camp VIb shortly before 7:00 p.m. The second team of Reist and von Gunten were also successful in reaching the summit the following day.

More from Rare Watches

View All
View All