August 2, 2010
Back in the 1950s Rolex made several complicated wristwatches of which included the reference 8171 moon phase. This particular version is made of stainless steel, but it was also made in yellow and rose gold. The Rolex moon phase reference 8171 is an automatic watch and features a triple date calendar. The 38 millimeter case has great lines and is considered a large size for the time period making it a very stylish watch today.
There are several important condition factors that are very important with the 8171. First is the dial. Many of the 8171 watches have either refinished or bad condition dials due to the non-oyster case design. Second is the case. Both the serial number and Rolex coronet are typically engraved on the back of the case. However, due to wear or case polish, both the serial number and coronet are sometimes not visible anymore. Both these condition factors have a large impact on the value of the watch especially the dial. I see these watches trade at auction anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000 depending upon the condition so be very careful when purchasing the 8171 Rolex moon phase.
The Italian Collectors have nicknamed the Rolex Moon phase reference 8171 the "Padellone" which means large frying pan. You do not see many "Padellone" on the market today that have good dials and visible numbers on the back. Therefore, if you can find one with proper condition features, the you should snap it up.