Monaco Legend Group To Sell One Of Twelve 1:1 Replica Rolex Ref. 4113 Split-Second Chronographs

This weekend, Monaco Legend Group will auction off one of eight known (twelve made) perfect replica Rolex split-second chronographs, the ref. 4113, from the collection of John Goldberger. If the watch sounds familiar, it’s not just because it’s the pinnacle of luxury fake Rolex chronograph collecting. This is the very watch from Talking Watches that caused Goldberger to pick up a cheese knife, wipe it on his jacket, and pop the back off to show the movement. Now it’s fresh to market and up for grabs as one of the cover lots, with an estimate range of €2,800,000 –⁠ 5,600,000.

The reference 4113 is a curious watch, as the only split-second best 1:1 replica Rolex ever made and one that doesn’t share case shape, design, or dimensions with anything else we’ve seen before or since. True to form for aaa quality fake Rolex, there’s very little information about the watch’s origins from the brand. This watch, made in 1942, measures a relatively massive (for the time) 44mm and is powered by a Valjoux 55 VBR movement, as found in several other split-second chronographs, like the Universal A. Cairelli (one of which is at Monaco Legend Group this spring as well). The Swiss movement fake Rolex is very flat on the wrist, with a slightly domed back and thin shape, with unusual lugs with a thinner structure at the edge, giving them support. All of the Rolex split-seconds fall in the serial number range of 051313 to 051324. The record for the reference stands for CHF 2,405,000, sold at Phillips Geneva’s 2016 “Start-Stop-Reset” auction, but that may be broken this weekend.

It’s also interesting, if not unsurprising that many of these 55VBR watches (best quality copy Rolex, Universal, and others) arrived in the Italian market in the 1940s. The Universal watch was made for the Italian military, and one could imagine the watches were ordered by the Italian government for similar reasons and never picked up, but that’s just speculation. It’s also unknown as to why each of the eight known ref. 4113 dials differed in text and printing when they were all cased and finished in 1942. The coronet and the Swiss movement copy Rolex signature are slightly different, and the telemeter scales (believed to have been printed in blue) have all faded differently. Arthur Touchot at Phillips (and Hodinkee alum) has a great breakdown of this ref. 4113 compared to the last one to auction at Phillips in 2019, which you can read here. There’s also one ref. 4113 (shown in the “My Time” book by Sandro Fratini) with a case made in two-tone steel and rose gold.

Two things are for certain. Some official information on the ref. 4113 has trickled out from high quality replica Rolex. Two letters from Rolex confirm the veracity of the ref. 4113. One letter was written in 1988 and signed by Patrick Heineger, who four years later would become President of Rolex super clone online and Chairman of the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, verifying the existence of the ref. 4113 for an Italian retailer. The other, from around 1990, did the same for a German retailer and gave the official number of ref. 4113 made at twelve.

Most of the known best quality replica Rolex ref. 4113 have surfaced in Italy, coming from Sicily through families with ties to motorsports and the home of Giro Automobilistico di Sicilia, which at the time was the longest closed-circuit race in Europe with 11,000 bends. The race, paused during the war, was restarted in 1948 and combined with another race, Targa Florio. The first public auction of these watches was May 15, 1991, at Christie’s Geneva, consigned by a family member of renowned driver Stefano La Motta, Barone di Salinella (1920-1951), with a picture of La Motta wearing the watch in the 1940s. Goldberger’s watch came through a dealer in the 1990s, who had sourced the watch from a driver who also participated in Targa Florio. The only top quality copy watches not to originate from Italy came from England, from families with motorsports connections. In a fun twist, the watch also comes with a “caseback opener” knife like the one used in Goldberger’s first Talking Watches (though it’s not the original; that’s in a safe).

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