Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Complete History of The Rolex Moon Phase









The Complete History of the

Triple Date

Rolex Moon Phase

The First Rolex Cosmograph


Rolex Triple Date MoonPhase Dial Appears Courtesy of Christie's 

I have a confession to make. Ever since first seeing a Rolex Triple Date Moonphase when I was a young man back in the 1980s I have been completely enchanted and obsessed with them! My objective with this story is to share 100% of everything I have learned and enjoyed on this magnificent watch models, while offering significant historical context for how they came to be.

Rolex Triple Date MoonPhase Dial Appears Courtesy of Sotheby's 


I offer you the Sun, Moon, Stars & The Sky: Most technical watch stories I write are about watches that measure time. This story differs as it is about Rolex Moon Phase watches that display the poetry of time, and let you moongaze and stargaze on your wrist.




The Rolex Triple-Date Moon Phase calendar models are some of the most beautiful Rolex watches ever made!!! So what is it that makes these complicated Moon Phase watches so desirable? 

A moon phase indicator is graphically & aesthetically beautiful with the man-in-the-moon and stars which indicate the current phase of the moon as seen in the night sky. A moon phase complication represents the intersection of art and science. 


★ Everything considered classic today

 was once considered to be modern 




I started my obsession with Rolex 38 years ago, when I was 15. Somehow, when I was young I saw a few Rolex Moon Phase watches and they took my breath away!?!! This should come as no surprise as these beautiful masterpieces arguably represent Rolex's pièce de résistance




Over the next couple of decades, I discovered several more of these exotic beauties... When I started publishing Jake's Rolex World two decades ago, I became OBSESSED with capturing every single tidbit of information and photos of these mystical Rolex Moon Phase watches. In this story, I put them all together for the first time. The image below of the Rolex Triple Date Reference 6062 appears courtesy of Christie's Auction house.



The photo below from Wulf shows two magnificent Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase models which have a Reference number of 6062.




Rolex Triple Date MoonPhase Reference 8171 Dial Appears Courtesy of Paul Boutros from Phillipe's Auction House 







The Man in the Moon


Measuring Phases of the Moon


Horology is the study and measurement of time. The history of astronomical moon phase complications is wrapped in mysticism and astronomy that reflects mankind's desire to understand and illustrate the splendid heavens visible in the night sky. 



The astronomical lunar calendar measures the length of a month, and thus a year, and has formed the modern concept of time which has governed our daily lives since the beginning of antiquity. 



For many centuries mankind used their understanding of the night sky not only to track time but also to measure distance as well as longitude and latitude. Our concept of time revolves around measuring cycles that are regulated by the suns reflection on the moon as well as our view of the stars in the night sky. We call this time measurement a calendar. 





The Clock Tower


A Brief History of Timekeeping

In order to understand the magnificence and splendor of the original Rolex Moon Phase watches, we need to hop in The Rolex Time Machine and take a trip back to the mid-1300s.

Below we see a photo of Torre dell'Orologio, which is the oldest astronomical clock in the world. It was designed by Italian Renaissance man and celebrated Astrologer, Giacomo Dondo noble Padovano Medico, and it overlooks the Piazza dei Signori in Padua, Italy. 





The tower structure of Torre dell'Orologio was built in the first half of the fourteenth century as the eastern gate of the Royal Palace of Carrara. In 1428 the famous astronomical clock was added along with the adorned Gothic tower. The astronomical clock is based upon the work of Giacomo Dondo's father, Jacopo Dondi dell' Orologio (1293-1359).

Notice the clock has a single hand that gives you the hour and minute count. In other words, this historic clock existed long before the minute hand was invented. An "Astronomical Clock" offers complications that include the position of the Sun and Moon relative to the Zodiac.


Upon close inspection of the astronomical clock, we see the Sun located in the middle of the dial along with the Moon Phase indicator located in the bottom right-hand corner. We also see the Month and Date indicators. These complications measure the cyclical events that constitute the day, month and year. They also measure the four seasons as well as the summer and winter solstice, and equinox.

The moon completes one cycle around the earth every 29.5 days, which is illustrated by two rotating discs. This astronomical clock keeps track of three cyclical rotations. First is the circular rotation of the earth. Second is the moon around the earth, and thirdly, the earth's rotation around the sun.





Galileo Galilei


The Grandfather Clock originally referred to as a Longcase Clock, or Floor Clock owes its genesis to Galileo Galilei. When Galileo was eighteen years old, in 1582 he was praying in the cathedral of Pisa. Galileo watched a church member who lit a chandelier and noticed after he lit the candles that it kept swinging back and forth. Galileo timed the swings using his pulse and discovered regardless of how wide or narrow of an arc the chandelier achieved, it took the exact same amount of time for it to swing from one side to the other. 


Painting of Galileo Galilei by Justus Sustermans painted in 1636

Beginning around 1602 Galileo experimented years later attempting to build a clock that used a pendulum's precise movement in order to accurately regulate time measurement in a clock. Below we see a drawing by Galileo's son Vincenzio from around 1637 of his escapement pendulum clock design. Despite the fact Galileo was blind he was able to communicate the design to his son who drew this sketch of the pendulum clock concept.




Galileo and his son Vincenzio worked on this project until they both passed away, and unfortunately were never able to make it work. Despite having not been able to make their pendulum clock work, Galileo made an invaluable contribution to clock making.

A student and biographer of Galileo named Vincenzo Viviani described the pendulum clock concept:

"One day in 1641, while I was living with him at his villa in Arcetri, I remember that the idea occurred to him that the pendulum could be adapted to clocks with weights or springs, serving in place of the usual tempo, he hoping that the very even and natural motions of the pendulum would correct all the defects in the art of clocks. But because his being deprived of sight prevented his making drawings and models to the desired effect, and his son Vincenzio coming one day from Florence to Arcetri, Galileo told him his idea and several discussions followed. Finally they decided on the scheme shown in the accompanying drawing, to be put in practice to learn the fact of those difficulties in machines which are usually not foreseen in simple theorizing."





Grandfather Clock

Many decades later, in 1656 a Dutchman named Christian Huygens was inspired by Galileo Galilei's research into pendulums. 




After many experiments, Huygens became the first person to use a pendulum to successfully drive a clock. Soon after Huygens invention, many clockmakers began encasing pendulum clocks in wood cases, and thus the long clock (A.K.A. The Grandfather Clock) was born. 

The longcase clock came entered into the mainstream as Robert Hooke, a few years later in 1658 invented the anchor escapement which replaced the verge escapement mechanism, which had required very wide pendulum swing-plane of 80-100°. The advent of the anchor mechanism significantly reduced the required swing plane to only between 4° to 6°, which allowed clockmakers to use much longer pendulums that were much more efficient.



Face Time


The photo below is a close-up of the 88"/224MM mahogany grandfather clock pictured above. It was made in Coleford (Gloucestershire) and signed by Robert Moxham around 1790, and it features an 8-day moon phase indicator, calendar, and second-hand complication which features blued hands. It is believed to be the first perpetual calendar mechanism ever built into a clock was in 1695 by a clockmaker, Thomas Tompion and his successor, George Graham. Thomas Tompion is considered to be the Father of English Clockmaking. On a side note it is interesting how the designer of these clocks attempted to humanize them through anthropomorphism by putting a human face on the moon phase indicator.




Grandfather clocks as they were come to be known were manufactured for the better part of 3 centuries and were popular up until the 1930s.



Thomas Mudge

Inventor of the Perpetual Calendar


Horologist Thomas Mudge who lived in London, England invented the lever escapement, which is considered to be the single greatest innovation ever incorporated into pocket watches. Mudge is believed to have invented the perpetual calendar in the early 1760s. Sothebys Auction house sold the Perpetual Calendar seen below, which was Number 525, and was believed to have been made in 1762





What exactly is a perpetual calendar and how does it differ from an annual calendar or regular calendar? The very first clocks and pocket watches only had a single hour hand for keeping time. As watches evolved, they developed complications like a minute and second hands.

