• Important Watches  auction at Christies

    Sale 2212

    Important Watches

    15 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 156

    ROLEX. A FINE, RARE AND UNUSUAL 18K PINK GOLD WRISTWATCH WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL

    SIGNED ROLEX, CIRCA 1945

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    ROLEX. A FINE, RARE AND UNUSUAL 18K PINK GOLD WRISTWATCH WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL DIAL
    SIGNED ROLEX, CIRCA 1945
    Nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, mono-metallic balance, patented superbalance, gold and black enamel dial decorated with polychrome cloisonné enamel coat-of-arms, applied gold square-shaped and baton numerals, square-shaped french case, fancy downturned triangluar-shaped lugs, snap on back, dial and movement signed, case unsigned with french hallmarks
    26mm square


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    In the 1950s, the design of Rolex watches arrived at its peak, notably with the production of cloisonné enamel dial wristwatches.

    The production of these dials was extremely costly as they had to be individually made by a skilled craftsman and not on a production line.
    The artist created the outline of the desired motif by arranging thin gold wires on a dial. These partitions, called "cloisonné" in French, were filled with small quantities of enamel powder in the desired color. The dial was then fired in an oven at around 1000 degrees Celsius causing the powder to melt. Finally it was hand-polished until obtaining of a perfectly flat surface.

    Consequently, such dials were often made to special order representing a particular subject requested by the client.

    Rolex cloisonné enamel dial watches were and still are considered the most unusual and attractive watches the company ever made and are thus highly looked after by collectors.

    After further research in the archives of the dial manufacturer Stern Frères in Geneva, Rolex's supplier of dials at the period, has resulted in the discovery of the original drawing for the design of this rare and unusual Rolex cloisonné enamel dial.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.