Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN Geneva Saturday, May 12, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1996
    Reference No: 16238 caseback stamped 16200
    Movement No: 7'478'668
    Case No: T'103'721
    Model Name: DateJust
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3135, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Jubilee bracelet reference 8386, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K concealed Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by original Rolex box

  • Catalogue Essay

    Useful, elegant, and timeless, the Rolex Datejust has endured since 1945 in an impressive array of case materials, sizes, bezel configurations and dial types. Most iconic though, is the Datejust with Jubilee bracelet and fluted bezel. The present lot, however, takes this enduring design and steps it up, with the case and bracelet made of yellow gold and the dial made of lapis lazuli. The use of semi-precious stones as watch dials is not exclusive to Rolex; however, it is Rolex that has mastered the application of such a delicate hard-stone as a watch dial.

    Lapis lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its vibrant and rich color. In powdered form, it is known as ultramarine, a particularly intense and expensive paint pigment often used by Renaissance painters used for the color of the robes of the Virgin Mary. The manufacturing process consists of milling this stone to a thickness of less than 1mm to create a dial, which of course must be free of any serious inclusions or natural flaws. The process being so complex and the rejection rate so high that it is believed that about only 20% of the dials fabricated made it into a production piece. The present lot is an incredibly fine example of a Datejust with lapis lazuli dial, its case in spectacular original condition and a beautiful dial free of any cracks or flaws.

  • 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. 16238 caseback stamped 16200
A fine and very rare yellow gold wristwatch with sweep center seconds, date and lapis lazuli dial

Circa 1996
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for CHF21,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018