47 Rolex Extremely Rare and Very Well Preserved, Big Bubbleback, Automatic Wristwatch in Steel, With Sweep Centre and Subsidiary Seconds Dial, Reference 5028

Estimate: €80,000 –⁠ 160,000

Sold €123,500

Model: Big Bubbleback
Reference: 5028
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Bracelet Material: Stainless Steel
Year: 1945
Movement: Automatic
Caliber: 10 1/2
Case N°: 412 191
Dimensions: 36 mm
Signed: Dial, Movement and Case

The principles on which Rolex was and is still based today were those of research, experimentation, innovation and cutting-edge tests with scientific research, since Wilsdorf immediately realized that watches would become the future of the industry. So, in 1926, he gave birth to the first totally waterproof case, named Oyster. Only 5 years later the company introduced the world’s first self-winding mechanism, a totally new era of convenience and functionality. The present watch is not only remarkable through the fact that it has been extremely well preserved to date as regards to its age, but also because its dial is not commonly seen on this type of Oyster model and it comes with a very unusual and rare configuration with sweep centre seconds and subsidiary seconds put in the same movement. Such contradictory mechanism is predominantly known to have been made by Omega in the mid 1940s for a small series of watches which were never commercialized. It can be assumed that the watch here was an attempt by Rolex, interestingly exactly at the same time, to gain experience with such experiments. In fact, reference 5028 is generally known to be fitted with centre seconds. Its sister model with subsidiary seconds is the equally rare reference 5026. The present watch is a fascinating, yet unexplainable hybrid between these two models. The two bodies, solid, domed polished bezel with curved lugs, screwed down case back and crown are nicely preserved for a watch manufactured in the 1940s and completed with its original riveted bracelet. The dial, in addition to this uncommon feature, has applied Arabic indexes in gold such as the feuille hands and black outer 5-minute track.