A perpetual calendar is a clock, wrist or pocket watch that keeps track of and displays the hour and minute of the day, the day of the week, the month of the year, the date of the month, and leap year. Perpetual calendar watches and clocks often include a moon phase indicator. Perpetual calendar watches owe their genesis to astronomical clocks. An Annual Calendar is the same as a Perpetual Calendar but lacks the ability to keep track of leap year, thus it must be manually updated once a year, while a Perpetual Calendar does not.







Hans Wilsdorf

The Founder of Rolex

Pocket watches evolved from miniaturizing stationary clocks. The first pocket watches were invented in Southern Germany in the early 1500s. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex was also born in Germany, into a world without wrist watches. In his formative years, wristwatches did not exist. Hans believed when he founded Rolex in 1906 the future of timekeeping was not in pocket watches but in watches worn on the wrist, which were then commonly referred to as watch wristlets


Hans Hilsdorf, Founder of Rolex pictured above in 1905 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.





It is a little-known fact, despite having been the first to make waterproof wristwatches, as well as many other horological wrist watch firsts, Hans Wilsdorf was a huge pocket watch collector

The pocket-watch below is from Hans Wilsdorf's personal pocket-watch collection. It is a 66MM French Empire self-winding gold watch made in 1820 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. The watch is numbered 170.







This watch is a highly complicated self-winding watch and a so-called Perpetuelle, which contains a platinum winding rotor. It has an hour, quarter and minute repeater, as well as a 31-day calendar that shows the moon phases. The engine-turned dial is silver and contains a centered calendar hand. Breguet's tiny signature and shop number are engraved on both sides of the XII indices. 

It is just amazing to realize this watch was made in 1820, long before Hans Wilsdorf was born. This watch was one of the very first pocket watches to feature an annual calendar as well as a moon phase indicator. 


In November and December of 1974, Rolex assembled an incomparable collection of watches to show off at the new Rolex Building in New York. This collection included watches on loan from the Metropolitain Museum of Art in New York as well as the Zale Collection of Dallas, the Benis Collection of New York, and most importantly, watches from the Hans Wilsdorf Collection.








Marie Antoinette


BREGUET 

Number 160 Grand Complication




Before the discovery of Thomas Mudge's perpetual calendar, it was believed Breguet was the first to incorporate a perpetual calendar into a pocket watch when he famously constructed his "Marie Antoinette" watch in 1783, which included a perpetual calendar. Breguet's began working on  Marie Antoinette's No. 160 grand complication in 1782 and it was completed by Breguet's son in four years after Breguet died in 1823. Thus it took forty years for the watch to be completed which was 34 years after the fallen queen's death.




The story behind the development of this pocket watch is AMAZING!!! The best scholarship indicates it was commissioned by Hans Axel von Fersen who was alleged to be the lover of of Marie Antoinette who was the Queen of France. This magnificent perpetual calendar watch was designed at the time to feature every known complication at the time including a minute repeater, thermometer, chronograph, power reserve indicator, chime, independent second hand, as was as Breuguet's invention of a Pare-Chute shock protection system.

The French Queen, Marie Antoinette who famously the last Queen of France before the French Revolution was famous for saying 'Let them eat cake'. In an ironic twist of fate, the watch was stolen from L.A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art located in Jerusalem in 1983 by master-thier, Na'aman Diller and was later recovered in 2007. This watch is considered to by many to be the most valuable watch in existence and in 2013 it was worth an estimated $30 Million.






Unique 1894 Pink Gold 24 Hour Repeater
60MM Patek Philippe Pocket Watch
Sold in Switzerland for $2.29 Million

The first known Patek Philippe perpetual calendar was made in 1864 and is located today in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Switzerland

Antiquorum auctioned this amazing complicated Patek Philippe pocket watch for $2.29 Million in November of 2011. This 124-year-old beauty was originally sold in 1894 for 3750 Swiss Francs. Notice there is no Patek Philippe designation on the dial. This watch is unusual in that it has a 24-hour train dial, meaning it keeps 24 hour GMT time, as opposed to the standard 12 hour time.









Patek Phillipe


Grand Complication

There is no discussion of the history of annual calendar moon phase watches without Patek Philippe being placed front and center. As you may know, I also publish PatekMagazine.com, and I am very fond of Patek Phillipe watches. The Patek Philippe pocket watch seen below is the first known Grand Complication ever made. The grand complication pocket watch was made for American industrialist Stephen S. Palmer and went on to become the archetype for the modern moon phase watch.

The first grand complication Patek Phillipe featured a minute repeater, along with a perpetual calendar split-seconds chronograph that featured moon phases. Its design language is magnificent late Art Nouveau with a timeless elegance that was also very balanced and highly symmetrical.




Dalai Lama 
Reveals His Patek Philippe Pocketwatch
Gift from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943

A few years ago I wrote a story on Jake's Patek Philippe World about the Dalai Lama and his Patek Philippe pocket watch that was a gift from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943. Until that day back in 2016, the Dalai Lama's Patek Philippe had never been seen, but in the photo below we see his holiness showing his watch off in Washington DC.


The photo below is a close-up photo of his Holiness, The Dalai Lama holding his Patek Phillipe & Company [Reference 658] pocket watch. The Dalai Lama's pocketwatch is a magnificent masterpiece of horology, and its design language is that of a later Art-Deco. I am sharing these images as an example of design language Patek Philippe successfully incorporated into their wristwatch line a few decades earlier on a more-or-less experimental basis.







Patek Phillipe


First Perpetual Calendar


Wrist Watch

The photo below is what is believed to be the very first Perpetual Calendar wristwatch ever made, which featured a moon phase indicator. Patek Philippe began working on the movement for this watch in 1898 which was used in a women's pendant watch. The woman's pendant watch never sold, so in 1925, Patek Philippe decided to place the movement in a 34.4MM wristwatch case. This first Patek Philippe perpetual calendar wristwatch seen below was custom made for Thomas Emery, who was an American collector that commissioned multiple Patek Philippe watches. 




1926 Rolex Oyster
The First Waterproof Wristwatch

Rolex and Patek Philippe are remarkably similar in many ways. I would say if Rolex is the Mercedes of watches, Patek Philippe would be the Rolls Royce of watches. In other words, Rolex was obsessed with making very sturdy practical utilitarian watches, and Patek Philippe was obsessed with making magnificently beautiful watches, that were the height of precise elegance. As time went by, Rolex moved toward making complicated watches, and Patek Philippe moved towards making more simple watches that were sturdy. That being said, Rolex and Patek Philippe have always been my two favorite brands.

In 1926 Rolex introduced a watch that revolutionized watchmaking, and that was the Rolex Oyster, which was the first waterproof watch in history. 







1927 Patek Philippe Triple-Date Calendar
Seminal Moon phase Model

A year later, in 1927 Patek Philippe created a triple date masterpiece that was the first annual calendar wristwatch to feature a centered moon phase indicator, as well as having digital aperture windows for the three letter day and month indicators. These early Moon phase watches were never produced in any kind of significant quantity and are extremely rare and valuable. It was not until 1941 with the launch of the Reference 1518, which was a perpetual calendar chronograph, as well as Reference 1526 which was a full perpetual calendar that Patek Philippe went into serial production. 

The early Patek Philippe Moon Phase watches were styled as Avante-Garde, Art-Deco masterpieces. It is challenging to understand today just how innovative this watch was when it was made in the late 1920s. For instance, this is the first digital wristwatch I know of with digital day-of-the-week and month discs which are read through rectangular aperture windows.



