Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE Geneva Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 6542
    Movement No: 10N742825
    Case No: 367'383
    Model Name: GMT-Master
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1065, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k yellow gold, riveted expandable Rolex Oyster, further stamped 1.59, end links stamped 65, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by original guarantee confirming the sale of the present watch on October 25th, 1958, Certificate from the Bureaux Suisses de Contrôle Officiel de la Marche des Chronomètres, product literature, leather wallet, presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    This wonderfully charismatic representative of the reference 6542 stands out with its breathtaking condition and beauty. It is, to the best of our knowledge, the best-preserved and most complete 18-karat gold known in the collecting community.

    Launched in 1954, the iconic Rolex GMT Master was designed as an aviator’s watch. With the introduction of jet engine technology and the rise of the “jet-set”, flight distances increased beginning in the 1940s, creating a need for pilots and travelers to keep track of multiple time zones simultaneously. Recognizing this need, Rolex worked with Pan Am Airlines to develop an ingeniously simple solution leveraging the design of the ref. 6202 Turn-O-Graph Rolex introduced in 1953, and the GMT Master was born. It was immediately recognizable with its bright Bakelite bezel insert with luminous 24-hour numerals printed within. A newly introduced fourth hand, together with the 24-hour markings on the bezel, permitted the instantaneous indication of time in a second time zone.

    Most were cased in stainless steel, with very few examples of the first generation ref. 6542 models produced in gold. Due to their rarity, fragility, and beauty, those retaining their original Bakelite bezels are highly sought after.

    One of the most notable features of the present lot is its unrestored, fully intact cognac brown-colored Bakelite bezel. It is fitted with an absolutely stunning light brass-colored dial that could easily be interpreted as having aged to a “tropical” color, but it is actually the original color it was born with when it left the Rolex factory nearly 60 years ago. The case is completely original and unpolished, retaining perfectly preserved bevels, crisp edges, and factory brushed and polished surfaces. The original, expandable Oyster bracelet hardly shows any signs of wear, and is secured with the coveted “Big Rolex” logo folding buckle that is also highly coveted by collectors.

    Completing the exceptional nature of this watch is the fact that it is accompanied by its original box and its full set of original paperwork, including the Rolex Guarantee, Chronometer Bulletin, and product literature – all correct and written in German.

    Having the present example offered here is, without a doubt, a collector’s best opportunity to acquire a legendary watch that has survived the passing of time with so little signs of age. Currently, the present watch holds the record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a GMT Master – further highlighting the importance of this piece, and making it the ultimate trophy for collectors of rare Rolex sports watches.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Ref. 6542
An exceptionally well preserved and most complete yellow gold dual time wristwatch with bracelet, bronze colored dial, and bakelite bezel, accompanied by presentation box and considerable documentation

38mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF180,000 - 280,000 

Sold for CHF341,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016