Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: X Geneva Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1985
    Reference No: 16758
    Movement No: 1'100'222
    Case No: 8'510'585
    Model Name: GMT-Master "SARU'
    Material: 18K yellow gold, diamonds, rubies and sapphires
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3075, 27 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold and diamond-set Rolex President bracelet, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold and diamond-set Rolex concealed deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in 1954, the GMT-Master was originally designed as an aid for pilots. With the rise of international travel in the 1940s and 1950s, Rolex initially created the model for Pan Am airlines to track dual time zones. The watch featured an immediately recognizable bakelite bezel with the twenty-four hour numerals painted on the underside, made to glow in any weather condition. Bakelite was Rolex's material of choice, due to its low reflectivity and high readability. The additional luminous 24 hour tipped hand allowed the viewer to immediately track a second time zone.

    Rolex continued to evolve and make modifications to the GMT-Master model, for example switching out the bakelite bezel to a more durable metal version.

    Heavy, robust and lavishly set with diamonds, sapphires and rubies, this variant is nicknamed "SARU", referencing its precious gem-set bezel. The present model, along with reference 6270 and 6269, was the earliest Rolex sports watch to feature precious stones. This concept was incredibly daring in the 1980s, as tool watches and luxury gem-set timepieces resided in two separate spheres.

    Rolex in particular excels at the incredibly time-consuming job of setting well-matched and beautiful stones. The sky blue sapphires contrast wonderfully against the ruby baguette stones, truly elevating the present example beyond a standard dual time wristwatch.

    This example is one of the best-preserved SARUs to ever appear on the market. Offered in most probably unpolished condition, it even retains its original Rolex factory sticker to the caseback. All original bevels are present and display how the model originally left the Rolex factory. There are barely any signs of use throughout, and the gem-setting hardly displays any signs of wear.

    Such exceptionally-preserved examples hardly ever appear on the market, and there is no telling until when another will ever surface again.

  • 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. 16758
A highly attractive and exceptionally well-preserved yellow gold, diamond, ruby and sapphire-set dual time wristwatch with date and bracelet

Circa 1985
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF180,000 - 280,000 

Sold for CHF256,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: X

Geneva Auction 9-10 November 2019