Paul Boutros from Phillips Auction house took this recent photo of this amazing triad of early Patek calendar watches at the Patek Phillippe Museum located in Geneva, Switzerland. If you ever visit Geneva, be certain to take a tour of the Patek Museum which is stupefying!!! In this photo we see the watch pictured above (left) as well as a very similar model on the right.





1937 Patek Philippe
Retrograde Triple-Date Moon Phase
Reference 96


I took the photo seen below in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Switzerland of The Reference 96, which came along ten years after the last reference in 1937. This model finally moved the moon phase indicator in the lower centered position.








1944 Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar
35mm Reference 1591

This is a beautiful and unique Patek Philippe Reference 1591 pictured on the cover of the Christie's Geneva Important Pocket Watches and Wrist Watches from November 12, 2007. This one-of-a-kind stainless steel 1944 Patek Philippe Reference 1591 sold for $2,240,714. This Patek Philippe features later art-deco styling and has largely remained the modern archetype for annual calendar triple-date moon phase watches. It features unusual Syringe Hands that are covered in lume.


In an ironic twist of fate, Patek Philippe created an updated version of this model and released it at BaselWorld in 2017 This new model has a reference number of 5320G and is now an automatic perpetual calendar as seen below. Patek Philippe made its first self-winding movement in 1962.




Academy Award Winner For Best Actor

...Patek Philippe Super-Coolness...

Clark Gable
Triple Date Moon Phase
Reference 1526





Clark Gable is probably best known for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War Epic Saga film Gone With the Wind. The American Film Institute, in 1999 named Clark Gable seventh among the greatest male stars of all time.



I included a photo of a similar model below that shows what Clark Gable's Patek Philippe model looks like.





Patek Philippe Moon Phase
Annual Calendar
Reference 1526

This 34mm beauty has a movement made in 1942 and the case was completed in 1948. It sold for $2,773,721 at Chistie's Auction House on November 16, 2009.








Video Killed The Radio Star



1945
The Very First Rolex Datejust

Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1906 in London, England, and later moved its headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland in 1928. Rolex was renowned for making simple wrist-watches that were very innovative. Rolex under Hans Wilsdorf's tutelage was a very disruptive company, as they were the first to pioneer and market waterproof watches as well as the first to successfully bring to market automatic watches that winded themselves by capturing kinetic energy from wrist movement, and these radical automatic movements were dubbed, "Rolex Perpetual." 

In 1945 Rolex introduced another super innovative feature, known as the date window complication. The watch below was named the Rolex Datejust, but notice it lacks a "Datejust" dial designation.



The 1945 Rolex Datejust pictured above became the archetype for all modern Rolex watches. Despite this fact, I believe it was a highly experimental watch, and I believe it's unlikely Rolex knew at the time it would become such a harbinger. It is interesting to note Rolex introduced the Datejust 4 years BEFORE they introduced their first Triple Date Moonphase.







The First 

Rolex Moon Phase

Reference 8171


Antiquorum Rolex Moon Phase 
[Reference 8171]

This is a fascinating tale of two Rolex moon phase models that ran concurrently.

The Reference 8171 is the first Moon Phase watch Rolex ever made, and Rolex made this reference from 1949 to 1952. The Rolex Reference 8171 triple date Moon Phase was dubbed "Padellone" by Italian collectors. "Padellone" translated into English means "Frying Pan." Rolex made this watch in yellow gold, pink gold and in stainless steel. Nobody know for sure how many Reference 8171 models Rolex made but it appears as if they made around 300 in yellow gold and 300 in pink gold, and the best scholarship suggests they made even more in stainless steel.

One of the other really cool things about the Rolex Moon Phase [Reference 8171] is even though it was made between 1949 and 1952, it was unusually large at the time at 38mm, which makes it timeless today. The 8171 has a snap-on-back case, so it was NOT waterproof.




The Rolex Reference 8171 Moon Phase featured what today would be considered to be a more vintage looking Rolex coronet (crown) logo coupled with pointed and tapered 5 minute markers known as 'applied dagger indexes'. The 8171 was only available with leather straps and never came with a metal bracelet.

Pictured below is a very rare, Pink-Gold Rolex Triple-Date Moon Phase [Reference 8171] which was made in 1949 and auctioned by Christie's Auction house. Christie's pointed out in their auction catalog "Rolex has produced only two different models of moon phase wristwatches, reference 8171 and 6062. Both models are automatic, however, reference 8171 has a snap on back, while reference 6062, the Oyster version, is fitted with a water-resistant type screw back."

"Reference 8171 was made in a small series between 1949 and 1952, mostly in yellow gold. Examples in pink gold or stainless steel are very rare."




This magnificent Rolex moon phase [Reference 8171] exceeded the estimated sales price at the Christie's auction [LOT 16/Sale 1357] on November 17, 2008 in Geneva of between $140k - $220K to sell for $250K. You can learn more about this beautiful watch by visiting the  Christie's auction page for this watch by clicking here.








Phillips Auction Results

1950 Rolex Moonphase

38MM Reference 8171

Sells for $973,975


If you are a regular reader of Jake's Rolex World you know I am a huge fan of the vintage Rolex Moonphase models. Over this last weekend in Geneva, Switzerland Phillips held its Spring auction which was dubbed "The Geneva Watch Auction: Nine". Phillips successfully auctioned this magnificently beautiful Rolex Moonphase for 980,000 Swiss Francs.





Catalogue Essay

Reference 8171 is lovingly dubbed "Padellone", which translates to "large frying pan" in Italian. Boasting a generous 38 mm case, it is slightly larger than its waterproof Oyster sibling, reference 6062. Both references 8171 and 6062 were the only two vintage Rolex models with moonphases, giving them a mythical reputation and cult-like following. Produced for a very short period of time in the early 1950s, reference 8171 and 6062 were available in yellow gold, pink gold, and stainless steel. 

Quite likely one of the greatest and best preserved yellow gold reference 8171s to surface on the market in recent years, this timepiece is an absolutely exceptional specimen. Displaying completely original lines, curves, and finishes, it best demonstrates the genesis and factory specifications of the mythical reference. The bezel is overwhelmingly crisp and displays a bevel at the base that would have instantly disappeared with polishing. Of particular note is that sharp Rolex coronet and case number that is visible and immediately legible on the caseback, attesting to the untouched nature of this timepiece. Furthermore, a deep and sharp hallmark is visible on the bottom of the lug. 

As with all "Padellone" watches, the beauty lies in the dial. Those in original condition, such as this one, are few and far between and appear infrequently on the market. This particular example is best characterized as extraordinary. The dial is undeniably original. The sharp track where the moonphase aperture meets the rim of the subsidiary dial is incredibly precise and correct. One would expect to see significant spotting to the dial considering that this watch is not waterproof and has a snap on caseback. Yet, it remains clear of blemishes. Furthermore, the two-tone design is unmistakable and the "Officially Certified Chronometer" script is visible and crisp. 

If these details and attributes have not already surpassed any collector's wildest expectations, this timepiece is furthermore accompanied by its original numbered hang tag and presentation box, adding yet another layer of collectibility. Interestingly, while the present watch has a snap-on caseback, the hangtag says "Rolex Oyster", showing how the retailers used whatever supplies and accessories they had in stock, at the time. Even the Rolex strap is the original to the timepiece, which is a marvelous feat in itself. 

To acquire a reference 8171 is a dream for many collectors today. Yet, to discover one fresh to the auction market and preserved in unpolished condition with an immaculate dial, is positively unheard of. It is unimaginable when a white whale of watch collecting comes to the market, and it is with great certainty that another will not appear soon






Cool Moon Phase from Philippe

Philippe put his Rolex Moon Phase 8171 on a dark brown, wide Alligator wristband strap and it looks amazing!!! Philippe really has a knack for experimenting with different looks and this look is awesome!!!






