Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1937
    Reference No: 2508
    Case No: 44'957
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: The present watch is featured in the 100 Superlative Rolex by John Golberger App

  • Exhibited

    The present watch is prominently displayed in the app "Vintage Rolex" by John Goldberger.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Introduced in the mid 1930s the Rolex reference 2508 is a favorite amongst collectors due to its oversized case, flat bezel, and classic no frills design that is, compared to the rest of the brand’s production, more in-line with those of two other historical Genevan brands: Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin.

    This reference existed in two different configurations. Early models feature olive-shaped pushers and a larger case diameter; second generation versions instead come with rectangular pushers. Furthermore, early 2508s have the serial numbers punched on the caseback, whereas later ones have the 6-digit number finely engraved at the edge of the back, establishing a tradition upheld until the mid 2000s (then, Rolex switched to engraving the numbers on the inside of the carrure).

    This example is without a doubt one of the best preserved 2508s to ever appear on the market. A representative of the first series, it sports an incredibly crisp case, with sharp edges and unmolested engravings to the back. The presence of the Turin retailer Astrua's signature on the dial further elevates the collectability of this watch.
    Another layer of interest is given by the fixed bars present on the watch. An intriguing detail in itself, it is even more surprising on a gold case: normally, soldered bars meant the watch was intended for heavy usage (in fact, they are often found on military pieces) and thus they are normally used on steel cases.

    In fact, the majority of ref. 2508 examples were born with soldered bars, but nearly all of them had the bars removed at some point in time. To find one with its original bars is an exceptional occurrence. Furthermore, the intriguing detail of one of the gold hallmarks stamped directly to the top bar (thus also confirming that these are the original, untampered bars) adds additional interest to the piece.

    It is unsurprising that such a remarkable piece spent the last few years of its life in one of the most important Italian watch collections, and there is little doubt that its new home will be in the hands of another fine connoisseur of vintage timepieces.

  • 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. 2508
An extremely well preserved yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with multiscale luminous dial, retailed by Astrua Torino

36mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF80,000 - 140,000 

Sold for CHF107,100

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021