ROLEX OYSTER REF 5059 GOLD BEZEL
The Rolex Oyster watch constitutes an important milestone in the history of contemporary watchmaking. Invented by Rolex in 1926, it was the world’s first waterproof case for a wristwatch thanks to its patented system of screwing down the bezel, case back and winding crown against the middle case. This beautiful example dates from 1951, and has a wonderful feeling of understated elegance.
Item description: The case, typically in stainless steel with satined top and polished sides. The watch with a fine champagne dial, bearing the Rolex crown in gold finish, along with rose gold finished hour batons. The fine non moving decorative bezel (known as the Thunderbird bezel) in yellow gold, and finished with a milled edge, along with raised batons further distinguishing the hour marks. The screw in crown of patented Oyster type, and bearing the words ‘Rolex Oyster’ in relief. Reverse with milled edge case-back. The 17 jewel movement fully signed Rolex, and with high quality regulation, including screw in weights to the balance. The movement with rare outer section with impressed designation, ‘BREVET PATENTED’. The case-back fully signed Rolex, and bearing the case number 5059. Complete with a brown crocodile strap and non branded buckle.
Case size: 40mm x 34mm
Condition report: Case in excellent to near mint condition with a near perfect polished and satin finish remaining (free from major scratches or other damage). Original Rolex dial with a nice ‘soft’ age patination, in particular to the hour markers, with a beautiful deep rose colour. The watch retains its original milled rose gold bezel, which remains sharp and free from damage. The movement remaining in very good to excellent condition and is in fully working condition (no warranty implied). The timepiece has been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker.
Background to Rolex: Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law Hans Wilsdorf founded Wilsdorf and Davis, the company that would eventually become Rolex SA, in London, England in 1905. Wilsdorf and Davis’ main commercial activity at the time involved importing Hermann Aegler’s Swiss movements to England and placing them in high-quality watch cases made by Dennison and others. These early wristwatches were sold to jewellers, who then put their own names on the dial. The earliest watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were usually hallmarked “W&D” inside the caseback.
In 1908 Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” and opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and by 1914, Kew Observatory had awarded a Rolex watch a Class A precision certificate, a distinction normally granted exclusively to marine chronometers. In 1919 Wilsdorf left England for Geneva, due to wartime taxes levied on luxury imports as well as to export duties on the silver and gold used for the watch cases driving up costs. Once established in Switzerland, Wilsdorf traded as the Rolex Watch Company, later changing the name to Montres Rolex SA, and finally Rolex, SA. Upon the death of his wife in 1944, Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private trust, in which he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that some of the company’s income would go to charity. Wilsdorf died in 1960, and since then, the trust has owned and run the company.
Special notes: n/a
Provenance: Sold by Rolex specialists, Sonning Vintage Watches in 2018. One collection since. Sonning paperwork included in the sale.
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