Rolex Moon Phase Madness

Rolex Reference 8171

Auctioned for over $1Million!!!

In November of 2016, 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. 



1950 Rolex Moon Phase 
Reference 8171

The first watch seen below came from lot 823, which is a stainless steel Rolex Triple-Date Moon Phase, 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 draw attention 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.








1950 Rolex Triple Date Moonphase

[Reference 8171: Black Dial]

The Rolex Reference 8171 Triple Date below was auctioned in 2014 by Sotheby's and sold for only $55,000. The watch is unique in the sense it features the red date hand with a hyper-faded moonphase disc. 


I would like to make a point about this watch. The design of the watch is a stunning work of art, but at auction it did not perform well because the marketplace collectors believed the dial had be redone. A noted watch expert elaborated: 

"Even if Rolex does the work, value is impacted dramatically versus a well-preserved original dial. Since your site is a great reference for collectors...it may be good to state clearly that so many Reference 8171s especially are found with refinished dials (since they were not water resistant) and buyer’s should beware of this fact."





Sotheby's Catalog essay read as follows:

Rolex produced two watches with moon-phases: the present model, Ref. 8171, with a snap back case, and Ref. 6062, an Oyster model with a screw back. 

The present lot features a previously unknown gilt and black dial, with moon phases in gilt, combined with a very well preserved stainless steel case. 

Very few examples are known to feature black dials, and the present lot most certainly has a factory original black and gilt dial, which most likely was refurbished by Rolex more than 40 years ago, based on the patina and wear overall. In close examination, the dial retains even bevels at the apertures and crisp gilt printing and tracks. The case back, with slight pitting, still retains the original serial number and coronet, although faded.

The Rolex reference 8171 is a must for any Rolex collector, and the present lot, with gilt black dial, excellent case, and preserved case back engravings meets all the requirements for the Rolex connoisseur.
For a similar example, see Dowling, J. & Hess, J., The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches, p. 209.



A Military Moon Phase Rolex from 1950

U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Pollitt's Rolex
[Reference 8171]

A few years ago Sotheby's auctioned off this rare stainless steel Rolex Triple-date moon phase, which U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Pollitt purchased in 1950 after returning from his tour of duty in Korea. Commander Pollitt wore his Rolex daily for decades. It sold years ago for $74,500.







1951 Black Dial "Padellone"Rolex Moon Phase
38MM Stainless Steel: Reference 8171

Black dial "Rolex Padellone" models are extremely rare and I remember the first time I ever saw one. I was speechless. The watch came from the family of a military officer, and the black pock marks in the stainless steel case are the result of exposure to salt water. This crazy patina is the result of the case never being cleaned for approximately 40 years.





The black dial is stunning, as it gives the watch a whole different vibe, which is more upscale, formal, nighttime. Also the red arrow pointer coupled with the blue moon phase dial, with the gold moon and stars, as well as the the gold date markers, coupled with the silver 5 minute markers gives the watch and American military flag kind of look.



Cortez Stainless Steel Moon phase Triple-Date
Reference 8171





Phillips Auction House

1987 Triple Date Moonphase Auction

Gustavo @RolexTudorPlanet sent in this wonderful sent of images from the Phillips New York Auction house from April 7, 1987.



Gustavo wrote:

Dear Jake,

I’m sending you some pictures of a Phillips auction catalogue from 1987 depicting a very beautiful Rolex Moonphase “Padellone” ref 8171 that you may want to use in your great Moonphase post. 

I like better the Ref 6202 Oyster version, however 8171s are harder to find in vintage literature. Here one in gorgeous condition featuring a gold and ebony wood bracelet, hardly seen!

Also on the back cover there is a Ref 6202 Stelline with a redone dial, which shows how little attention was put into this detail back then. 

The 8171 carried an estimate of 10,000-12,000 USD and the 6202 9,000-11,000 USD.

Cheers,

Gustavo



I love examining these old Rolex auctions which are often times shocking as to how much lower the prices were back then. Can you imagine paying only $10K for a triple date Rolex moonphase?









A Tale of Two Rolex

Moon Phase Models


The Rolex Triple-Date Reference 6062 is a calendar watch manufactured from 1950 to 1953 yet it remained in the official Rolex Master catalog until at least 1958. This is a bit of a peculiar fact as the Rolex 8171 Moon phase we just looked at in the section above was on the market from 1949 to 1952. So basically Rolex introduced the 8171 in 1949, which was 38MM, and not waterproof. Then a short year later in 1950 Rolex introduced the waterproof Reference 6062 Moon Phase which was 36mm. 

From 1950 to 1952 if you walked into a Rolex authorized dealer you would have seen these two Rolex moon phase models side by side. The 6062 stayed in production for another year in 1953, but if you went to an AD in 1953 you would have still likely seen both models in the case.


The Second Coming

of 

Rolex Moon Phase

16 MM Reference 6062



The Reference 6062 was the world's first waterproof triple calendar moon phase watch ever made. It is believed Rolex produce somewhere between 350 to 450 Reference 6062 models, of which there were around 350 yellow gold versions, 50 pink gold versions, and around 100 stainless steel versions. The yellow and pink gold versions has the "SWISS" dial designation at the bottom, and the Stainless Steel version had the "SWISS MADE" dial designation. Also the stainless steel versions of this watc were only made in 1953.

It was also the first Rolex watch that coupled a moon phase with an Oyster case as the Rolex Reference 8171 lacked an Oyster case. This made the 6062 an interesting watch as it incorporated a high-end complicated calendar with a bulletproof Rolex Oyster case.


A Beautiful Rolex Moon Phase
1952 Reference 6062



The Rolex Triple-Date Moon Phase pictured above features a two-tone silvered dial with arrow-shaped indexes, and an outer date chapter ring coupled with a date hand. The Day and Month are displayed in aperture windows with digital wheels. The hands are lumed dauphine style. This watch also carries the Officially Certified Chronometer certification.

Rolex triple date moon phase watches with black dials often had the moon featured on a black enamel sky. It is interesting to note that in Rolex's advertisement the ref. 6062 was referred to as the 'COSMOGRAPH'. 



The Rolex Reference 6062 was available on a leather strap, as well as with a Jubilee and Oyster bracelet, which served to significantly differentiate them from the previous generation Reference 8171 aesthetically. The Reference 6062 also came with many different dial variations. The 1953 6062 we see below appears courtesy of Phillipe's Auction House.






After Rolex discontinued the triple date moon phase watches the name 'COSMOGRAPH' went into hibernation, then decades later they brought it back exclusively to the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph model. Rolex has a habit of recycling names as they have done with other models like the original 1959 Rolex DEEP SEA model.






On The Hunt For the REAL


Rolex 6062 Moon Phase


1957 Rolex Master Catalog


The Truth Is Out There

On April 22, 2020 I first published this story which showcased the 1958 Rolex Master Catalog (which can be seen below the 1957 catalog in this story).

Gustavo @rolextudorplanet sent in the 1957 Rolex Master Catalog as we see below. 




Gustavo pointed out the 1957 Rolex Master Catalog features the Reference 6062 Moohphase which can be seen on the far right of row two and said: 

"This watch page is just mesmerizing with DJs, DD, a 6062 moon phase and some chronographs."






Rolex 6062 Moon Phase



1958 Rolex Master Catalog



Wulf Schütz @RareAndFine, who is from Switzerland sent in pages from the 1958 Rolex Master Catalog which show the Triple-Date Rolex Moon Phase Reference 6062 was still available as seen on the far left in the last row pictured below.












