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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1950
    Reference No: 8171
    Movement No: 56'827
    Case No: 686'311 and 354
    Model Name: "Padellone"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 10 1/2''', 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather and stainless steel expandable Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped WAB
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding clasp
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: A similar example is published in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pages 76 & 77.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Proudly displaying a generous 38 millimeter case, reference 8171 is known in the collecting community as the "Padellone", or large frying pan due to its large case size - an incredibly unusual design for the 1950s. It is slightly larger than its waterproof Oyster sibling, reference 6062. Most interestingly, both models were produced for a very short period in the early 1950s. It is a mere fantasy for many collectors to acquire even one of these watches in complete and original condition. Its rarity, coupled with design purity, has garnered reference 8171 a cult-like following.

    The present watch delights in so many ways. At first glance, one cannot help but admire the sharp facets of the case. The Rolex coronet and case number is sharp and crisp on the case back. Most striking is the reference number between the lugs at 12 o'clock, and case number at 6 o'clock. Scholarship shows that case numbers were always printed on the outside case back. The sharp, decisive and period correct font could have only be an original Rolex factory job, and adds another element of intrigue. In fact, the present watch is, to our knowledge, the only known watch to feature such an interesting detail.

    Equally compelling is the two-tone grené dial, which has been preserved in both excellent and original condition. The dial is most notably fitted with silver numerals in relief. The aging process has enhanced the dial's two-tone nature, with the outer ring slightly darker in tone than the rest of the dial, which has turned an ivory tone with time.

    Fitted with a riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, this watch is "as good and original as it gets" in the Rolex collecting community today.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Δ175

Ref. 8171
A highly interesting and attractive stainless steel triple calendar wristwatch with moonphases, two-tone grené dial and bracelet

Circa 1950
38mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF150,000 - 300,000 
€139,000-278,000
$149,000-297,000

Sold for CHF212,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017