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We take a look at some of the notable lots as well as their performance at the auction by Phillips, Double Signed: A Celebration Of The Finest Partnerships Between Manufacturers And Retailers.
Only 6 out of the 62 available lots for bidding had failed to close, but we shall not be focusing on these lots. Instead lets take a look at some of the better performers of the evening.
Lot 6: 1935 Steel Rolex Oyster with “Bamboo” Bracelet
Ubiquitously known by many as the Bubbleback, the Rolex Oyster was nicknamed as such due to its distinctive protruding caseback, a design decision to accommodate the thicker automatic movement and its winding rotor.
Introduced in the 1930s till the 1950s, this particular example is an relatively early example with a fascinating dial design that is fully reflective of its context in time.
The 31mm diameter waterproof case, as emphasized by the Oyster designation, exhibits an interesting three-piece construction, with the bezel and movement assembly screwing into the caseback through a case frame. This patented case design allows for greater water tightness as pressure at great depths forces the bezel and caseback onto the frame, thus improving the seal.
Manufactured by renowned bracelet supplier Gay Frères, the Bonklip (also nicknamed as the “Bamboo”) bracelet was the typical bracelet to accompany the Rolex Bubblebacks and chronographs of the 1930s. The distinctive look of the bracelet gives more character to the watch which would have otherwise been outfitted with a more run-of-the-mill leather strap.
Once hugely popular in the 1990s, the Rolex Bubbleback has faced a decline in demand, in part due to their diminutive case dimensions by modern standards.
Estimate CHF 4,000 to 8,000
Despite its relative obscurity in comparison with fellow sports watches from Rolex, this lot managed to achieve a hammer price of CHF 23,750, almost 3 times its high estimate.
The sharp facets and defined edges on the 34mm diameter case (made of 18k white gold no less) is a clear testament to the high level of care taken in preserving the timepiece. The relatively larger dimensions of the case also gives the watch a more contemporary presence on the wrist.
The dial too shares exceptional condition, with no signs of humidity damage, which is no mean feat given the watch’s snap-on caseback, notoriously known to be a weak defence against moisture ingress. The diamond-set indexes lends an air of refined elegance to the otherwise clean and minimal dial layout.
Mit dir durch dick und dünn 8.X 56. Helly
Caseback Engraving on this Example
A hint towards its past life can be found in its caseback engraving, which translates to “With you through good times and bad times”, revealing its possible role as a commemorative gift in 1956.
Estimate CHF 6,000 to 12,000
This immaculate example managed to hammer at a respectable CHF 25,000, more than twice its high estimate of CHF 12,000.
One of the first Patek Philippe wristwatches to be produced in series with stainless steel in lieu of precious metals, the Ref. 565 was introduced while riding on the success of Patek Philippe’s classic dress watches. The addition of a soft iron inner case and screw-down caseback gave what would have been a delicate dress watch a much more utilitarian charm with its increased water and magnetic resistance.
Interestingly, the Ref. 565 came in a myriad of styles, appearing in gold and steel variants with indexes ranging from arabic to roman numerals. Most examples of this reference have a sub dial for the seconds hand at six o’clock, leaving those with a central seconds hand as the rarer variant.