Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1967
    Reference No: 6238
    Case No: 1'697'065
    Model Name: "Pre-Daytona"
    Material: 14k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 722, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 14k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 57, max length 200mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding deployant clasp, stamped 585
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: The only other known example of a yellow gold reference 6238 with black glossy dial is illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger pages 134-135

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 6238 is the very last chronograph wristwatch manufactured by Rolex with a flat bezel. Its nickname “Pre Daytona” references the fact that it is the direct predecessor of one of the brand’s icons: the Daytona. While the latter features the tachymeter scale on the bezel, reference 6238 features the scale on the dial. Fitted with a manually wound caliber 72B with a Valjoux base, this chronograph was a tool watch designed to calculate speed.

    As a sport watch, the majority was manufactured in steel with silvered dials, very few were cased in gold and the black dials were even rarer. The present lot, with its 14k yellow gold case, specially made for the American market and its black dial can be considered an exceptional example of a very small series. However, what will make any savvy collector’s head spin is the stunning black glossy galvanic dial. Whereas the extremely rare reference 6238 in yellow gold features a black grené dial, the elusive unicorn is the 6238 in 14k yellow gold with glossy dial and only one other 6238 in yellow gold is known to exist with a glossy dial. And as if destiny wanted to play even more with the watch aficionado’s heart, this beauty is in superb condition the case is sharp and one can tell from the amount of oxidation displayed on it that this watch has been kept away from reach for many decades. The fantastic glossy black dial is breathtaking. At 6 o’clock the T SWISS T indication is consistent with the age of the watch and the introduction of Tritium to replace radium for the luminous material.

    This amazingly rare timepiece will surely tick all the boxes of what makes a grail watch: sublime design, extreme rarity and exceptional overall condition.

  • 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. 6238
An extremely rare and highly attractive 14k yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with black glossy dial and bracelet

36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF250,000 - 500,000 

Sold for CHF466,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017