An extremely rare and elegant yellow gold wristwatch with red center seconds and enamel sector dial

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1936
    Reference No: 3900
    Movement No: 10'927
    Case No: 37'794
    Model Name: Oyster Chronometre Scientific
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Gilt pin buckle
    Dimensions: 30.5mm Width
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present piece features a number of highly unusual traits which will enthral the collectors of vintage timepieces. Most apparently, the dial is not metal but enamel, a highly unusual feature for a Rolex wristwatch; only a handful of enamel dials are in fact known from the Crown House.

    Furthermore, the graphical configuration of the dial is also highly attractive as it features a sectorial arrangement which is in fact typical of the late 1930s and would swiftly disappear with the dawn of the following decade. The present dial features - moving from the center of the dial toward the edge - even Arabic numerals to the center, then a scale with baton hour divisions, another scale with baton minute divisions, and finally a railway scale with fifth of a second combined with Arabic five minutes divisions, a configuration typical of this era and usually employed on chronograph timepieces.

    The presence of this scale, coupled with the red center seconds hand, indicate a professional intended usage of the piece, as highlighted by the “Scientific” designation on the dial.

    Finally, the caseback also offers an intriguing detail as it bears the R.W.C. (Rolex Watch Company) stamp but also the extended signature “Oyster Watch Company”, one of the entities which was part of the Rolex galaxy before the company grouped together its assets under the Rolex name. It was active during the 1920s-1940s and specialised in more affordable timepieces - akin to Tudor today.

    The present piece is very unusual as OWC timepieces usually feature gold plated or steel cases, given their lower price point. The present timepiece, however, features a solid 18K gold case.

  • Maker Bio

    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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Rolex

Ref. 3900
An extremely rare and elegant yellow gold wristwatch with red center seconds and enamel sector dial

Circa 1936
30.5mm Width
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF10,000 - 20,000 
€9,300-18,700
$10,600-21,300

sold for CHF17,500

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020