Edmund Hillary’s watch up for auction

By AAP with AG Staff 4 November 2010
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A Rolex watch that Sir Edmund Hillary wore on an expedition to the South Pole is up for auction.

A ROLEX WATCH GIVEN to Sir Edmund Hillary after his descent from Mt Everest in 1953 is going up for auction.

The Oyster Perpetual watch was presented to the explorer by Calcutta-based Rolex retailer Bosecks. Edmund wore the watch on his 1955-58 Antarctic expedition, the first overland crossing of Antarctica and the first expedition to reach the South Pole since Robert Scott in 1912. The timepiece, which is inscribed To Sir E. Hillary from Bosecks Calcutta, is slightly damaged, but worth nearly $NZ25,000 ($A19,364).

The Oyster Perpetual, a predecessor to the Hillary-inspired Explorer series, is one of a collection of the mountaineer’s watches going under the hammer in Geneva later this month, London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Edmund was 33 when he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the
first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. He promoted Rolex watches until his death in 2008. Another of the watches, a Rolex Explorer I, was acquired by Hillary on the 20th anniversary of his failed 1972 attempt to climb Cho Oyu. An Explorer II, also worth nearly $NZ25,000, was purchased to mark the 20th anniversary of his Everest ascent.

Fine living website Luxlist.com, which lists all the watches for sale, said they had been “consigned for sale by Lady Hillary”.