The present reference 3525 is without doubt amongst the most interesting and attractive examples of this celebrated model to be offered in public in recent years, both by its captivating history and its outstanding original condition.
During World War II, its current owner was held in Milag Nord, a German Prisoner-of-war camp in Military District X, located near Westertimke, Germany, where he worked in the kitchen. Having access to the food supplies, he was approached by a fellow prisoner, a Royal Airforce airman who had planned to escape from the camp, and traded 50 chocolate bars against the watch. It has remained in his possession ever since, most of the time safely locked away, and is despite its adventurous early years of existence preserved in superb original condition.
Made in 1941, the chronograph offered here for sale is from the first series with the reference and serial numbers on the outside of the case back as opposed to between the lugs of the later examples. The full and incredibly crisp case has hardly ever been polished, perfectly displaying the stamped serial and reference numbers to the back. The highly charismatic, beautifully aged black lacquered dial shows a subtle, dark brown tone, nicely harmonizing with the gold printing of the signature and scales.
Its fascinating history combined with the outstanding condition render it one of the exceedingly rare opportunities to enhance the collection of any discerning Rolex collector.
Production of reference 3525 was launched in 1939. The model was made in stainless steel, yellow and pink gold as well as steel and gold (yellow and pink). Different versions in regard to case material and dial layout are illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 96-107, and in I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 162-192.