...Comparison Shot Of The Day...

1950s Rolex Moon Phase v. LV Submariner

Years ago, when I was down at Fourtane Jewelers in Carmel, California I had a chance try on a yellow gold Rolex Moon Phase [Reference 6062] and I just happened to be wearing my LV Submariner on a fatsrap. It is fascinating to note the moonphase was made in the early 1950s–literally a half-century before the LV Submariner. 







1952 Rolex Moonphase

36MM Reference 6062

Sells for $544,987


Phillips also successfully auctioned this beautiful "Little Star" Rolex moonphase which has a Super-Oyster Case. This is also one of my favorite Rolex models of all time.





Catalogue Essay

Launched at the Basel fair in 1950, reference 6062 was the first automatic wristwatch with date and moonphases to be housed in a waterproof case. Cased in stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold, the model was fitted with a number of dial variants. One of the most iconic versions is without a doubt, one fitted with eight faceted stars in lieu of hour numerals, such as the present watch. Such is the desirability, and popularity of the watch, that collectors have dubbed it "Stelline", meaning "starlet" in Italian. Reference 6062 is one of two Rolex models to feature a triple calendar complication with a moon phase complication. While reference 6062 features a screw down Oyster caseback, reference 8171 features a snap-on caseback.

Few watches cause fervor and excitement among collectors like reference 6062 and 8171 can. While Rolex is particularly known for its sports models, such as the Submariner or Daytona, the manufacture has created some of the most sublime triple calendar wristwatches in the world. Over the years, these two models have garnered a cult-following, with condition being prized above all. 

The present "Stelline" is preserved in impressive condition. Most examples are spotted throughout, due to aging and exposure to environmental elements. Yet, this dial barely has any 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 luminous dots have aged evenly with the numerals, both having aged with warm patina. The yellow gold case, preserved in excellent and sharp condition, displays a sharp hallmark to the bottom of the lug.

Of particular note is that caseback engraving bearing "S.W Levitan Wash. D.C." Research shows that Simon W. Levitan was an accountant for more than 50 years and the former president of the D.C. Board of Accountancy. On top of his many achievements, he was even a special agent during his lifetime.

Fresh to the auction market, the present watch has resided in a private collection for many years. Rarely does this model come at auction, no less in such desirable and impressive condition.







Rolex Moon Phase
Breaks All Previous Rolex Auction Records

Sold for over $5 Million!!!!!

Rolex Reference 6062

Phllips Aucton House in Geneva set an all-time Rolex auction record when they sold this 1952 Black dial Rolex moon phase for 5,065,594.75 in Geneva!!! This particular Triple-Date Rolex Moon phase was once owned by Bao Dai, who was the Last Emperor of Vietnam.










PHILLIPS Catalogue Essay


Spring of 1954. Geneva. Following the Indochina war, the world powers meet in Switzerland to negotiate with the Viet Minh on the future of Vietnam. During a recess, a man steps out of the Hotel des Bergues where informal negotiations took place to stretch his legs and get some fresh air. He doesn't know it yet, but his country will soon be split in two and he will be known as the Last Emperor of Vietnam.

He decides to take a stroll but his footsteps take him only across the street to Chronomètrie Philippe Beguin, a famed Rolex retailer. The Emperor’s request to the staff is a simple one. He wants the rarest and most precious Rolex ever made. Before the numerous refusals of the different models presented to him, Rolex is called to the rescue and a clerk is rapidly dispatched from the Rolex workshops in the outskirts of Geneva, bringing with him a rare timepiece: the Rolex reference 6062 in yellow gold, with a black dial and diamond indexes. 

A timepiece that will forever be associated with the Last Emperor of Vietnam, even taking his name: Bao Dai

Born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, he was the 13th and last emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty. It was not until he ascended the throne in 1925 at age 12 that he was granted the title of Bao Dai – Keeper of Greatness. Bao Dai championed reforms in the judicial and educational systems, and tried to end the more outdated trappings of Vietnamese royalty. He ended the ancient mandarin custom that once required aides to touch their foreheads to the ground when addressing the Emperor. 

Not only a man of wealth, Bao Dai was also a man of taste. He commissioned the greatest artisans of the time to create superb unique creations fit for an Emperor, may it be a villa, private yacht or car (he notably owned a famed Ferrari 375 MM Spyder rebodied by Scaglietti to a blue/silver Tour de France). He wanted the best and had the eye and finesse to recognize it.

This elusive Rolex 6062, cased in yellow gold, is one of only three black dial models known to be set with diamond markers. While two examples feature six diamond markers for odd hour numbers, the present lot displays five diamond numerals for even numbers and a different dial layout, making this piece truly unique. It is interesting to note that due to the diamond numeral at 12 o'clock, the Rolex crown was moved down, consequently making it impossible to have the "Rolex Oyster Perpetual" above the day and month apertures. The "Officially Certified Chronometer" wording was also removed from the center of the dial and placed below the moon phase indication.

This timepiece is not only extremely desirable due to its imperial provenance, but is also a condensate of Rolex's genetic code: the iconic Oyster case, a Rolex "perpetual" in-house movement and of course the ultimate rarity of a full calendar complication featuring a moon phase display. The reference 6062 embodies what Rolex stands for without a shred of compromise. 

The “Bao Dai” first appeared on the market in 2002, consigned by the family of the Emperor, where it was already sold by Phillips for a record breaking CHF 370’000, making it the most expensive Rolex ever sold at the time. We are delighted to offer this Rolex milestone 15 years later, from the collection of the second owner. The watch is still in spectacular, untouched and unrestored condition.

Its imperial provenance, rarity and superb condition make the "Bao Dai" one of the most valuable timepieces ever produced regardless of the brand.




Below is an awesome photo of the Bao Dai Rolex Moon Phase from Hodinkee.com, which was included in their coverage this same story. I am so stoked to see they had the WISdom to take the excellent wrist show below, as it really gives you and idea of what this watch looks like in real-life, being worn on a wrist.




The photo below is from John Goldberger's book, 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, and shows the Bao Dai in a photo taken many years ago.








Emperor Haile Selassie

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar

37MM 1954 Reference 2497


After examining Bao Dai's Triple Date 6062 which was made in 1954 I would be remiss if I didn't mention Emperor Haile Selassie's Patek Philippe Reference 2497 which in my mind is the Yin to Bao Dai's Yang. I covered the auction of this magnificent specimen on PatekMagazine.com back in 2015. In my option this Patek Phillipe Perpetual Calendar Triple Date Moonphase is one of the most beautiful watches ever made.







...The Most Beautiful Complicated Rolex...

1950 Rolex Moon Phase
36MM Yellow Gold: Reference 6062

This next tripled date moon phase with the black dial is also from John Goldberger's book, and it is my favorite Rolex Triple-Date Moon phase of all time. It differs from the Bao Dai, in that it features simple lumed star indices which are commonly referred to as "Stelline", which in Italian means starlets, or little star.









Philipps

Black Dial Moonphase

May 15th, 2016 Auction


In the photo below we see another Rolex 6062 Moon phase with the rare black dial that was auctioned by Phillips on May 15, 2016 for close to a Million Dollars. I think I prefer it over the one pictured above, as its date hand has a red arrow head, which ads that awesome "Rolex Touch Of Red". Notice that both of these watches feature star shaped 5-minute markers with the lume circle plots located in the middle of the star markers. 






In the photo below we see the movement removed from the Reference 6062 case with all components still in place.





In the photo below we see the crown side of the Rolex Moonphase Reference 6062 and notice a few interesting characteristics. First we see the "ROLEX SUPER OYSTER" designation etch into the winding crown. The 6062 was the very first triple date calendar watch to feature a waterproof case and I believe that is why Rolex used this interesting nomenclature. Also, notice the very small pusher heads which the watch featured on both sides. These pushers are used to change the Day, Date and Moonphase settings and require a small pointed tool in order to initiate.











