Sotheby’s autumn sale on Sunday 13 November 2011A timepiece of World History: Konrad Adenauer’s Rolex
Sotheby’s autumn sale of Important Watches on Sunday 13 November 2011 will be spearheaded by a Rolex wristwatch that belonged to one of the leaders of the post‐World War II era: the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer.
Enjoying a similar illustrious provenance is Konrad Adenauer’s Rolex an exceptionally rare and historical Rolex that belonged to Konrad Adenauer. Presented to the German Chancellor in 1955, this historical 18K yellow gold automatic centre seconds wristwatch with date and bracelet (ref. 6305/1)6 has been by kept in its original condition by the Chancellor’s descendants and appears for the first time on the market with an estimate of CHF 60,000‐80,000/ $66,500‐89,000 (illustrated below). Engraved on the back with Konrad Adenauer’s name, this great piece of history is accompanied by its original leather folder and a letter dated 16 September 1955 from Rolex’s founder Hans Wilsdorf to the German Chancellor.
First chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, founding member of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Konrad Adenauer (1876‐1967) presided over the reconstruction of his country after World War II and is today considered as one of the founding fathers of Europe. His 14 years at the head of West Germany, from 1949 to 1963, were crowned by many achievements in terms of domestic and foreign policy despite the division of Germany. In 1951, the country established a foreign office (with Adenauer himself as Minister of Foreign Affairs until 1955), achieved full membership in the Council of Europe and contributed to the creation of the European Coal & Steel Community. In 1952, Germany participated in the formation of the European Defense Community.
1955, the year when Adenauer received the present watch, is an important date in German history. After being integrated into Western defense structures and recovering full sovereignty in May 1955, the Federal Republic of Germany engaged in direct talks with the Soviet Union. On 13 September 1955, after Adenauer’s state visit in Moscow, the two countries agreed to resume full diplomatic relations and trade negotiations.´One of the last but not the least achievements of Chancellor Adenauer was to decisively advance the cause of German‐French friendship – a rapprochement that culminated with the Elysée Treaty in 1963. Owing much to the mutual confidence and personal friendship between Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles De Gaulle, these agreements not only sealed permanent reconciliation between the two states but also paved the way to the construction of Europe, a constant aspiration of Adenauer's visionary leadership.