Rolex has produced only two different models of moonphase wristwatches, references 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 (see lot 161 in this auction) or in stainless steel are very rare.
The present watch furthermore stands out by its excellent overall condition, the luminous dot indexes added to the top of the baton numerals and the luminous hands, a highly unusual feature rarely found in a reference 8171 and certainly added upon special request. The case is incredibly crisp and still retains the finely engraved case number and Rolex crown to the case back. The fascinating dial is rich in colour and does not show any cosmetic enhancements but only the best possible ageing. This watch can be considered one of the best preserved gold references 8171 seen in decades.