In this next photo we see the Rolex 6062 with the screw down case-back removed to expose the Rolex Perpetual Rotor which autowinds the movement by capturing energy from wrist movement.




In the photo below we see the inside of the Rolex Reference 6062 case-back which is a work of art in-and-of-itself.






Christie's Rare

Watches Auction

May 13th in Geneva Catalog


On April 13th, 2019, Christie's auctioned some beautiful Rolex watches in Geneva, Switzerland and you can see the cover of the catalog below which featured a beautiful Pink 'Stelline' Rolex Moonphase [Reference 6062].



Christie's referred to this pink gold Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase watch as "The Pink Stelline", which was made in 1952 which features a case number of 788,634.


Christie's did an AMAZING job of showcasing many of the fine details on this beautiful Rolex Reference 6062 as we see with the images below. This first image shows the Rolex 6062 Reference Number engraved in between the top lugs.



Next we see the 7 day and 12 month discs along with the moon face moon phase disc.


Below we see the dial isolated by itself. Notice how simple and great-looking this dial is!


In this next image below we see the backside of the Rolex 6062 dial which features two feet and two rectangular apertures for the displaying the corresponding day and month, as well as the hole for the second hand and visible moon phase area.
Next we see the movement inside the Rolex Reference 6062 close up.


The "Stelline" which is Italian for "Little Star" Rolex Reference 6062 seen below appears courtesy of Stefano Mazzariol and it is a more standard silvered dial yellow gold Rolex moon phase on a matching Oyster Bracelet which gave it a sportier dress watch look and vibe. 




The photos below also show a Rolex Reference 6062, with Star and pyramid indices. This time on a crocodile strap.







The yellow gold beauty below with pyramid indicies was auctioned by the Antiquorum as lot 231 for $119,600 on April 17, 2008. It features a 'T SWISS T' service dial.













Photo Credit: Paul Boutros






















1952 Rolex Moon Phase 
Reference 6062

The next watch seen below is from lot 816, and it features a yellow gold Rolex Triple-Date Moon Phase 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.










Miles Magnificent Moon phase

Miles from the Westmidlands in the UK sent in these beautiful images of his magnificent and very rare Rolex Moon phase Reference 6062 with the Rolex Super Oyster case.

Miles bought this beauty from the original owner and it came with all the original papers including the timing certification. The original owner was presented the watch for outstanding work by his company in 1952.

After purchasing this 6062 with the "Egyptian" dial he had it serviced to make it look as great as possible.



The reason this extremely rare dial is named The Egyptian Dial is because the indices are all pyramid shaped in one way or another and the hands are "dauphine" which is a sword shaped hand that was very popular in the 1950s. This style of design which is Art-Deco in the 1950s is commonly referred to as Populux.



The Rolex Super Oyster Case



Rolex referred to the special case on the 6062 triple-date Moon phase as the Super Oyster Case and if you click on the image above you can see the special engraving on the winding crown. This magnificent watch also came with a domed crystal.



Original Documentation

The original documentation and COSC certification is pictured below. Original documentation accompanying a Rolex that was made in 1951 is extremely rare. Since the watch was sold in 1951 if you look closely you see that on the COSC certification on the left at the bottom it has cities of the world where Rolex had headquarters and among the cities is Havana, Cuba. Talk about a 1950s watch!!!


If any Rolex designers or marketing personnel are reading this, please bring back this magnificent watch. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful, elegant and timeless watches ever made.







Miles Moon Phase

When I looked at this first photo of Miles' Beautiful Rolex 6062 Moon phase, it made me realize I had never seen a photo of a Rolex Moon phase on a wrist. We are so used to seeing sterile studio shots that are museum-like, it is easy to forget the Moon phase is even a wrist watch. 

I sent Miles an email to ask him if he could take some more wrist shots of his 6062 for us to enjoy and the next day he sent in the second photo. He is going to take some more from different angles and hopefully one with a tuxedo cuff with the french cuff sticking out with some elegant cufflinks. That way we can get a real feel for the stunningly elegant Rolex.

What a beautiful watch!!!






Below is another example of the 6062 with star indicies.






The Stainless Steel 6062 Models

Rolex offered the 6062 in stainless steel models which are very rare today as they did not make very many of them. The model below is very rare as it features a black dial with arrowhead 5-minute markers.







Stainless Steel Rolex Moon Phase

The $2 Million Dollar Rolex

Phillips Auction  












Phillips Catalogue Essay

Few watches can cause fervor and excitement among collectors like the mythical reference 6062 and 8171. While Rolex is particularly known for its sports models, such as the Submariner or even Daytona, the manufacture has created some of the most sublime triple calendar wristwatches in the world. Rolex has only ever produced two references that feature a triple calendar complication with moon phases. While the present watch, reference 6062 features a screw down Oyster case back, its sibling reference 8171 is fitted with a snap-on case back. 


Launched at the Basel fair in 1950, reference 6062 was the first automatic wristwatch with date and moon phases that was housed in a waterproof case. Cased in stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold, the model was fitted with a number of dial variations. Among the most exclusive and desirable versions are ones cased in stainless steel, with no more than two dozen examples having survived in different conditions, surfacing on the market thus far. 


We are delighted to present this reference 6062, which has remained in excellent and unrestored condition. The most impressive stainless steel reference 6062 to appear in the public space in recent years, it presents an opportunity to satiate even the most demanding of collectors and watch scholars.


Featuring Arabic numerals at 3 and 9 o'clock, it features a lacquered silvered finish in the main portion of the dial, along with an ivory grené outer ring, providing great contrast and depth to the watch. The angled date and day apertures demonstrate the dial's originality, along with the sharp track where the moonp hase aperture meets the rim of the subsidiary dial. The luminous material is placed exactly where it should be - precisely outside the silver-colored facetted relief hour markers and next to the Arabic numerals, reflecting Rolex's extremely stringent standards in quality. The outer date ring, too, is correct. The printing displays an inky blue hue which one would expect on an original example. The font is correct, with characteristic "open 6 and 9s". Considering the watch is over sixty years of age, it is remarkable that the dial has not been spotted or tarnished. This example remains free of noticeable imperfections in part to its waterproof Oyster case that still bears "Modele Depose" and "Registered Design" on the case back, interspersed with a curved rectangular design. 


This dial, coupled with a stainless steel case, makers for a particularly impressive combination, really embodying the characteristics of a most classic iteration of reference 6062 cased in stainless steel.


During the period, stainless steel wristwatches were often bought for everyday wear. The fact is even more pertinent as stainless steel examples retailed for much less than their yellow gold counterparts, hence at the time, considered not as "valuable". Consequently, many surviving examples are not preserved in their original form, and heavily polished or corroded due to their function as a "tool watch". Barely a handful today exist is original condition, and often break world records when they do appear on the market. 


Examples like the present watch, with its full proportions and facets are completely phenomenal. 


The present watch is furthermore proudly, and prominently illustrated in John Goldberger's book 100 Superlative Rolex Watches on pages 138 and 139. Every detail of the watch is carefully and painstakingly photographed to showcase its beauty.






11/13/2008


Next is this ultra rare stainless steel Rolex reference 6062 automatic triple calendar with moon phases and Jubilee bracelet. This watch is ultra-rare because it is stainless steel. Rolex made many more in gold. This stainless steel Rolex has an estimated range between $140k-$220k. [Lot 349]




The best scholarship suggests the watch below is not correct as Rolex is believed to have never made the Reference 6062 in stainless steel with star markers on the dial.









This is an extremely rare Stainless Steel Rolex Triple Date Moonphase with an early Jubilee Bracelet.









