1937 Rolex Oyster 'Lifesaver' + Box - Ref. 2849
An fine and extremely rare steel Rolex Oyster 'Lifesaver' Ref. 2849 with its original box
WHY IS THIS WATCH SPECIAL
Rolex Geneva states that the reference 2849 was manufactured in 1937 and made in a unique series of 60 pieces only (https://catalog.antiquorum.swiss/en/lots/rolex-ref-2849-lifesaver-lot-313-355?page=3&q=rolex).
Advertised as "Oyster de Luxe", reference 2849 is sometimes collectively known as "Lifesaver" for its close resemblance to the lifebelts found in the nautical world.
At the time the model went into production, men's watches were becoming larger, and the concept behind the design of the "Lifesaver" was an attempt by Rolex to emphasize the smallness of the watches rather than hide it, with wide bezel and a tiny dial. The model is also the first exaggerated style Rolex "Oyster".
It would take the marketing genius of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf to fully identify the need for a waterproof case if the wristwatch was going to meet its true potential.
He worked on the problem for some years before the final breakthrough, originally developing the Hermetic watch (sometimes called the Submarine), featuring a screw down cap that sealed in not only the entire movement, but also the winding crown, notoriously the part of any design most susceptible to ingress. Although somewhat successful, it still entailed having to open up the watch completely to wind it or adjust the time.
Then, in the mid 1920s, he came across item 114948 in the Swiss patent register, a new system for a crown that screwed into a threaded tube inside the watch case. Dreamt up by two men from La Chaux-de-Fonds (the historic home of Swiss watchmaking and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) by the names of Paul Perregaux and Georges Peret, it was a far more practical solution and so promised greater commercial success.
Ever the savvy businessman, Wilsdorf worked to ensure he wasn’t beaten to the punch, not acquiring the patent himself but by having it transferred to Charles Rodolphe Spillman, the owner of one of Rolex’s case-making firms in the town. Five days later, on July 24th 1926, Spillman transferred the patent to Wilsdorf and on the 29th, the brand registered ‘Oyster’ as a Rolex trademark.
- Maker: Rolex
- Model: Oyster de Luxe (aka 'Lifesaver')
- Reference: 2849
- Case N°: 874XX
- Year: 1937
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimentions (WxHxT): 33x33x9mm
- Caliber: 500 8 3/4'''
- Bracelet/Strap: Cowhide leather
- Lug width: 14mm
- Box/Papers: Original 1937 Rolex box
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
This watch is in extremely good condition for its age. The unpolished stainless steel case is very well preserved, and the black original dial is stunning. This is a great and extremely rare Rolex Oyster, elegant and highly collectible, especially with its original box. A nice presence on the wrist, perfect for every day wear and sporting activities.