Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: ONE Hong Kong Monday, November 30, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1946
    Reference No: 2940
    Movement No: N15957
    Case No: 528'717
    Model Name: 'Bubble back'
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic
    Bracelet/Strap: Brown leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 32 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Provenance: Property from An Important Collector
    Literature: For another example of reference 2940 with a 24 hours dial, please see The Best of Time Rolex Wristwatches by James M. Dowling and Jeffrey P. Hess, page 87.

  • Provenance

    Property from An Important Collector

  • Catalogue Essay

    This stainless steel bubble back is in lovely, original condition. The case is unpolished and still retains the original, crisp milled band to the case back and crisp case number between the lugs. The dial, is original and unrestored, has two very appealing features. The first, is the silvered minute chapter ring, the second is the 24 hours ring printed in red towards the centre of the dial.

    When collectors consider vintage Rolex, today they often turn to the famous sports watches and Daytona’s. Twenty years ago, the most collectible Rolex were the ‘bubble backs’ and Princes from the 1920s to 1950’s. As fashion changed, larger Rolex watches were sought after and the fabulous designs and variants in the ‘bubble back’ and Princes were forgotten.

    The following seven pieces, pay homage to this golden era of the Rolex watch manufacture. Each watch is preserved in the most excellent condition with original dials and extremely crisp cases, showcasing their gold marks and case inscriptions, from case numbers to Rolex Cornets.

    There are five ‘bubble back’ watches which was Rolex’s very first water tight automatic wristwatch. These watches were in production for 22 years, from early 1933 to 1955. While its official name was the “Oyster Perpetual”, Rolex collectors and admirers playfully dubbed these watches “bubble back” due to the convex shape on the case back. The rounded case bottom was produced to house the new automatic winding system, which replaced the mechanical mechanism. Today, Rolex ‘bubble back’ watches have become increasingly popular in recent years, like they were some 20 to 30 years ago, and have produced a cult like following.

  • 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. 2940
A very rare and early stainless steel wristwatch with 24 hours and two-tone dial

32 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$64,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032

Jill Chen
+852 2318 2033

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: ONE

Hong Kong Auction 1 December 2015 11am