Rolex - The 2021 New York Watch Auction New York Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1945
    Reference No: 3130
    Movement No: 56'031
    Case No: 521'285
    Model Name: Oyster Perpetual, Bubbleback
    Material: 14K pink gold
    Calibre: Automatic, 9 3/4 '’’, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Dimensions: 32mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Today, Rolex is most often associated with mid 20th-century tool watches, which have become icons in the world of horology, and are some of the most sought after timepieces by collectors. With model names like GMT-Master, Submariner and Cosmograph Daytona, the demand for these exceptional watches continues to grow, however it is important to remember Rolex was founded in 1905, and since its inception, produced an array of wristwatches with modern designs that were masculine and durable. The brand’s quest for technical excellence is seen throughout their evolution, and in the early 20th century two milestone innovations were introduced, the “Oyster” case introduced in 1926 as a water and dust proof timepiece, and in 1931 their “Perpetual” self-winding movement. The combination of these two produced the “Oyster Perpetual”, which has been the backbone of their production ever since.

    Rolex patented the first automatic movement with a winding rotor that rotated 360 degrees upon a centrally located pivot. Fixed on an existing movement with the rotor spinning on top, the domed caseback allowed for extra space for the rotor, leading this watch to be nicknamed "Bubbleback". These timepieces became a huge success throughout its production period, from the early 1930s to the 1950s. The present watch is a wonderful example of the reference 3130 "Bubbleback", and preserved in exceptional, hardly-worn condition and fitted with its original Rolex Oyster crown.

    This "Bubbleback" is from the second half of the 1940s, and consequently, one of the last generation of the model's production run. It is characteristic for this batch to see the serial number engraved by Pantograph, a technique newly introduced by Rolex after World War II. "Bubblebacks" have an important place in the history of Rolex and this rare, beautifully preserved, 14 karat pink gold reference 3130 has a presence and charisma that is sure to attract collectors.

  • 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. 3130
A fine and attractive pink gold wristwatch

Circa 1945
32mm Diameter
Case, dial, and movement signed

$3,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $17,640

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021