Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FOUR Hong Kong Monday, May 29, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1946
    Reference No: 3131
    Movement No: 34'503
    Case No: 473'742
    Model Name: "Bubble Back"
    Material: 14K pink gold
    Calibre: Automatic
    Bracelet/Strap: Brown crocodile leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Gilt Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 32 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement 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 ‘bubble back’ was officially named the ‘Oyster Perpetual’. The nickname ‘bubble back’ derived from the convex shape of the case back used to house the new automatic winding system, which replaced the mechanical mechanism.

    Still retaining its original "Oyster Patent" crown, the present watch features luminous numbers as well as 24 hours on the dial. Most interestingly, the back of the lug is stamped "C", which scholars infer is a import mark for South America - extremely fitting, as the watch is cased in 14k pink gold, which the region is known for importing. The case is furthermore preserved in excellent condition with a strong hallmark to the back of the lug.

  • 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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Lot offered with No Reserve

Ref. 3131
A rare 14K pink gold wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, 24 hours and pink dial

Circa 1946
32 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$46,000 - 62,000 

Sold for HK$50,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030

Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032

Jill Chen
+852 2318 2033

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FOUR

Hong Kong Auction 30 May 2017