Rolex - Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History Hong Kong Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1963
    Reference No: 1601
    Movement No: D48395
    Case No: 937’768
    Model Name: DateJust
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, 1560, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k yellow gold Rolex Tile-Link bracelet, 190 mm. maximum length
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped 1.62
    Dimensions: 36 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For another example of a gold reference 1601 however with tiger’s eye dial, please see the 100 Superlative Rolex Watches App by John Goldberger.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex released its very first DateJust, reference 4467, in 1945 to celebrate the firm’s 40th anniversary. Fitted with a date wheel at 3 o’clock, the watch featured an Oyster case, ‘Bubble Back’ movement and ‘coin edge’ bezel. At the time of production, the DateJust was the world’s first automatic chronometer wristwatch to display the date on the dial. The now-iconic Jubilee bracelet was specially designed for the model.

    Typically cased in yellow, pink, or white gold, the model has featured a diverse range of designs over the years, such as the ‘bark’ finished motif, or the ‘Florentine’ and ‘Morellis’ pattern. Reference 1601 is characterized by its fluted bezel, which shimmers softly by catching the light in different angles. This effect that only be achieved by using precious metals.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    Manufactured around 1962, the present watch displays two impressive features, distinguishing it from its peers. Retaining a glossy finish, the sensational black lacquer dial features gilt graphics, giving it a vintage appearance. Spade numerals and sword hands finish off the look. These attributes are commonly associated with older DateJusts, making the present watch very unusual. This dial is among the very last batch of gilt ‘Swiss’ dials, before Rolex altered the luminous material to tritium.

    The original ‘Tile-Link’ bracelet, carrying a French import mark, is also another beautiful feature. Stamped for the first quarter of 1962, it is extremely thick and fluid, attesting to Rolex’s superior craftsmanship. Most intriguing are the matching French hallmarks to the case back, which are still very strong and deep despite the watch being over 50 years of age.

  • 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. 1601
A highly rare, unusual and attractive yellow gold wristwatch with sweep center seconds, date, black lacquer dial and Tile-Link bracelet

Circa 1963
36 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$120,000 - 240,000 

Sold for HK$275,000

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Thomas Perazzi
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Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016