With nearly any aspect of collecting there is always the dream of finding a better, rarer and more perfect example of a certain type. Watch collecting makes no exception to this human aspiration and every passionate horologist is always hoping to upgrade his collection with the same model but better, which is in most cases always possible.
With the present stainless steel "padellone" reference 8171, its future owner will not be facing this challenge as, without exaggeration, it will be a sheer thing of physical impossibility to find a crisper, sharper and better preserved specimen of this landmark model.
Its case clearly never polished and its dial never touched, it reveals the finish the watch was given at Rolex when leaving the bench over half a century ago. Only "baptised" with a few extremely light surface marks it is widely acknowledged, since its first appearance in these salerooms in 2004, as the one example representing the gold standard for this model. Evidence of this bold statement are not only the then world record result when being acquired by its current owner, but also John Goldberger's choice to use this example for his Rolex bible. And for those who know John Goldberger, his impeccable and demanding taste but also the vast choice of watches he has examined during the making of 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, it is self-explanatory what this means for the present watch. R
At first sight even the untrained eye cannot but notice the pristine appearance radiating from this "padellone". The perfect shine of the flawless dial is in full symbiosis with the unspoilt case, impressing with its incredibly full proportions, the sharp edges to the lugs and the crispness of the engraved Rolex crown and serial number to the snap on back, as clear as if they had left the factory only yesterday.
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, 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.
This model is illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by J. Goldberger, pp. 76-78.