Rolex Explorer Ref. 6610

The Cloister Explorer was wrought from what is perhaps the most rare and desirable Rolex Explorer ever made: the Ref. 6610. The Rolex Explorer Ref. 6610 was the predecessor to the remarkable Ref. 1016, but it is believed that for every twenty Explorer Ref. 1016s produced, the marque only produced one Ref. 6610.

The early Explorer also bears the distinction of being the only Rolex from that era produced in the 36mm full men’s size without a date function, making the watch especially elegant.

This project began with a nine-month search for the perfect Ref. 6610 with which to begin. After the watch was located—in Philadelphia—and purchased, the Explorer underwent a full mechanical restoration and overhaul.

The disassembled case was sent to a renowned craftsman in North Carolina who applied a matte black coating using the physical vapor deposition (PVD) process. Simultaneously, the dial was sent to Bavaria where a simple but bold scheme was executed. The primary color used on the dial was a matte black matched to the finish of the case. The accents were done in “fire engine” red, with the original design and text of the dial faithfully reapplied. Finally, the luminous hands were also refinished in a fire engine red scheme.

Once the dial and case returned to New York, the watch was reassembled, and accented with a bespoke strap from ABP Paris intended to complement the new design scheme of the watch. The band was rendered in matte black crocodile with red stitching color matched to the text and accents. A new old stock Rolex tang buckle was also given a PVD coating, and was fitted to the new strap.