Rolex Reference 4645 "Neptune" Non-Oyster Yellow Gold Watch

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Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History is a Phillips auction set to take place in Hong Kong on November 28, 2016 that features a collection of rare and historical vintage Rolex watches curated by John Goldberger. With some lots estimated to take in seven figures, this collection represents the top tier of vintage Rolex models found around the world. Some pieces, like Reference 4645 shown in the photo below, are singular representations of the fine craftsmanship that has represented the watchmaker for over a century. 

Rolex Reference 4645 "Neptune" Non-Oyster Yellow Gold Watch (photo: Phillips)
A yellow gold non-Oyster reference featuring a square case and cloisonné enamel design, the "Neptune" stands out amongst other Rolex references. It was created by famous enameler Mrs. Nelly Richard for Stern Fréres as commissioned by Rolex at the time. Very few such dials have ever been seen and there is no record of any other with the Neptune depicted on it. The cloisons used to bring the scene to life required much skill and attention to detail. The hand-painted shapes were hammered out and filled with enamel paste and fired in a kiln.

This automatic wristwatch features an 18 carat gold case measuring 31 millimeters equipped with a 178 millimeter yellow gold bracelet and a folding deployant clasp. It was manufactured around 1953, likely for a very important client. The back of the dial is stamped with Stern Fréres numbers, including the client code for Rolex, 103. The estimated auction price for this reference is between $500,000 to $1,000,000 US. For more information on this and the other pieces that will go for auction in Hong Kong, visit phillips.com.

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