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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1951
    Reference No: 8171
    Movement No: 20’528, and G4924
    Case No: 762’184, interior further stamped 184
    Model Name: Padellone
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 10’’ ½, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex period box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex timepieces have long been admired by collectors for their timeless designs and robust, ingenious movements. Many of the brand’s models were made for a specific use, and whether it’s a Submariner dive watch, a Milgauss for use within electromagnetic fields, or a GMT-Master dual-time wristwatch, they are icons of 20th century horology. Most known for such sporty watches made mostly in stainless steel, two exceptional mid-20th century models are as iconic as their counterparts, and far rarer. For a few short years in the early 1950s, Rolex produced two triple calendar wristwatches with moon phase, the references 8171 and 6062 – highly complicated watches that were a true departure for the brand . The reference 8171, known by its Italian nickname, “Padellone” (large frying pan), is one of the most sought after by collectors, revered for its large case size, perfectly legible dial, and superb proportions.

    Reference 8171 impresses not only with its large 38mm diameter, especially when considering that a large gentleman’s watch in the 1950s was around 35mm, but in particular with its harmonious case proportions and sharp edges, facets, and angles. As a consequence, the 8171 case is breathtaking when well-preserved, such as the current lot. On the opposite side of the scale, when subjected to repeated and unprofessional polishing, most of its charm and beauty is lost.

    Cased in yellow gold, it has been spared needless polishing, with the case number and Rolex crown logo remaining strong and crisp on the caseback – these are notoriously susceptible to rubbing off or disappearing with any unskilled polishing. The brushed finishing to the sides of the case and lugs is still beautifully present, as are the hallmarks on the case band and underneath the bottom right lug. Its early, non-luminous two-tone dial, with “Officially Certified Chronometer” designation at 6 o’clock, is completely original with pleasant aging having developed mainly on the outer circumference. The inner, grained dial section is remarkably clean and well preserved.

    Rolex’s Padellone is a significant timepiece for collectors ticking so many boxes for classic collecting. It is a wristwatch that is rare, classic, timeless, and exceedingly difficult to find in well-preserved condition. The present example is fresh-to-the-market, and has a charisma and appeal that is sure to excite watch connoisseurs.

  • Artist Biography

    Rolex

    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. 8171
A very rare, well-preserved, and attractive yellow gold triple calendar wristwatch with moon phase

Circa 1951
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

Estimate
$150,000 - 300,000 
CHF137,000-274,000
€127,000-254,000
HK$1,160,000-2,330,000

Contact Specialist

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

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020