Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XV Geneva Saturday, May 7, 2022 | Phillips

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    • Manufacturer: Rolex
      Year: Circa 1939
      Reference No: 3668
      Case No: 47'954
      Material: 18K pink gold and stainless steel
      Calibre: Manual, 17 jewels
      Bracelet/Strap: 18K pink gold and stainless steel Rolex bracelet, max length 210mm
      Clasp/Buckle: 18K stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
      Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
      Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
      Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex presentation box.

    • Catalogue Essay

      Documented in literature, but rarely seen on the open market, the reference 3668 is amongst Rolex’s most mythic and earliest Oyster chronographs. Produced alongside reference 3525, the reference 3668 differs from the 3525 with its unusual precious metal bezel, thus far documented only in pink or yellow gold. The first Oyster chronographs were released in the late 1930s, when the Second World War was ramping up in Europe, and they never attained much popularity with the public. In fact, only about thirty examples of the 3668 are believed to have been produced, making this an incredibly rare and fascinating reference.

      The present example is particularly impressive, and the engine-turned bezel is particularly crisp and well-preserved - interestingly, the design of the bezel was also used on the bubble back reference 3372, which was also produced during this period. The case is particularly stunning, with crisp numbers behind the case back that would have disappeared with even the slightest of polishing. The lugs and case are full in their proportions. The bezel furthermore features deep threading, which is impressive as the slightest bit of polishing dulls the edges. The Oyster crown is furthermore original to the watch, adding another element of delight. Furthermore, the beautiful original salmon dial is preserved in excellent condition, with barely any signs of aging - a marvelous feat, considering the age of the timepiece.

    • Artist Biography

      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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Ref. 3668
A highly rare, impressive and attractive stainless steel and pink gold chronograph wristwatch with engine-turned bezel and bracelet

Circa 1939
35mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
CHF30,000 - 50,000 
€29,500-49,100
$31,900-53,100

Sold for CHF277,200

Contact Specialist

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

+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 22 317 96 63
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XV

Geneva Auction 7 - 8 May 2022