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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1959
    Reference No: 6542, inside case back stamped 6542
    Movement No: DN900521
    Case No: 424'267
    Model Name: GMT-Master
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, 1066, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Light brown leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 38 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For another example of reference 6542 cased in yellow gold, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 192.

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in in 1954, the GMT-Master reference 6542 was designed for pilots to use in their line of work. With the rise of international travel in the 1940s and 1950s, Rolex initially created the model for Pan Am airlines to track dual time zones. This ingenious design featured an immediately recognizable bakelite bezel with the twenty-four hour radium numerals painted on the underside, made to glow in any weather condition. Bakelite was Rolex's material of choice, due to its low reflectivity and high readability. The additional luminous 24 hour tipped hand allowed the viewer to immediately track a second time zone.

    Given that the GMT-Master was created for specific, work-related purposes, most examples were cased in stainless steel. These watches were worn in the most practical sense and made to withstand the elements. Yet, Rolex also manufactured a very limited number of watches cased in yellow gold, and fitted with a brown bakelite bezel. Due to the immense fragility of these watches, it is incredibly rare to find examples fitted with their original bakelite insert. The fact is even more pertinent as most of the bakelite bezels were recalled by Rolex due to their radium content. The original GMT-Master eventually ceased production in 1959.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    The watch illustrated in these pages, among the last batch of reference 6542s to be released, is presented in excellent and astounding condition. The bakelite bezel is intact, with hardly any blemishes and the radium is without losses. The brown lacquer dial displays rich tones, and the case is incredibly crisp, with a sharp milled finish to the top of the lugs and a sharp hallmark to the back of the lug.

  • 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.

    View More Works

811

Rolex

Ref. 6542, inside case back stamped 6542
A fine and rare yellow gold dual time wristwatch with sweep center seconds, date, brown lacquer dial and bakelite bezel

勞力士,精細及罕有,18K黃金自動上弦腕錶,配兩地時間、中心秒針、日曆顯示、棕色漆錶盤及膠木錶圏, “GMT-Master”,型號6542,約1959年製

Circa 1959
38 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
HK$960,000 - 1,920,000 
$120,000-240,000

sold for HK$1,750,000

Contact Specialist
Sam Hines
International Department Head
+85 26 773 93 15

Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016