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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: circa 1953
    Reference No: 8382
    Movement No: 82'425
    Model Name: "Neptune"
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. E80'568, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Alligator
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: The present watch is illustrated in Collezionare Orologi Da Polso by Madeleine and Osvaldo Patrizzi page 112, a reference 6301 with cloisonné enamel dial featuring Neptune is illustrated and described in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pages 46-47.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex models with cloisonné enamel dials are rare and few.

    The fact that only one reference 8382 with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting Neptune is known, makes the present lot a trophy watch for the most discerning collector.


    This stunning cloisonné enamel dial features Neptune riding the sea, proudly grasping his trident and pulled by sea horses. Rendered in polychrome cloisonné enamel, the shimmering, yet translucent blues and greens of the water blend seamlessly together, contrasting against the vibrant deity. Each detail is exceptionally captivating, and the yellow gold indexes draw attention to this masterpiece, urging the viewer to marvel at each detail.

    God of the Seas, Neptune is one of the major deities in Roman mythology (called Poseidon by the Greeks) using his trident both for destruction by provoking earthquakes an tempest at sea and for protection of sailors by guiding them to safety or filling their nets with fish.

    Only three Rolex models are known with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting Neptune: the present watch, an Oyster case reference 6301 in a major European private collection and illustrated in John Golberger's 100 Superlative Rolex Watches and finally, a square reference 4645. The latter was sold at the Phillips Rolex Milestones auction in Hong Kong on November 28 2016 for slightly over US$ 750,000. A sum paying tribute to its rarity and desirability.

    As often for their most precious enamel dials, Rolex turned to Stern Frères to breath life into these miniature artworks. The back of the dial is correctly stamped with Stern Frères numbers. The first three numbers, 103, denote Stern’s client code for Rolex. The star represents Stern Frères, and the following numbers 744 represent the order number, which is confirmed in the Stern archives as being commissioned for a ‘Neptune’ theme and created by famous enamel artist Mrs. Nelly Richard. Furthermore the back of the dial is handscratched with the word “Neptune”.

    Fabricating such a polychrome, cloisonné enamel dial is amongst the most painstakingly difficult and labor intensive processes in watchmaking. The artist first marks out the outline of the motifs using a fine gold wire to separate the various enamel regions. Multiple enamel layers are applied depending on the desired colors, followed by numerous successive firing operations in a kiln serving to intensify the color and light effects as well as the gradation of the enamel. A dangerous process as at each firing the dial can break or the enamel may react differently to the heat, resulting in high rejection rates.

    The present lot in superb condition will also surprise with its large 37mm diameter.

    The ultimate rarity and beauty of this timepiece can be considered a grail for the discerning collector.

  • 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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Σ201

Ref. 8382
An extremely rare and attractive yellow gold wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting Neptune

circa 1953
37mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF300,000 - 600,000 
€278,000-556,000
$297,000-595,000

Sold for CHF394,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017