• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1357

    Important Watches

    17 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 347

    Rolex. A fine and rare stainless steel and gold chronograph wristwatch


    Price Realised  


    Rolex. A fine and rare stainless steel and gold chronograph wristwatch
    Signed Rolex, Oyster Chronograph, Antimagnetic, ref. 3668, case no. 279'352, manufactured in 1943
    Cal. 13''' 23 VZ nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, silvered dial, applied baton and Arabic numerals, outer five minute divisions, two subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minute register, stainless steel tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, gold reeded bezel with engraved dot and baton hour markers, stainless steel screw back, gold screw down crown, 18K gold Rolex buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    35 mm. diam.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present watch is a rare example of reference 3668, featuring a highly unusual, beautifully aged silvered dial omitting all technical outer scales (tachymetre, telemetre or pulsometre) that one would usually expect on such a watch. Consequently the entire layout could be modified by moving the numerals further to the edge and enlarging the subsidiary dials. This results in better readability, both of the fifths seconds on the outer scale and the indications on the subsidiary dials. Interestingly due to the different dial proportions, the watch appears to be larger.

    After years of success with the newly invented Oyster model, a wristwatch with screw back and screw down crown, Rolex launched the first Oyster chronograph, reference 3481, in 1939. Immediately afterwards, its larger successor, reference 3668, was presented and remained in production for very few years only.

    Produced in small quantities, reference 3668 takes a unique position in the history of Rolex chronographs as it clearly stands out with its exclusive design incorporating a reeded bezel chased with hour markers.
    Another example of reference 3668 with a virtually identical dial is illustrated and described in The Best of Time - Rolex Wristwatches by James M. Dowling & Jeffrey P. Hess, p. 220.

    Different versions of reference 3668 are illustrated in I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 194 - 198.

    Special Notice

    Prospective buyers should be aware that the importation of Rolex watches into the United States is highly restricted. Rolex watches may not be shipped into the USA and can only be imported personally. Generally a buyer may import only one watch into the USA. For further information please contact our specialists in charge of the sale. Please note other countries may have comparable import restrictions for luxury watches.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of a discerning European Collector