Red Hand with Black Moon
1953 Reference 6062

Antiquorum Auction House in Geneva, Switzerland sold this rare and beautiful Rolex Triple-Date Moonphase in March of 2011 for $76,000. It has a very rare red date hand coupled with an unusual black-back moon disk.

Update: John Goldberger wrote in to say that the dial on this watch is a "fake redone dial" and said "The quality of your blog is declining?" It is pretty funny, to have a guy like John Goldberger who is one of the top Rolex and Patek Philippe collectors in the world constantly pointing out errors I make ;-) Actually, I like his assistance.









Rolex Studio Shot Of The Day
Stainless Steel Oyster Triple Date Moonphase
Reference 6062

This very rare stainless steel Rolex Moonphase recently sold at an Antiquorum auction for $176.500.





Marlon Brando Rolex
All The Crazy Moonphases


John Goldberger, the author of 100 Superlative Rolex Watches pointed out that in the 1960 movie, The Fugitive Kind, starring Marlon Brando and Joanne Woodward, that Marlon Brando mentions his Rolex Moonphase 6062. John also points out that he thinks the watch is a chronograph, but I can't see it well enough to tell. I definitely see the moonphase on the dial of the watch when Marlon hands it to Joanne.

John Goldberger pointed out to me in an email "I think this is the first Rolex advertising in the movies because I bet the original book or script by Tennessee Williams didn't exist with the words Rolex Chronometer."

John Goldberger mentioned "Tennessee Williams wrote the script for The Fugitive Kind in 1937, at which time Rolex had NEVER made a Moonphase of any kind. This means that in 1960, the screenplay authors added the words Rolex Chronometer as well as the description for the Moonphase. Also, the description is too precise for the knowledge of a film-maker, and the supreme irony is that the model was out of production in 1960!!"









King Constantine II of Greece 
Reference 6062

In the photos below we see King Constantine of Greece when he was a Prince in the Oval Office with President Eisenhower taken in the late 1950s.



Nick Gould discovered the photo below of King Constantine II of Greece wearing his Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase on a gold Rolex Oyster Bracelet.









Karl Lagerfeld 
Reference 6062


Designer, Karl Lagerfeld wore a Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase on a Jubilee bracelet as we seen in the image below taken in 1992.






Nick Gould discovered this photo of Karl Lagerfeld taken in 1984 wearing his Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase on a Jubilee bracelet. If you didn't notice the dial on this watch it would have been easy to confuse it with a Rolex Datejust.








Nicolas Cage 
Reference 6062


Nicolas Cage is one of many famous actors who has won the Academy Award for Best Actor, that have worn Rolex watches. Nicolas Cage's birth name was Nicolas Coppola is an amazing actor and has starred in many major motion pictures including Valley Girl (1983), Birdy (1984), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Raising Arizona (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Wild at Heart (1990), The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Con Air (1997), City of Angels (1998), Adaptation (2002), to name only a few. He is the nephew of leading director, Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, and is the cousin of directors Sofia Coppola and Roman Coppola.






Nicolas Cage is pictured above wearing what would appear to be a yellow gold Rolex Datejust. on a jubilee bracelet, but if you examine it closely, he is wearing a Rolex Moonphase Reference 6062. Nicolas was married to Elvis Presley's daughter,  Lisa Marie Presley, and if you look closely in the photo below, Nicolas is rockin' his Rolex Moonphase 6062. 








This is one of the most beautiful Rolex models ever made. It is a calendar "triple-date" moon phase with star indices that was made 68 years ago in 1950. It is simple yet sophisticated and in like-new condition. This beauty was auctioned five years ago by Christie's in Geneva, Switzerland on November 16, 2005, for $594,155.





In the photo below we see Nicolas Cage with Lisa Marie Presley and he is wearing a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date.













1951

36 MM GALAXY STAR DIAL

Reference 6088


One of my favorite vintage Rolex watches has always been the Rolex GALAXY STAR DIAL Oyster Perpetual Reference 6088. I am including this model in this article as it was made around the same time as the 'Stelline' Rolex 6062 Triple-Date and featured the same star indices. 




The STAR dial featured eight star markers as seen below. Le Monde Edmond wrote a superb in-depth article that offers great insight into this model which I highly recommend reading. The Rolex Star Dial above appears courtesy of Christie's Auction House. Rolex produced these STAR dial models from 1950 to 1955 with many subtle different characteristics.















1953

34 MM Reference 6090

It is fascinating to study Rolex watches from the 1950s which incorporated a great deal of late art-deco design language. In particular, Rolex made a later generation 'Bubble Back' model that is commonly referred to today as the 'Bombay'. This watch featured an unusual case design that had a lug structure different from most Rolex Oyster Models. This model was a transitional model as it used the new significantly updated applied Rolex Crown Logo.



I am madly in love with the design and the simplicity of this watch and I wish Rolex would bring back this model, but in a more modern 40MM diameter. Notice the quilted honeycomb dial give the watch an added 3 Dimensionality.




These models included the "ROLEX SUPER OYSTER" designation on the winding crown as pictured below.












1955

The Very First Rolex Day-Date

The Triple-Date Moon Phase gave way to the Day-Date known by it's nickname of The Rolex President. I believe Rolex discontinued the triple date moon phase model in the later 1950s in order to focus on the Day-Date, which was simple and modern as well as being unique and proprietary to Rolex. The triple date Rolex moon phase models looked like similar watches on the market from many other brands, and I believe Rolex wanted to differentiate itself from the rest of the market. All of this strategic decision making occurred under Hans Wilsdorf’s tutelage. 

Essentially, the Datejust which had been introduced ten years earlier in 1945 was the first to offer a simple digital time aperture window, where all the triple date watches used a hand to point to a wheel that had 1-31 days printed out. The gave the watch a cleaner look, and with the Day-Date if was the first to spell out the entire DAY of the week, as well as offering the DATE, thus eliminating the month, which makes sense in many ways.

The early history of the Rolex Day-Date is super fascinating to me. I recently came across two early examples I want to share with you as they share a great deal of DNA with the Rolex Reference 6062 Triple-Date Moon Phase models. Both of these watches are owned by Mario Dissette @MarioDissette and he recently shared some fascinating insight with me on them.

The first Rolex Day-Date pictured below was made in 1955 and features a red date wheel along with the matching red DAY-DATE dial designation. This is a Reference 6511 and notice it also features the depth rating under the "Oyster Perpetual" dial designation.




Next we see a 1958 Rolex Day-Date (Reference 6612) featured on a riveted yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet along with a plan domed bezel. Both watches above and below feature the SAME ultra-timeless Dauphine hands found on the Rolex Reference 6062 Triple Date Moon Phase. Also, notice the pointed and tapered baton 5-Minute markers which are steeped in late art-deco design language. In the 1960s Rolex moved away from dauphine and leaf hands by squaring off the 5-minute markers as well as the hands, but to my way of thinking the Rolex Day-Date never looked so share (pun intended) as when it had the dauphine hands and pointed markers...








Back in April of 2011 I wrote a seminal article on one of my favorite Patek Philippe Moon Phase models I owned which was a Reference 3940 which was a Perpetual Calendar. This is one of favorite watches of all time and it is good read.







Franck Muller

Designed a 36MM Rolex Moon Phase in 1988


There is a fascinating story I heard years ago that said up-and-coming watch designer, Franck Muller in the late 1980s pitched Rolex on designing watches for them, and to give them an idea of what he had in mind he created, from a yellow gold Datejust his idea of the ultimate Rolex Moon Phase Annual Calendar which is seen below.




As the seemingly apocryphal story went Rolex was not impressed and Franck Muller ended up gifting it to a friend. Decades later, Jay-Z ended up purchasing this most unusual Rolex and we see him below wearing it.




