Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1935
    Reference No: 1858
    Movement No: 4424
    Case No: 52'736
    Model Name: "Bubble Back"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 8 3/4 Hunter
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 31.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cased in an array of metals and fitted with a variety of dials, "Bubble Back" watches were in production for over 22 years, from the early Thirties to the mid Fifties. For many years, the "Bubble Back" wristwatch was Rolex’s best selling model. At the time of production, the model was officially named the "Oyster Perpetual". The nickname "Bubble Back" is derived from the convex shape of the case back used to house the new automatic winding system, which replaced the manual mechanism.

    The present watch is a highly attractive stainless steel version. It is distinguished by its luminous "bow tie" dial - so called for its geometric design that resembles its namesake. The luminous material has aged evenly with the hands, and provides enormous charm. As an even nicer touch, the dial displays a Beyer signature, indicating the timepiece was sold at the storied retailer. Many existing "Bubble Back" wristwatches have been altered over time, yet this example is preserved in excellent and original overall condition. The watch even retains its original vintage Rolex buckle.

  • 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. 1858
A highly rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with luminous "bow tie" dial and "bubble back" case, retailed by Beyer

Circa 1935
31.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF5,000 - 10,000 

Sold for CHF15,120

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020