Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1946
    Reference No: 4537
    Case No: 470'704
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 23, 13''', 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckled signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1946, reference 4537 was manufactured for a very short time only, and is one of the rarest Oyster chronograph watches produced by Rolex. The model was the very first Rolex chronograph watch to feature three subsidiary dials in a tonneau-shaped Oyster case, which would later set the design codes for the Cosmograph Daytona. Its design was a clear departure from its predecessor, reference 4048, which displayed a rounder "Calatrava-style" case.

    The present watch impresses with its spectacular dial, most notably featuring a pulsations scale. The beautiful sky blue graphics contrast nicely against the silver tones. Dials during this period usually displayed a combination of tachometer and telemeter scales. To find an example fitted with a "pulsations dial" is very rare indeed.

    The dial is furthermore preserved in extremely well and near-pristine condition, which is particularly fascinating, considering the watch is over 70 years of age. The luminous on the hands display a light yellow tone, giving the watch a "vintage" appearance so beloved by collectors and scholars. Brushed golden numerals provide another element of contrast, illustrating Rolex's creativity and prowess in design.

    Equally impressive is the case, having retained its brushed finishes and sharp edges. Even the Rolex Oyster crown remains original, a detail sure to delight the "purist" scholar.

    Most interestingly, the movement is stamped "Fab Suisse" in addition to the "Swiss Made" designation, which scholars identify as a importation mark for export. This seemingly minor detail is quite important, since the graphics on the dial (ie Chronographe and Antimagnetique) are French, thus further providing another sign of legitimacy.

    Reference 4537 was cased in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel. Research suggests that Rolex produced no more than 100 watches of this reference, in both stainless steel and various gold colors. To find one in such condition is nothing short of extraordinary.

  • Artist Biography


    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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Ref. 4537
A fine, rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with pulsations scale

36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckled signed

CHF40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for CHF62,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017