Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE Geneva Saturday, May 11, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1655, inside case back stamped "1655" and "II.72"
    Movement No: D'089'717
    Case No: 3'251'044
    Model Name: "Freccione"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "580" and "78360" to the end links, max length 195mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "T4" and "78360"
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Attestation stamped by Baltimore retailer A.H. Fetting co. and dated April 25, 1978

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the most recognizable Rolex models, ref. 1655 was launched in 1971 and remained in production until 1985. It was an eminently professional timepiece, created to suit the needs of speleologists: the abundance of luminous details is ideal for the very low light condition of a cave, and the bright orange 24-hour hand was added to help explorers keep track of the day/night cycle when spending extended amount of time in a sunless environment.

    The dial of the model undergoes a subtle evolution, with 5 versions (marks) recognized for standard production, and two additional service dial variations known (one with tritium, the other currently in production with luminova). The present iteration is a Mark II dial, easily recognizable by the “frog’s foot” crown - identified by its unusual and uneven design, somewhat similar to the footprint of an amphibian’s paw - and the short, serif-less design of the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” designation. Such dials can be found on serial numbers between 2.5M and 5.5M, thus perfectly fitting the present 3.25M case number

    The bezel as well presents an evolution, with 4 production versions and one service version. The present specimen mounts a Mark III bezel, also absolutely fitting for the serial number and furthermore fully matching the overall excellent condition of the case.

    Offered complete of its original Guarantee dated 1978 (thus denoting that the present model made in 1972 took 6 years to find an owner, a very common situation for models dedicated to a restricted group of professionals such as speleologists) the present piece impresses with the astounding condition of both case and dial which classify it without the doubt as one of the most attractive examples to grace an auction room in recent times.

  • 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. 1655, inside case back stamped "1655" and "II.72"
A fine and extremely well preserved stainless steel automatic wristwatch with 24-hour indication, date, bracelet and guarantee

Circa 1972
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF12,000 - 24,000 

Sold for CHF32,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019