The present "Padellone", as Rolex aficionados affectionately call reference 8171, is a spectacularly well preserved and unusual example. In probably as original condition as when it left the Rolex manufactory in 1950, likely even with the very grey calf-leather strap and buckle, an experts' eye would quickly conclude that the case was never polished, the movement never serviced and the dial never cleaned. In fact, few examples of reference 8171 in any case material display in such impressive manner the original look of this legendary model.
Another particularity of this example here are the luminous hour markers and hands, harmoniously aged and perfectly matching the "grainé" or grained surface of the dial.
This watch with its full and incredibly crisp case, perfectly displaying the finely engraved case number and Rolex crown to the back, and the perfectly aged and appealing dial is one of the best opportunities for a Rolex connoisseur to add a trophy specimen to his collection.
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 (see lot 339 in this auction), 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 in stainless steel are very rare.