A rare and highly attractive yellow gold wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting a coat of arms

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: circa 1948
    Reference No: 9548
    Movement No: N64'430
    Case No: 580'179, inside caseback stamped 62
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal 1200, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K rice grain Gay Frères bracelet. 185mm max. length
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 25mm x 25mm
    Signed: Case and movement signed, dial features the Rolex crown

  • Catalogue Essay

    A surprising design, an exquisite cloisonné enamel dial, a historic brand and ultimate rarity make the present lot a trophy watch for the most discerning collectors. The dazzling dial of this Rolex masterpiece from the late 1940s presents an imaginary coat of arms. The coat of arms was first introduced in England and France in the 12th Century; their designs typically depicted shields, and indicated belonging to a particular ancestral family or tribe. Cloisonné dials are amongst the finest and most labor intensive dials to fabricate, and are accordingly treasured by collectors.
    To create a cloisonné enamel dial, the artist first marks out the outline of the desired motif using fine gold wire to separate the various enamel regions. The artist then applies various enamel layers depending on the desired colors, carefully selecting compatible enamels that adhere coherently during the firing process. This meticulous operation involves numerous firing operations in a high temperature kiln in order to intensify their colors, obtain proper gradation, and create a reflective surface. A dangerous process requiring great skill, as at each firing, the dial can break or the enamel may can crack, resulting in high rejection rates – and therefore, cost.
    Between the late 1940s and first half of the 1950s, Rolex produced some of the most iconic and beautiful cloisonné dial wristwatches, and the dial of the present lot, with its vibrant hues of blue, cream and ochre, is a wonderful example. It’s also interesting to note its deep black background, a color extremely difficult to master and achieve in enamel. The case of the present reference 9548 is quite unusual and similarly rare with its large notched bezel reminiscent of the crenallations surmounting the turrets found in medieval castles - perfectly complementing the lovely coat of arms dial.
    Only four Rolex watches, in form cases, featuring an enamel dial depicting a coat of arms are known to date. The dial of the present lot is the only one known in this configuration making this reference 9548 unique.

  • 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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158

Rolex

Ref. 9548
A rare and highly attractive yellow gold wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial depicting a coat of arms

circa 1948
25mm x 25mm
Case and movement signed, dial features the Rolex crown

Estimate
CHF150,000 - 300,000 
€138,000-275,000
$155,000-309,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016