An extremely rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and "floating" Daytona signature

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1964
    Reference No: 6239
    Case No: 1’090’462
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Jubilee bracelet, endlinks stamped 49, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped 10-9, marked U.S.A.
    Dimensions: 36.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed
    Literature: Similar examples of the reference 6239 with suspended "Daytona" logo are illustrated in Ultimate Rolex Daytona by Pucci Papaleo pp. 108-115.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Often in the early production runs of Rolex references, the intrepid collector can find a number of curious eccentricities – whether on the dial, the bezel, or even the chronograph pushers. Rolex’s tendency to experiment with market tastes has resulted in these variations becoming prized amongst today’s collectors, as they indicate rarity and provide a glimpse into Rolex’s secretive production history.

    The reference 6239, the first Cosmograph Daytona introduced into Rolex’s collection, was launched in 1963, and scholars generally agree that the earliest 6239s began around the serial number 922’900. The earliest 6239s had no Daytona logo on the dial, with the commonly accepted reasoning being that Rolex wanted to capitalize on society’s fascination with space travel, but also to concentrate their marketing efforts on a specific geographic location. That first full year of production, 1964, Rolex sponsored both the French Le Mans and the American Daytona motor sport endurance races. Indeed, the Cosmograph was initially marketed as the ‘Le Mans’, but Rolex quickly switched gears and settled on the American ‘Daytona’ product name, which would soon begin appearing on dials. The earliest dials with the ‘Daytona’ designation are rare and highly coveted, as they are typically printed in a smaller script, centered below the ‘Cosmograph’ designation closer to the middle of the dial. This disjointed appearance has given way to the term “floating” or “suspended” as a descriptor for these dials.

    The present watch, with the serial 1’090’462, is one of the earliest examples of any Cosmograph reference to appear publicly with the Daytona logo and the earliest example to appear with black dial and silver subsidiary dials. Such examples, when unearthed, continue to stimulate the vintage Rolex collecting community with their novelty. Both the designations ‘Cosmograph’ and ‘Daytona’ are printed in silver script, while the ‘Rolex’ remains printed in bold white. The ‘T Swiss T’ below the subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock is printed in a similar method to other early iterations, in silver with the ‘T’s slightly above the ‘Swiss’ designation. Its manually-wound Valjoux caliber 72B is marked ‘ROW’ indicating export to the United States, and is fitted with a stainless steel Rolex Jubilee bracelet also stamped ‘United States’. This rather American watch sheds further light on an experimental time in Rolex’s history, and it can be considered a rare opportunity 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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Rolex

Ref. 6239
An extremely rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and "floating" Daytona signature

1964
36.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF30,000 - 50,000 
€25,700-42,900
$31,800-52,900

sold for CHF62,500

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