29 February 2024


By In Brands, General, Hype Market, Rolex

There is no brand like Rolex in the watchmaking world. As Jean Claude Biver said, Rolex is the sun of the watchmaking industry, and it dominates both in the vintage and in the modern markets. For those who approach the world of watch collecting, starting from Rolex timepieces is always a safe option, considering the huge demand and interest towards this brand across the world. In particular, the crowned brand gives the opportunity to own and look for watches at very different price tags, thanks to its wide catalog, huge production and long history. But which is the ultimate Rolex to own? Which is the heaven of watch collecting?

These are definitely difficult questions to answer with a single reference or even with a single model. Some collectors may argue that the charm and the history of the Daytona are second to none, therefore 4-digits references may be the final answer, especially if we consider very rare configurations and conditions. On the other hand, some collectors may tell you the same but making reference to the Submariner, the GMT or the various Day-Date models, quoting very rare references, unseen by most enthusiasts, like the 1831, nine platinum Day-Dates made exclusively for the Shah of Iran by Rolex.

Rolex Day-Date 1831, one of the nine platinum Day-Dates made exclusively for the Shah of Iran by Rolex
Rolex Day-Date 1831 – photo courtesy of John Goldberger

In this article we want to tell you the story of a watch that could easily be the answer to the question we’ve been asking ourself, taking advantage of the fact that one of twelve only ever produced will go to auction on April 20-21 at the “Exclusive Timepieces” auction by Monaco Legend Group. We are talking about the legendary Rolex reference 4113.

Ref. 4113: features and history

The Rolex ref. 4113 was created in 1942. Its case, made of stainless steel, measures 44 mm, which is an incredibly big size compared to the standards of those years, and it features a split second chronograph movement (specifically a Valjoux 55). A split second chronograph gives the opportunity to the owner to measure two different time events that start at the same moment, and still today it is considered as one of the greatest watchmaking complications. The dial is characterized by the Rolex logo always placed at 12 o’clock, while at its bottom there’s the word Antimagnetique, meaning that the watch can show a certain resistance to magnetic fields. Also on the rehaut it is possible to find some peculiarities. Indeed, it shows the common tachymeter scale and an unusual telemeter scale, used to calculate the distance of a light event followed by a sound, like a lightning during a storm.

Rolex 4113 – Photo courtesy of Phillips

Rolex produced just twelve examples of this specific reference and all the serial numbers are consecutive, from 051313 to 051324. During the ‘40s, Rolex was experimenting with new complications and had the necessity to produce some prototypes before commercializing new innovative watches. Indeed, these 12 watches were given as gifts to twelve different drivers who took part, in 1942, to the Giro di Sicilia, an important car racing event at that time. Specifically, among these twelve watches ever produced, currently only nine of them are known and the ones still missing are presumably still owned by the families of the drivers.

The particular watch that will be auctioned in Monaco on the next April 20th and 21st comes from the collection of Auro Montanari, the well known Italian collector and writer of many important books about watchmaking, and it was featured in one of the very first episodes of “Hodinkee: Talking Watches”. In the video, that can be easily found on YouTube, the owner opens the caseback of the watch to show the movement with a butter knife, something that you don’t see everyday, especially on a multi million worth Rolex.

Montanari’s 4113 – photo courtesy of Monaco Legend Group
Which could be the expected hammer price?

When a legendary timepiece like this one comes to auction it’s always difficult to predict the price it will reach, as it depends on many factors that are not specifically related to the watch itself, like the current market conditions. However, what we can do is to look back at the past auction results and analyze potential trends.

In 1991 Christie’s auctioned the 4113 owned by the Baron and driver Stefano La Motta, reaching a reasonable amount of 82.500 CHF. Other examples were sold by Antiquorum in 2004 and 2006 for, respectively, 234.500 CHF and 738.500 CHF. After these three auctions, the other sold examples always reached prices above one million Swiss Francs, mainly because the real story of the watch was probably unknown in the 90s and the real importance behind this timepiece was discovered by the aficionados thanks to the publications of Auro Montanari himself (“100 Superlative Rolex Watches”) and Pucci Papaleo (“I Cronografi Rolex – La Leggenda”).

Auro Montanari with two examples of 4113 – photo courtesy of Phillips

Indeed, Christie’s sold two examples in 2011 and 2013 reaching respectively 1.035.000 CHF and 1.107.750 CHF. The latest auction appearances of the Rolex ref. 4113 were sold twice by Phillips, in 2014 and 2018, reaching 2.405.000 CHF and 1.940.000 CHF. 

Since 2018 the interest towards watch collecting has increased dramatically, considering this we will not be surprised if the Montanari’s Rolex ref. 4113 will reach an even higher price. Moreover it represents a unique opportunity for many collectors, because who knows when the next one will be auctioned?

Rolex 4113 that will eb auctioned by Monal Legend Group on April 20th and 21st – Photo courtesy of Monaco Legend Group

We are very curious to see which value this historical and mechanical masterpiece could reach this time.

Written by Tiziano Patti

Born in 2002, I’m a young watch collector and enthusiast always looking to add new pieces to my collection.