Rolex - Racing Pulse New York Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1974
    Reference No: 1803
    Movement No: DD022537
    Case No: 4’231’875
    Model Name: Day-Date “Stella”
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1556, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since the emergence of the Day-Date in 1956, Rolex has continuously surprised the world with an assortment of unprecedented variations of the model. The inception of the colorful lacquered Stella dials in the 1970s was Rolex’s first adventurous take on a more playful and eccentric facet hidden behind the brand. The present Day-Date ref. 1803 is a wonderfully elegant example of the line, featuring an Oxblood lacquered dial encased in 18k yellow gold and topped with a fluted bezel.

    Many collectors have speculated the origin of the name ‘Stella’ with associations to the Italian translation ‘star’ for its radiant hues or to the artist Frank Stella for the vivacity of his works. The name is actually derived from the former supplier of Rolex’s lacquer and varnishes which was named ‘Stella’. Ironically, these unconventional dials were unappreciated at the time and batches were allegedly destroyed, thus resulting in the scarcity of the handful that still remain. However, with the resurgent enthusiasm towards the colorful dials in recent years, the present reference is now highly coveted amongst seasoned and novice collectors. Due to the inherent fragility of the composition, it is rare to find a dial in such flawless condition as the present specimen, with no signs of chips or spidering on the lacquer. Moreover, the 36mm diameter size is sure to appeal to female collectors as well.

  • 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. 1803
A very fine and rare yellow gold wristwatch with day aperture, date, and oxblood “Stella” dial

Circa 1974
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

$15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $37,800

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020