A fine and very rare white gold tonneau-shaped electronic wristwatch with center seconds, date and bracelet

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1970
    Reference No: 5100
    Movement No: 00'006'742
    Case No: 192
    Model Name: "Beta 21"
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Quartz Beta 21
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K white gold Rolex bracelet, max length 175mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Beta 21 movement was first created in 1969 and made its debut during Basel later that year. As the highest quality quartz movement to be offered on the market, it was accurate to 5 seconds per month. Due to the movement's large and bulky size, watchmakers soon developed their own in house movements.

    The reference 5100 is a landmark model for a number of reasons. Launched in 1970, it was Rolex's first reference fitted with a quartz movement. Rolex first produced 1000 units to test the ‘Beta 21’, and all examples were sold out before the watch even hit the market. The 'Beta 21' was also Rolex's first reference to feature a sapphire crystal and quick set date function – two key innovations and components that are used in Rolex's current line of production.

    Cased in white gold, the present watch is exceedingly rarer compared to its siblings cased in yellow gold. To date, no more than a few handful of white gold examples have ever graced the auction market. This timepiece is furthermore preserved in excellent condition, with a crisp engraving on the case back.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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10

Rolex

Ref. 5100
A fine and very rare white gold tonneau-shaped electronic wristwatch with center seconds, date and bracelet

Circa 1970
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€13,400-22,300
$15,100-25,200

Place Advance Bid

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019