Watchmaker and designer Franck Muller is commonly known today as "Master of Complications" and his watches are worn by many famous celebrities. Frank essentially took a yellow gold Rolex Datejust (Reference 16238) with a caliber 3135 series workhorse movement and modified it by adding complications including a moon phase indicator as well as day, date & month indicators as well leap year indicator, thus creating the first and only Rolex Perpetual Calendar ever made!










Jake Ehrlich

Rolex Moon Phase Concept

Since we just examined Franck Muller's Rolex Moonphase design concept I thought now would be a good time to share my own Rolex Moonphase concept with you. Beside having published Jake's Rolex World for the past dozen years, I have been a passionatie designer for the past four decades. I have designed everything from clothing to furniture to computers and accessories. For the past decade I have designed the best accessories for Apple products with my innovative design company named BulletTrain

To sum it up, I am a design fanatic of the highest order! I basically, eat, sleep and live for great timeless design—which is why I am a Rolex fanatic of the highest order!!! Years ago I designed a series of complicated Rolex watches which I showed Rolex, but they did not seem very interested, so I figured I would share them with you now as some of them featured annual calendar moon phase models. My first design seen below shows my conceptual Rolex Triple Date Moon Phase Design in a vintage 1950s Rolex Cushion Case (Reference 6154). I love this concept of having a watch that is super sporty and elegant with very sophisticated yet simply presented complications.





What you are seeing with this overview of my design concept represent just a small fraction of the design reference I put together. Despite perhaps looking familiar my design is unique in many ways. First and foremost it is radically simple, while remaining sophisticated and timeless. Timeless design occurs when a design appears to be from the past and future simultaneously. My design is steeped in late 1950s art deco with the Dauphine hands, and the Day, Date and Month complications are designed in such a way that they also double as 3, 6 and 9 markers. In my personal opinion my moon phase concept is the first to truly deliver a flawless, perfect triple date (UI) user-interface. In other words, there have been many triple date moon phase models in the past that come close to perfection but nobody ever figured out how to make it absolutely perfect, which is what my design offers (If I don't say so myself :-).

When I went to visit Rolex for the first time in Geneva, back in 2013 I was in the airport and I had some time to kill as I was waiting for my international flight back to the United States and I snapped the photo below of a Bell and Ross watch, which I later super-imposed my Rolex Triple Date Moonphase design over to showcase what a Rolex Smart watch could look like. I realize to many readers the idea of Rolex creating a smart watch would equate to heresy but I think it would be really cool.




The two watches below offer a look at what classic stainless steel Rolex would look like with my Triple Date concept design. This model offers a perfect balance of sportiness and sophistication.
There are many details that set my Rolex concept design apart from anything that exists today. Keep in mind I created this design reference before Rolex introduced their Cellini Moonphase models several years ago. Notice on the dial that it simply says "GENVE" under the Rolex model. In other words it lacks all the goofy & unnecessarily complicated COSC writing as well as the Oyster Perpetual designation which in the 21st century I perceive as being unnecessarily complex and superfluous.

Also notice my use of ruby red minute markers to offset the gold dagger 5-minute markers. I included this detail lower the contrast of the minute markers which are not typically that important to see or use, which results in a simpler design aesthetic.


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. 

—Leonardo da Vinci







The Return of the 


Rolex Moonphase

Reference Cellini 




Rolex MoonPhase

Instagram History Showcase


Back in 2017 Rolex published these amazing historical Rolex moon phase images on their Instagram page:




The images below show the three Rolex Moonphases from the Instagram post. Rolex begins with the Reference 8171, then shows the Reference 6062. 





The fundamental difference between the Rolex Moon Phase Reference 8171 pictured above, which was from 1949, compared to the Reference 6062, which is seen below, and is from around 1953, is the 6062 features a waterproof Oyster case, whereas the 8071 (pictured above) is not housed in a waterproof case.





I have to say that seeing Rolex post these images on the web sent shivers down my spine (in a good way). I say this as it is the very first time I recall Rolex showing the original moonphase watches from the late 1940s and 1950s since the 1950s!!! This is so cool...

The image below shows Rolex's current modern interpretation of the Moonphase, which comes in the form of a Rolex Cellini version.






What do I think about the current Rolex Cellini Moonphase? I think it is a great step in the right direction, but I also think there is tremendous room for improvement. In my opinion as a designer, it has way too much going on the dial and lacks the Day and Month aperture windows. In the image below I superimposed the Day and Month aperture windows on the current Moonphase, which I think makes it look way better. Also, I would replace the sword hands with the original Dauphine hands seen which came standard on the Rolex moonphase reference 8171 and 6062. 



I have been saying for a long time that Rolex should bring back the complicated Rolex moon phase models, so when they introduced them at BaselWorld in 2017 I was happy to see the return of the moon phase.

Just for the sake of illustrating my point, I put the 8171 dial in the new Cellini Moonphase case, which I believe perfectly makes my case...





Just for fun, on the image below, I put the new style Chellini Moonphase disc on the 8171 dial, and it looks interesting. I still prefer the old-school vintage 8171, but I think this shows there is almost unlimited potential for Rolex to evolve this model in the future...




At BaselWorld 2017, Rolex introduced its first new Moonphase in a half-century, but I want to make the distinction, that as nice as the new Rolex Moonphase may be, what I think people really want is for Rolex to bring back the triple date Moonphase.



The all-new for 2017 Rolex Cellini Moonphase is pictured above, and it features a date function, as well as phases of the moon, but I think it would benefit from triple date complications, as well as having an Oyster case.  I also think it would look better if it featured dauphine hands, as apposed to leaf hands, despite the fact the classic stainless steel Rolex 6062 Reference above also has leaf hands. 

I just think Dauphine hands are the most timeless, elegant, and classic hands ever made. In the future, I plan to do a review of this all-new Rolex Cellini dress watch, where I will go into detail on all of its characteristics. It is also great to see Rolex headed back into their heritage with their future-facing design language, as I have been arguing for a decade, that Rolex future is in its rich past.


-------------------Odds & Ends-------------------


I really hope at some point in the future that Rolex starts making complicated watches again just like the 8171.  They should really give Patek a run for their money.  Don't get me wrong, I love Patek Phillippe but I think it would be really cool to see Rolex making these beautiful moon phase models again using the original design language.








Rolex Moon Phase
[Referene 8171]

American Heritage Auction House sold this watch at auction years ago. The dial was completely redone as we see a bizarre minute/moon track. Also, the hands are incorrect on this watch.









The dial on this watch is similar as it was redone inaccurately.












Rolex Moon Phase on a NATO Strap
A Most Unusual Combination

This is a most unusual, but interesting combination. Roberto from Italy put his Rolex moon phase [Reference 8171] on a NATO strap and I think it looks really unusual.


My goal with this story is to not only showcase the magnificence of authentic Rolex moonphase watches, but also to act as informative Rolex guide on how to spot what is inauthentic. The reality is that there is so much money in these watches today so there are many bad actors who will try to make a quick buck my trying to pass off fake watches. One thing that has changed over the past dozen years since I started Jake's Rolex World is the power of the internet to provide real and meaningful scholarship to the masses. 

I have a fascinating story to share with you which illustrates this perfectly. In 2008, when I started publishing RolexMagazine.com I came across the image below of this purported Rolex Triple Date Chronograph on the website of one of the leading Rolex vintage dealers!?!! The strange thing was it lacked a a reference number. I investigated this watch and called it out as being inauthentic, and the dealer removed it from their website. Fast forward to today and you would NEVER see something like this being offered by a serious vintage Rolex dealer, and I believe this is due to the radically increased transparency and instant scrutiny the horological internet provides.




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