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Rolex. A very rare stainless steel quartz wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet, original certificate, tag, documentation and box
Rolex. A very rare stainless steel quartz wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet, original certificate, tag, documentation and box
Rolex. A very rare stainless steel quartz wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet, original certificate, tag, documentation and box
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ROLEXOysterquartz Operation Everest Comex 1997The Property of the Original Owner
Rolex. A very rare stainless steel quartz wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet, original certificate, tag, documentation and box

SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTERQUARTZ, DATEJUST, REF. 17000, CASE NO. W122409, CIRCA 1997

Details
Rolex. A very rare stainless steel quartz wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet, original certificate, tag, documentation and box
Signed Rolex, Oysterquartz, Datejust, Ref. 17000, case no. W122409, circa 1997
Movement: cal. 5035, quartz, 11 jewels, signed
Dial: signed
Case: screw back engraved EVEREST 8848m COMEX 1997, 36 mm. diam., signed
With: stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, overall length of approx. 175 mm., punched Oysterquartz Attestation de Chronomètre Officiel, sales tag, 1997/1998 calendar, product literature, International Service Guarantee dated February 2003, service invoice dated 28 February 2003, original fitted presentation box and outer packaging. Furthermore with written information from its original owner regarding his participation at the “Everest Comex” scientific experiment in 1997, photocopies of the relevant attestation, the invitations to the press conferences, a “Le Monde” article of 2 April 1997 detailing the experiment and an article covering “The Rolex Oysterquartz of Reinhold Messner”

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Sabine Kegel
Sabine Kegel

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Lot Essay

Rolex and Comex are without a doubt among the most legendary “couples” in watchmaking. It is on Comex's request and with Comex’s help that one of the most iconic diver’s watch models ever, the SeaDweller, was born in the early 1970s. The link between the two companies however continued well beyond those first days, always with the goal of pushing the boundaries of research further.

The present timepiece exemplifies this continued effort to achieve new heights in scientific research and in what is considered humanly possible. In fact, it is a relic and first-hand witness to the “Operation Everest” experiment, led by Comex in 1997. For two months, from 10 March to 6 May 1997, eight male volunteer aged 23 to 37 – including the consignor of this timepiece, a passionate alpinist and at the time medical student – were selected to participate in a simulated ascent to 8848m in a hypobaric chamber. Prior to the trial, Rolex watches were presented to the participants by Comex patron Henri Delauze, and remained on their wrists for the whole time.

The group experienced different altitudes during several weeks, the last week was spent between 7000 and 8848 meters (tip of Mount Everest). At the same time, a range of physical tests and analysis were performed to evaluate the adaptivity of the human body to such high altitudes, especially to the extended lack of oxygen.The experiment was extremely taking on the participants, so much that, after reaching 7000m., several volunteers had to give up due to hypoxia and similar issues.

After having successfully achieved the experiment, the owner of the present watch, a passionate climber and emergency doctor, kept his Oysterquartz on his wrist throughout the following years, using it during rescue missions in the Pyrenees and climbs to the top of many Andean summits.

Ref. 17000
The Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17000 fitted with the certified chronometer calibre 5035 was launched in 1977 with the aim to satisfy the demand for quartz watches at the time. Its design matched the fashion of the period, watches with integrated bracelets such as the Nautilus and the Royal Oak, while being entirely different from any other of the firm’s models.

Ref. 17000 and its robust construction made it the perfect “tool” watch, used by Rolex in various advertisements with Reinhold Messmer. In May 1978, the famous mountaineer climbed the summit of Mount Everest, the first human ever without the use of supplemental oxygen, on his wrist a Rolex Oysterquartz ref. 17000 which defied the daunting conditions and worked flawlessly at over 8'000 meters and in icy cold.

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