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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1955
    Reference No: 6542
    Movement No: N'692'209
    Case No: 112'196
    Model Name: GMT-Master "Pussy Galore"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1066, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel expandable Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 58, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1.60
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: For another example of a reference 6542 with Bakelite bezel, see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 192.

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in in 1954, the GMT-Master 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.

    Reference 6542 featured an ingenious design: the immediately recognizable bakelite bezel with twenty-four hour 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.

    Bakelite is an incredibly fragile material, so much that most existing ones are now cracked with years of wear. Thus, to find on that is intact, is a true anomaly in itself.

    Given that GMT-Masters were intended to be a "tool watch", they were often chosen for everyday wear. As such most existing examples have been polished and heavily worn - fitting, as watches dressed in yellow gold or pink gold livery were considered the most valuable. To discover one, displaying its bevels and original luminous material, such as the present example, is any collector's dream come true.

  • 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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179

Rolex

Ref. 6542
A highly rare and very attractive dual time wristwatch with bakelite bezel, date and bracelet

Circa 1955
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 160,000 
€75,200-150,000
$82,400-165,000

sold for CHF100,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020