Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT Hong Kong Monday, May 27, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1970
    Reference No: 5100
    Movement No: 7255
    Case No: 644
    Model Name: Beta 21 "Texano"
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Electro-mechanical, cal. RE10, Beta21, 15 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Rolex bracelet, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Rolex concealed deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by a Rolex red leather presentation box, product literature, additional dial and crystal.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the early 1960s, a group of Swiss foremost watchmaking companies (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Piaget, to name a few) banded together to develop the first electronic movement. Their efforts came to fruition when in 1969 the calibre Beta 21 saw the light of day. Boasting a +/- 5 seconds/month accuracy, it was a landmark result for the industry at large - so reliable that, with cruel irony, electronic movements will go on to spell the 1970s quartz crisis.

    Enormously costly, most companies fitted the movements in luxurious full gold cases with bracelet, in order to somewhat justify the cost to their clients.

    It is unclear how many Beta 21 watches Rolex made, but it is a number between 1000 and 2000 examples in yellow gold and in white gold.

    The present piece is a representative of this landmark model. The groundbreaking movement is only part of its appeal. The case is remarkable as well not only for its unrestrained luxury, but also because it is the first time the Oyster case was redesigned, featuring a sharp angular architecture which little has in common with the standard Oyster case. It is also the first time a sapphire crystal appears on a Rolex timepiece.

    Possibly in virtue of its exuberant style and generous dimensions, the model was nicknamed “Texano” by Italian collectors. This example featuring case number 644 is offered in remarkable condition, the case fully retaining it peculiar architecture for the joy of the beholder.

  • 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. 5100
A fine and very heavy yellow gold wristwatch with center seconds, date, bracelet and presentation box

Circa 1970
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$160,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2019