Rolex. A highly important and exceptionally rare 18K gold automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and cloisonné enamel dial depicting a dragon by Nelly Richard
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… 顯示更多 ROLEXThe Cloisonné Enamel Dragon Ref. 6099THE PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER
Rolex. A highly important and exceptionally rare 18K gold automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and cloisonné enamel dial depicting a dragon by Nelly Richard

Signed Rolex, Perpetual Chronometer, ref. 6099, movement no. 53814, case no. possibly ?852?8, circa 1952

細節
Rolex. A highly important and exceptionally rare 18K gold automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and cloisonné enamel dial depicting a dragon by Nelly Richard
Signed Rolex, Perpetual Chronometer, ref. 6099, movement no. 53814, case no. possibly ?852?8, circa 1952
Movement: cal. A-296, automatic, 20 jewels, signed
Dial: cloisonné enamel on gold, the reverse stamped 103*770 and scratched “dessin No. 11” beneath the counter enamel
Case: screw back signed, reference 6098 erased and 6099 engraved below, 35 mm. diam.
With: gold-plated Rolex buckle and presentation box
注意事項
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price. Many of the watches offered for sale in this catalogue are pictured with straps made of endangered or protected animal materials such as alligator or crocodile. These endangered species straps are shown for display purposes only and are not for sale. Christie’s will remove and retain the strap prior to shipment from the sale site. At some sale sites, Christie’s may, at its discretion, make the displayed endangered species strap available to the buyer of the lot free of charge if collected in person from the sale site within 1 year of the date of the sale. Please check with the department for details on a particular lot.

拍品專文

Rolex watches embellished with a cloisonné enamel dial are amongst the rarest and most highly desirable prizes of all. Usually only six pieces of each design were ever made, the present watch being one of the fabled “dragon” designs made for Rolex by Stern Frères in collaboration with the enamel artist Mrs Nelly Richard.

Consigned by a descendant of the original owner, the fresh to the market provenance furthermore renders this masterpiece one of the most appealing "time only" Rolex wristwatches of all with a dial still as beautiful and vibrant as the day it was made over sixty years ago.

After decades of use with a leather strap, the serial number between the lugs is almost worn away. However, under high-power magnification, the trained eye can decipher some of the numbers ?852?8.

In the absence of a fully readable serial number, a likely date of manufacture of 1952 can be deduced after comparison with the other known watches with the “dragon” cloisonné dial from the same series. Interestingly the “dragon” dials are fitted to watches of varying references but all with serial numbers dating them to 1952. Most conclusively, the dials (where known) including the present watch are stamped on the back beneath the counter enamel with the same Stern code number 103 for Rolex and 770 which is the specific order number for the “dragon” design.

The inside of the case back of the present watch is stamped with reference 6098 which has been erased with four horizontal lines in typical fashion and correct reference 6099 engraved beneath. This was necessary because reference 6098 has a smooth polished bezel whereas 6099 has an engine-turned bezel. The case backs were of course interchangeable between the two references and the renumbering of the reference was done for accuracy.

Stern Frères
Founded in 1868, Stern Frères specialized in the production of highest quality dials including dials decorated with cloisonné enamel scenes which were supplied to eminent watch manufacturers.

The celebrated Nelly Richard worked for Stern Frères from the late 1940s until the 1950s, she executed the majority of the most famous cloisonné enamel dials featuring Neptune, dragons and maps commissioned not only by Rolex but also by Omega, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and others.

The production of these solid gold 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 900 degrees Celsius causing the powder to melt. Finally it was hand-polished until a perfectly flat surface was obtained. Hand-made by celebrated enamel artists, notably Nelly Richard and Marguerite Koch, these dials can be regarded as unique works of art in their own right.

Another Rolex watch with “dragon” cloisonné enamel dial is illustrated in: 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, John Goldberger, 2008, pp. 44-45.

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