Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1936
    Reference No: 2508
    Case No: 25'330
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, Valjoux cal. 22, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37.2mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Provenance: Antiquorum Geneva, The Mondani Collection Of Rolex Wristwatches, May 14, 2006, lot 86.

  • Provenance

    Antiquorum Geneva, The Mondani Collection Of Rolex Wristwatches, May 14, 2006, lot 86.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Originally launched in the mid 1930s, reference 2508 most notably sports a large, masculine case with a classic “Calatrava” design. It is amongst the most attractive chronograph models by any brand from this formative era of wristwatch design.

    The present watch is a remarkable example of the reference not only in virtue of its condition - most notably of the absolutely unrestored dial - but especially due to the presence of Turin retailer Astrua’s signature on the dial. Co-signed dials are as rare as they are collectible, a precious window into the past of the company - as nowadays Rolex does not produce co-signed timepieces anymore.

    Even without the Astrua signature, however, the dial of this specimen exudes charm, also thanks to its complicated architecture. It features an outer telemeter scale and an inner spiral tachymeter case, large hour markers and an additional scale with Arabic five-minute combined with baton fifth-of-a-second divisions (typical of the time). Furthermore, one can find three different types of finishing on it: the centre and outer track of the dial are silvered brushed, the fifth-of-a-second scale lays on a track with a grené finish, and a thin bronze metallic track separates it from the telemeter scale.

    Reference 2508 can be categorized into two different generations, the first one boasting a large 37.2mm case fitted with oval pushers – as found on the present example. The second generation was slightly smaller measuring at 35.2mm and was fitted with rectangular pushers.

    The 2mm difference in diameter may appear small, but the impact on the wrist is impressive. Scholarship tells us that only a very small number of these first generation watches were made. It is amazing to see how a more than 80-year-old chronograph wristwatch can be as timeless and contemporary today as it was when first launched.

    A sporty yet elegant gentleman’s watch, the design of reference 2508 - especially the first generation - is more modern compared to other earlier Rolex chronograph watches, making it nowadays a favourite of Rolex collectors.

  • 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. 2508
A large, charming and extremely uncommon stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with multi-scale three-tone dial and olive-shape pushers, retailed by Astrua

Circa 1936
37.2mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF70,000 - 140,000 

Sold for CHF81,900

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022