Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1945
    Reference No: 3525
    Case No: 386'401
    Model Name: "Barilotto"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 13''', 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Brought to the world in 1939, the ref. 3525 was Rolex’s very first chronograph wristwatch to be housed in an Oyster case defined by water resistant screw down case back as well as screw down winding crown. The ref. 3525 was offered in yellow gold, pink gold and stainless steel, such as the present execution. Analysis of publicly known pieces shows that - with the exception of a few outliers - most of the production for the reference is grouped in three "batches", with respectively serial numbers around 40'xxx-50'xxx for the first batch, then in the mid 100'000 for the second, and in the mid-300'000 the last.

    The overall condition of this specimen is stunning. The case preserves intact its highly complex mono bloc-design. Most notably, the two steps to the bezel - the second one extremely minute and sensitive to polishing - are exceptionally well defined and with strong edges. The dial itself appears devoid of restorations or interventions, and has aged gracefully with a subtle ivory patina.

    Intriguingly, the dial of the model features a straight signature, instead of the arched one. A similar situation is known with the Libby Holman/Harvey Poe reference 3525 - case no. 386’526, sold by Phillips in 2019 - and in that instance the certainty of a sale date from 1951 allowed scholars to deduce the originality of the timepiece. It is commonly accepted scholarship that after WWII, the last generation of Barilottos had engraved numbers between the lugs and a "straight signature" on the dial.

  • 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. 3525
A rare, attractive and very well preserved stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with multi-scale dial

Circa 1945
35mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF40,000 - 80,000 

Sold for CHF75,600

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