A very rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “Underline Double Swiss” dial with tropical subsidiary dials

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1963
    Reference No: 6239
    Case No: 923’192, 6238
    Model Name: Cosmograph
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex expandable Oyster bracelet, max length 190mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36.5mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex service confirmation dated May 29, 2003 and the thematic auction red presentation case
    Provenance: Christie's, Rolex Daytona Lesson ONE, Geneva, November 10, 2013, Lot 1

  • Provenance

    Christie's, Rolex Daytona Lesson ONE, Geneva, November 10, 2013, Lot 1

  • Catalogue Essay

    1963 was a milestone year for Rolex collectors as it is the year they introduced the reference 6239, the very first model of the iconic Cosmograph. For the first time, the tachymeter scale was moved from the dial to the bezel and the present lot features the highly coveted, earliest version of the bezel, calibrated to 300 units per hour. This "Mark 1" bezel is recognizable by the 275 intermediate unit, and the small hash marks found along the entirety of the bezel.

    The present lot is not only in absolutely exceptional condition but its dial makes it an absolutely desirable example for the Daytona aficionado. First, it’s fitted with the highly coveted "double Swiss" dial, meaning the country of origin designation is printed twice on the dial. The earliest versions of the reference 6239 exhibit such a configuration, since Rolex used dial stamps made for previous chronograph models as it began the production of the Daytona. Since the Daytona’s bezel was larger than previous models, and therefore covered a larger portion of the dial, Rolex had to stamp the dial again with an inner SWISS to ensure visibility. Secondly, the present lot is marked with a short line right below the ROLEX COSMOGRAPH designation - thus the "6239 underlined" nickname used among the collectors community. While Rolex has never confirmed the meaning, scholars agree this underline indicated that the radioactive radium previously used for the luminous indexes was replaced with a new, safer material - tritium, to be compliant with new government regulations.

    Furthermore, this coveted, early reference 6239 is made even more exceptional with its lovely and hardly ever seen "tropical" subsidiary dials. They have aged uniformly from their standard black to a warm chocolate tone providing for an arresting contrast with the silver dial. The superb condition of the case combined with the double Swiss inscription, the extreme rarity of underline dial and the beautiful tropical subdials combine for a watch with powerful charisma, making it one of the rarest and most sought after early Cosmographs known in the collector community.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    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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Rolex

Ref. 6239
A very rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “Underline Double Swiss” dial with tropical subsidiary dials

1963
36.5mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 200,000 
€91,800-184,000
$103,000-206,000

sold for CHF310,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016