An extremely rare Rolex watch was sold at Christie’s auction in New York for $1,145,000, way over its pre-auction estimate.
From the lot’s note:
For many collectors, and this is especially true of watch collectors, the search for a better, rarer, and more perfect example of a certain type of watch will always be on-going. It would be very challenging to find a better preserved example of a stainless steel reference 8171 “padellone” with the rare feature of diamond-set numerals.
At first sight the eye notices the diamond-set numerals, but next one cannot help but notice the pristine appearance of the two-toned dial, which enhances the overall appearance of this watch. It is important to mention that the apertures for the month and weekday indication are sharp and angular, a feature which is often regrettably lost when such a dial is refinished. The case lugs retain such sharp facets that one can conclude it has never been polished, although it has been “baptised” with a few surface marks. The owner clearly cherished the watch and wanted to keep the case proportions strong and crisp. This is further indicated by the clear Rolex coronet and numbers engraved on the case back, which are visible without the aid of a loupe.
Even the untrained eye can appreciate the beauty radiating from this “padellone”. Examples of this trophy model with such an interesting and sought-after dial combination and full and crisp case proportions are dreams for even the most educated Rolex collectors in the world and constitutes an opportunity not to be missed.
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 case back, while the reference 6062, the Oyster version, has a water-resistant-type screw back. The 8171 was affectionately nicknamed “Padellone”, or “Big Frying Pan” by Italian collectors, because the size (38mm. diameter) was so large for it’s time – as big as a frying pan!
Reference 8171 was made in a small series between 1949 and 1952, mostly in yellow gold. Examples in pink gold or stainless steel are very rare.