Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN New York Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Condition Report

  • Description

    View our Conditions of Sale.

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1951
    Reference No: 8171
    Movement No: 56’960
    Case No: 686’162, caseback interior stamped 175
    Model Name: "Padellone"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 10’’’1/2, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel buckle
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex’s large triple calendar with moonphase reference 8171, known as the “Padellone” (Italian for large frying pan) amongst collectors, is one of the most legendary, best-proportioned, and consequently sought-after vintage wristwatches produced by any manufacturer. During the end of the 1940s into the 1950s, much of Rolex’s design efforts concentrated on tool watches for a new world order, where an increasingly active public demanded precision timekeepers that could withstand the harsh environments they encountered. Rolex’s only two full calendar watches – the references 8171 and 6062 - were a departure from the tool watch to a complicated wristwatch with moonphase, which were classically styled with a lineage reaching back to the days of the pocket watch. They were in production for a very short period during the early 1950s and both models were available in yellow gold, pink gold and most exclusively in stainless steel.

    Reference 8171 impresses not only with its large 38mm diameter case, especially when considering a large size gentleman’s watch in the 1950s was around 35mm, but in particular its harmonious case proportions with sharp edges, facets, and angles. As a consequence, the 8171 case is breathtaking when preserved in close to mint condition. The case of the present lot retains the original mirror-finished surfaces on the bezel and the top surface of the lugs while retaining the satin-finish to the band of the case and the sides of the lugs as well as the center of the case back. The caseback is perfectly crisp, retaining a sharp Rolex coronet and full serial number. Most surviving reference 8171s today are either worn or heavily polished, making this example incredibly rare.

    This fresh-to-the-market watch is offered by the family of the original owner, who confirm it was always cherished and worn carefully by its owner. The grainé dial, with its coveted silver hour markers and hands, is well-preserved, having beautifully aged over the years.

    This timepiece offers collectors the opportunity to own one of the most beautiful and charismatic references ever manufactured by Rolex. Collectors will appreciate the quality, originality, and beauty of this example, making it a rare opportunity for the connoisseur.


  • 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. 8171
An extremely rare, exceptional, and well-preserved stainless steel triple calendar wristwatch with moon phase, offered by the family of the original owner

38mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

$120,000 - 240,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293

[email protected]


Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285

[email protected]


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

New York Auction 10 - 11 December 2022