In the 1950s, the design of Rolex watches arrived at its peak, notably with the production of cloisonné enamel dial wristwatches in conjunction with the renowned Charles Poluzzi.
Rolex reserved the enamel dials for only very few models. The best known reference numbers with either monochrome enamel or cloisonné enamel scenes are 6084, 6085, 6284 and 6285. The most popular motifs were the dragon, the viking boat, maps and the peacock as probably the rarest version.
In many cultures, the symbol of the peacock is considered auspicious and protective. The peacock is associated with the Middle Eastern deity Tammuz; in Greece it was sacred to Hera, queen of heaven and lawful wife of Zeus - a pair of them drew her chariot.
In the old Chinese bureaucratic system, members of the third highest level displayed a peacock as the insignia of rank. These badges were in the form of large embroidered squares applied to the front of an official's formal gown. A similar system for indicating status was used in the Byzantine Empire.
Peacocks are considered sacred in India, especially in the north where its feathers may be burnt to ward off disease, and even to cure snakebite.
In the iconography of European alchemy and hermeneutics, the peacock represents the soul. In Christianity, it stands for immortality and the incorruptibility of the soul. It is also an obvious solar symbol because of the resemblance between the rays of the sun and the circular fan of the tail in full display.
Carlo or Charles Poluzzi (1899-1978) was one of Geneva's most renowned enamellers. Poluzzi specialized in the production of dials decorated with cloisonné enamel scenes, which he supplied to important watch manufacturers such as Rolex, Omega, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe.
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 colour. 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, 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.
The present example, not offered publicly since 1989, is doubtlessly one of the most desirable cloisonné enamel wristwatches by Rolex.