Not only is the present watch a very rare and highly desirable vintage wristwatch in its own right but it also has the distinction of once being the personal property of one of the most famous and enduring artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol, an obsessive collector renowned for his excellent taste in fine watches, perfectly reflected in this Rolex reference 3525 with timeless appeal. It was sold as lot 250 during the sale of his extensive jewellery and watch collections in New York on 4 December 1988, then fitted with a leather strap which was replaced to a later date by the present, perfectly matching stainless steel and pink gold version.
The rarest variant of the celebrated model, featuring a stainless steel case with pink gold bezel, this ref. 3525 is doubtlessly also one of the most appealing and attractive examples. It impresses with a superb multi-scale dial with both tachymeter and telemeter scales and raised gilt numerals and indexes, showing a gently aged, extremely beautiful and soft patina, free of any cosmetic enhancements.
The Oyster case has retained excellent proportions, the numbers are crisp and clearly readable, the original Oyster Patent crown is still present. Made during the intermediate production of the reference, the serial number is stamped on the outside of the case back and the reference number inside, as opposed to between the lugs, a feature of later models.
Presented with an equally rare steel and gold riveted expanding bracelet, this ref. 3525 chronograph offers collectors truly a rare opportunity to acquire an already serious vintage Rolex further imbued with the inestimable cachet of once belonging to Andy Warhol, undoubtedly a great addition to any watch collection.
Introduced to the market in 1939, reference 3525 was made for the duration of the Second World War with production ending in 1945. Available in pink gold, yellow gold, stainless steel or steel and gold it was an important landmark model for Rolex, the reference being the very first chronograph wristwatch to be fitted with a water-resistant “Oyster” case with screw down crown.
Reference 3525 has the further distinction of being known as the “POW” or prisoner of war watch since it was the model supplied directly by Rolex to captured Western Allied airmen incarcerated in German camps, including Stalag Luft III made famous by the movie “Great Escape”.