A rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1966
    Reference No: 6238
    Case No: 1'226'499
    Model Name: "Pre-Daytona"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Oyster bracelet, max length 195mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Rolex stainless steel folding deployant clasp stamped 3-70.
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex pouch
    Literature: Similar examples of this reference are illustrated in I Cronografi Rolex La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 278-291, as well as 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, John Goldberger, pp. 128-137

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex reference 6238 is a turning point and a landmark in the Rolex Chronograph history. It can either be considered the brand’s last classic chronograph or its first modern one.

    Produced for a short period from the beginning of the 1960s to 1967, it was the last Rolex chronograph to feature a smooth bezel with a graduated tachymeter scale on the dial but also a model that paved the way to the reference 6239. The latter was the first Cosmograph Daytona ever released by Rolex, with which it shares certain design elements such as the crown, the pushers, case and indexes. Thus the nickname “Pre-Daytona” given by collectors to reference 6238.

    Interestingly even though it is called the Pre-Daytona, the reference 6238 was produced in parallel to reference 6239. However, while the Cosmograph Daytona always featured a two tone dial with either black with silver subdials or vice versa, the reference 6238 was offered only with a monochrome dial. These small details make a massive difference for collectors, making the Pre-Daytona a favorite amongst vintage Rolex aficionados and connoisseurs.

    The matte black, or so-called “grené” finished dial, is particularly rare, as the majority of this reference was available with a silvered dial. The present dial is part of the second generation grené dials with silver printing. The “T-SWISS-T” found at the dial’s lower edge by 6 o’clock indicates that Tritium was used for the luminous hands and hour markers.

    The collectability of “Pre-Daytona” models is on the rise, and the overall superbly preserved condition of the present watch along with its ultimate rarity makes it a definite must have for the discerning collector.

  • 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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Ο155

Rolex

Ref. 6238
A rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial and bracelet

Circa 1966
36mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 150,000 
€85,700-129,000
$106,000-159,000

sold for CHF156,250

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

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018