A rare and highly attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial, tachymeter and telemeter scales

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1946
    Reference No: 2508
    Case No: 512'132
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 22, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35.2mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Literature: A similar example with white dial is illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, by John Goldberger, pp 64-65. Different versions of reference 2508 are described and illustrated in I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, p. 80-91.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Introduced in the mid-1930s, Rolex’s reference 2508 was their first chronograph wristwatch to feature two registers on the dial and two pushers in the case. The sporty and large case is very masculine, and is considered one of the most attractive case designs by any brand of this era. Collectors divide the model into two generations; the first with a larger 37.2mm diameter case and oval pushers, while the second generation, like the present watch, has a more compact case at 35.2mm and rectangular pushers. It is believed the case diameter was changed to conform to prevailing tastes of the era, when smaller, thinner watches were considered more prestigious.

    This exemplary model features a rare and stunning black dial featuring lustrous silver print – a highly uncommon dial with few examples appearing at auction. Having aged beautifully, the tachymeter and telemeter scales remain clear and legible. The telemeter scale stands out for legibility by a shiny silver ring that is the same width as the Arabic and baton indexes. The result is a superbly balanced dial design with exceptional readability. The snail-shape tachymeter scale adds further character to the dial. The rarity of the present watch is further enhanced by its superb condition. The case is sharp, with crisp lines, edges and intact finished surfaces as it left the factory seven decades ago. The serial number on the caseback along with the Rolex Crown are crisp and perfectly legible – remarkable considering how lightly engraved they were. The present reference 2508 is a worthy addition to the finest collections of stainless steel watches.

  • 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. 2508
A rare and highly attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial, tachymeter and telemeter scales

1946
35.2mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 150,000 
€91,800-138,000
$103,000-155,000

sold for CHF125,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016