A very fine, rare and incredibly well-preserved stainless steel triple calendar chronograph wristwatch with bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1960
    Reference No: 6236
    Case No: 576'392
    Model Name: Oyster Chronograph Antimagnetic, "Jean-Claude Killy"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72C, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted expandable Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped 71, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex presentation box.
    Provenance: Gordon Bethune collection Christie's New York, 14 December 2012.
    Literature: Refrence 6236 is illustrated in I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 402 - 409

  • Provenance

    Gordon Bethune collection Christie's New York, 14 December 2012.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The first element that impresses with this watch is its amazingly well preserved condition. A true time capsule that has crossed over half a century practically unscathed, this watch perfectly demonstrates what a reference 6236 looked like when it left the Rolex ateliers. In fact it is without doubt the best example of a reference 6236 in stainless steel we have encountered.

    Rolex is a brand that was originally, and one could say ironically, not conceived as a luxury brand, but rather as a manufacturer of accurate, reliable and sturdy professional timepieces. In fact, many of the company’s patents – such as the Oyster waterproof case and the rotor automatic winding system – are not fancy complications but are rather improvements of a more utilitarian nature. Thus, the production of Rolex is historically characterized by relatively uncomplicated timepieces: chronographs, antimagnetic movements, dual-time models and so forth.

    Rolex’s Dato-Compax models, complicated as they may be, remained within the brand’s utilitarian philosophy as they featured a calendar and a chronograph.

    Launched in 1947, the reference 4767 Dato-Compax was Rolex’s first triple calendar chronograph wristwatch fitted inside a water-resistant Oyster case. Between 1947 and 1962, a total of four different Oyster Dato-Compax models were produced: references 4767, 5036, 6036 and 6236. Made in yellow and pink gold as well as stainless steel, the production run was very small for each variation. Over the years, Rolex modified both the dial and case design, with the final watch in this series, the reference 6236, featuring a more modern, clean dial style, as well as a three-piece case with larger bezel.

    These models received the nickname “Jean-Claude Killy”, after the three-time Olympic champion was seen wearing a reference 6236 like the present lot.

    The present example is an outstanding unmolested specimen. The case is unpolished with strong powerful lugs and harmonious proportions. The silver dial is superb condition and displays a crisp blue date ring with the correct closed-loops for the 6 and 9 numerals, typical for this reference and baton hands, which later set the benchmark for future Rolex chronographs.

    The present watch formerly belonged in the collection of Gordon Bethune. The CEO of Continental Airlines from 1994 until his retirement at the end of 2004, Bethune is a well-known watch collector. An avid aviator himself, Bethune has led a long, storied life, beginning his aviation career in the U.S. Navy at the age of 16 by fixing electronic and mechanical systems on jet planes. After 20 years, he retired as a Naval Lieutenant.

    In 2012, Bethune pledged 50 of his best watches for auction, the present watch being one of the key highlights of that historic sale. It then broke the record for any reference 6236 ever sold, a record which it still holds today.

  • 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. 6236
A very fine, rare and incredibly well-preserved stainless steel triple calendar chronograph wristwatch with bracelet

Circa 1960
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF300,000 - 600,000 
€264,000-528,000
$307,000-615,000

sold for CHF702,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018