Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1975
    Movement No: DD14749
    Model Name: Day-Date
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1555, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped to the endlinks "558" and "78360", max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "LT6" and "78360"
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Day-Date was, at the time of its launch, somewhat of an exception for Rolex. The company had carved itself a name as the world’s foremost supplier of technical timepieces - most famously, pioneering waterproof cases and automatic movements - but it was much less recognised (ironically one might say, considering how different the situation is today) from the point of view of luxury timepieces. A first “breakthrough” of sorts came with the launch of the Datejust in 1947, a model based on previous “Big Bubble Back” pieces which blended the technical and “professional” ethos of Rolex with a more luxurious spirit, and indeed was cased in gold. Following the success of the Datejust, in 1957 the Day-Date was launched. It will go on to become one of the most easily recognisable luxury timepieces on the planet, worn by Head of States, entrepreneurs and artists among many others. In order to underline the exclusivity of the model, Rolex decided to produce the Day-Date exclusively in precious metals: such “ban” on steel Day-Date models in fact remains in effect to this very day.

    As for every rule, however, there are exceptions to every role, including the “no steel Day-Date” one. As it turns out, an absurdly restricted number of prototype/scholar pieces have in fact been made in stainless steel. One example (movement no. 0004547) is portrayed in John Goldberger’s Rolex “bible” 1000 Superlative Rolex Watches. Two more were sold by Phillips in 2018 (no. 0005073) and in 2019 (no. DD411420). This fourth example (no. DD14749), previously unknown to the market, completes the set of the known stainless steel Day-Date. All these four prototype examples (and indeed, as one would expect from a Rolex prototype, they bear no serial nor case number) were originally gifted to Rolex’s watchmakers at the end of their career and they all have the same Roman numerals dial style.

    In a world where rarity is considered one of the most important sides of a collectible timepiece, but also where sport’s timepieces are the in extreme demand given their undisputed wearability, this watch definitely deserves the “grail” status. A 4-pieces model would be considered beyond restricted for any brand, and that’s even more true for Rolex, whose output has historically been (relatively to other watchmaking brands, of course) less restricted. When to this rarity one couples the fact that owning this watch equals to owning something that should not even exist, that contradicts the company’s own rules and that at the same time is so eminently “slick”, modern and wearable, it is impossible to not realise that this is without a doubt one of the most interesting and important Day-Date watches made in the past century, and it could be arguably considered one of the most intellectually intriguing timepieces ever made.

  • Artist Biography

    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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An outstandingly rare and historically interesting stainless steel prototype wristwatch with center seconds, day, date, luminous dial and bracelet

Circa 1975
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

Estimate
CHF50,000 - 100,000 
€46,600-93,200
$54,000-108,000

Sold for CHF113,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021