Rolex - Daytona Ultimatum Geneva Friday, May 11, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1970
    Reference No: 6265 "The Unicorn"
    Case No: 2’877’587
    Model Name: Oyster Cosmograph
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal.727, 17jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k white gold Rolex bracelet, max. length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k white gold Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1.66
    Dimensions: 37mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    When this watch made its public debut in 2013 via Hodinkee, a well-known online watch magazine, the news of a white gold vintage Daytona sent reverberations throughout the watch community. Here was a timepiece so precious, that its very existence baffled the most seasoned of collectors. So elusive that only a handful of the horological cognoscenti had seen it in the flesh. Having presided in John Goldberger’s world-class collection for many years, this singular white gold reference 6265 appears at public auction for the very first time.

    The “Black Swan Theory” hypothesizes that every unpredictable and major event can be explained in hindsight. This timepiece’s appearance at auction proves this theory. For the longest time, Goldberger has asserted that this Cosmograph would never be for sale. Quite simply it could not be replaced. However, realizing the impact its sale could have on others, he was willing to reconsider. He has therefore decided to sell this watch to benefit Children Action, a foundation dedicated to helping the lives of youth around the world.

    For many years it was commonly accepted that Rolex only produced manual winding Cosmographs in stainless steel or yellow gold, and never in platinum, white or pink gold. While a bi-metal Cosmograph was discovered last year and sold at Phillips in October 2017, it was unfathomable to many that Rolex would ever deviate from its modus operandi.

    Yet for one lucky customer, Rolex created a one-off unique masterpiece – a Cosmograph cased in white precious metal. Research shows that this watch was manufactured in 1970 and delivered in 1971, made upon special order for a German retailer. At the time of production, it was very likely the rarest, most luxurious and special Cosmograph available on the market. Some 45 years later, this claim still rings true today.

    This chronograph is without doubt Rolex’s magnum opus. Bearing reference number 6265, its groundbreaking rediscovery some ten years ago is now an indelible part of the Cosmograph Daytona’s history. It is our understanding that this watch was internally assigned with the reference number 6265/9. While Rolex historically and traditionally assigned the number 8 for yellow gold watches, 9 was used for timepieces cased in white gold. Rolex product literature confirms this, as yellow Cosmographs were listed with the reference number 6265/8.

    While originally found with a leather strap, Goldberger has fitted this timepiece with a luxuriously heavy white gold bracelet to enhance its visual appeal. This watch features a black “sigma” dial, which is correct for the manufacture date. The contrasting black background and silver graphics is visually spectacular. Subtly unassuming, the case has beautiful luminosity, glowing in a way that only white gold can. Featuring bold proportions and stamped with a crisp 18K mark and hallmark, it is like nothing the market has ever seen before.

    Its importance and rarity cannot be overstated. A dream come true for many, it presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors to acquire the one and only manual-winding white gold Rolex chronograph. Sold to benefit Children Action, it is the first and most likely only time the white gold reference 6265/9 will ever appear in the public sphere in our lifetime.

  • 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. 6265 "The Unicorn"
A historically important and exceedingly attractive white gold chronograph wristwatch with black dial and bark finished bracelet, the only one known of its kind

Circa 1970
37mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF3,000,000 - 5,000,000 

Sold for CHF5,937,500

Contact Specialist
Tiffany To
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 96 63

Daytona Ultimatum

Geneva Auction 12 May 2018