Thursday, December 08, 2016

Rolex MoonPhase Madness at Phillips Auction House In Hong Kong

Rolex MoonPhase Madness

Rolex Reference 8171

Auctioned for over $1Million!!!

Back in November I ran a story on the upcoming Phillips Rolex Milestones Auction that took place on November 29, 2016. Two different Rolex Mooonphase models from the 1950s shattered the already high estimates. Before I talk about the astronomical (no pun intended) prices these watches sold for, I have to divulge that I have LOVED Rolex Moonphase models ever since I first saw them four decades ago. If you want to see more amazing vintage Rolex watches from the Phillips Auction click here.

1950 Rolex MoonPhase 
Reference 8171

The first watch seen below came from lot 823, which is a stainless steel Rolex Triple-Date Moonphase, which sold for just over $1Million!!!! This watch was made in 1950, at which time it probably retailed for a few hundred dollars!?!!!

    • Catalogue Essay

      Reference 8171 is lovingly dubbed ‘Padellone’, which translate to ‘large frying pan’ in Italian. Boasting a generous 38 mm case, it is slightly larger than its waterproof ‘Oyster’ sibling, reference 6062. It is interesting to note that both reference 8171 and 6062 were the only two ‘complicated’ models that Rolex ever produced, giving both references a mythical reputation and cult-like following.
      Most interestingly, both models were produced for a very short period of time in the early 1950s. To acquire even one of these watches has become a dream for many collectors today.
      Reference 8171 and 6062 were available in yellow gold, pink gold, and most exclusively, in stainless steel.

      A similar example, cased in stainless steel, was sold at Phillips’ The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO, lot 167, for an astounding 905,000 CHF.

      John Goldberger's Opinion 

      The present watch captivates and surprises in so many ways. The case is crisp, with sharp finishing to the bezel and the top of the lugs. The central band, too, retains immaculate satin-finishes. The same can be said for the case back, which displays a sharp coronet and crisp case numbers. The lines, curves, and finishes are all completely original.

      As with all ‘Padellone’ watches, the beauty lies in the dial. Those in original condition, such as this one, are few and far between, appearing infrequently on the market. The sharp track, where the moon phase aperture meets the rim of the subsidiary dial, is incredibly precise and correct. The sharp dagger numerals complement the ivory dial, and drawattention to the perfect blue outer date ring. One would expect to see significant spotting to the dial considering that this watch is not waterproof and over 60 years old. Yet, it remains clear of blemishes.

      At the time of production, watches dressed in yellow gold or pink gold livery were considered the most valuable, with stainless steel examples often chosen for everyday wear. As such, one is more likely to find an untouched example in gold. To find such an immaculate and original example, cased in stainless steel, has been a real pleasure for me.

1952 Rolex MoonPhase 
Reference 6062

The next watch seen below is from lot 816, and it features a yellow gold Rolex Triple-Date MoonPhase Oyster Perpetual on a matching Rolex Jubilee Bracelet.  It achieved an auction price of $660,000!!! The fundamental difference between the Reference 6062 model which is seen below, and its predecessor, which is seen above is that the Rolex 8021 was not waterproof.

    • Catalogue Essay

      Reference 6062 is one of two Rolex models to feature a triple calendar complication paired with a moon phase indication. While reference 6062 features a screw down Oyster case back, reference 8171 features a snap-on case back.

      Launched at the Basel fair in 1950, reference 6062 was the first automatic wristwatch with date and moon phase housed in a waterproof case. Cased in stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold, the model was fitted with a number of dial variants. The most exclusive and desirable version is, without a doubt, one fitted with eight faceted stars in lieu of hour numerals. Such is the desirability, and popularity of the watch, that collectors have dubbed it ‘Stelline’, meaning 'starlet' in Italian.

      This example of a reference 6062 is furthermore completely fresh to the market, having surfaced to the public just recently. We are incredibly honored to present this watch. It is an opportunity to satiate even the most demanding of collectors and watch scholars.

      John Goldberger's Opinion

      The present 'Stelline', preserved in incredible condition, is one if the most beautiful examples of the reference.

      The dial condition can only be described as incredible – most examples are spotted throughout, due to aging and exposure to environmental elements. This dial is free of imperfections. The numerals on the outer track are inky blue, and the day and date apertures are sharp and angular, demonstrating the originality of the dial.

      The outer track has furthermore aged slightly faster than the center, enhancing the dial's two-tone appearance. The luminous stars, the most important aspect of the dial, are untouched. Each luminous within is perfectly rounded, placed precisely within each star. The “Officially Certified Chronometer” designation within the moon phase subsidiary dial is a particularly nice touch.

      The yellow gold case, preserved in excellent condition, displays a sharp hallmark to the bottom of the lug. There is light tarnishing in the form of patina, which really gives this watch so much character and history, furthermore attesting to its untouched condition. The Super Oyster crown is original, as is the Jubilee bracelet, stamped for the third quarter of 1952.