Reference 8171 is lovingly dubbed ‘Padellone’, which translate to ‘large frying pan’ in Italian. Boasting a generous 38 mm case, it is slightly larger than its waterproof ‘Oyster’ sibling, reference 6062. It is interesting to note that both reference 8171 and 6062 were the only two ‘complicated’ models that Rolex ever produced, giving both references a mythical reputation and cult-like following.Most interestingly, both models were produced for a very short period of time in the early 1950s. To acquire even one of these watches has become a dream for many collectors today.Reference 8171 and 6062 were available in yellow gold, pink gold, and most exclusively, in stainless steel.A similar example, cased in stainless steel, was sold at Phillips’ The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO, lot 167, for an astounding 905,000 CHF.John Goldberger's Opinion The present watch captivates and surprises in so many ways. The case is crisp, with sharp finishing to the bezel and the top of the lugs. The central band, too, retains immaculate satin-finishes. The same can be said for the case back, which displays a sharp coronet and crisp case numbers. The lines, curves, and finishes are all completely original.As with all ‘Padellone’ watches, the beauty lies in the dial. Those in original condition, such as this one, are few and far between, appearing infrequently on the market. The sharp track, where the moon phase aperture meets the rim of the subsidiary dial, is incredibly precise and correct. The sharp dagger numerals complement the ivory dial, and drawattention to the perfect blue outer date ring. One would expect to see significant spotting to the dial considering that this watch is not waterproof and over 60 years old. Yet, it remains clear of blemishes.At the time of production, watches dressed in yellow gold or pink gold livery were considered the most valuable, with stainless steel examples often chosen for everyday wear. As such, one is more likely to find an untouched example in gold. To find such an immaculate and original example, cased in stainless steel, has been a real pleasure for me.
An extremely rare, exceptional, large and highly attractive stainless steel triple calendar wristwatch with moonphases
Case, dial and movement signed
The movement is running at the time of cataloguing and date advances when the hands turn pass midnight or when the relevant correctors are selected. The dial, with grainé finish, is incredible and in spectacular and original condition. There is some very light tarnishing to the outer minute track, however this is difficult to see without a strong loupe. The case is of equally exceptional quality, with very sharp edges and original factory graining. The lugs still retain their full proportions and the case back still retains its Rolex coronet and case number that can be see without the aid of a loupe. Overall, the case is of exceptional quality. The overall quality of this watch renders this example one of the most important 8171s cased in steel to exist.
A similar example is published in John Goldberger’s “100 Superlative Rolex Watches” on pages 76 & 77.