Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XI Geneva Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: 6241
    Case No: 2'084'277
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona, "Paul Newman John Player Special"
    Material: 14K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal 722-1, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 14K yellow gold riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "57" to the endlinks, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 14K Rolex deployant clasp stamped "E"
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex undated and unstamped Guarantee, product literature, fitted presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    Racing cars are often known for their vivid livery: John Wyer’s orange and blue Mirage M1 that eventually became the GT40 in 1968 and won Le Mans two years running, the red and white stripes of Marlboro sponsored cars, or even British Racing Green which can be seen painted on English cars. As cars and watches are so symbiotic, these colors have transferred onto automobiles’ smaller mechanical companions to great success. One of the sleekest, most-desired, and valued color schemes is the black and gold of the John Player Special Tobacco company, which in 1972, was chosen as the livery of Team Lotus’s Formula One race cars. The palette happens to be also found on an extremely rarefied series of Paul Newman 6241 in gold, exemplified by the present watch, and thus the nickname “John Player Special” was born.

    While beauty is inherently subjective, few - if any - collectors will disagree with the statement that among the many variations of the Daytona Cosmograph, vintage and modern, one of the most visually striking one is indeed the John Player Special Paul Newman 6241, with the alternation of black and gold details of the dial perfectly reprised on the case with its gold sheen and pitch black bezel. While the watch was conceived some years before the car and has no relation to the sporting event, from the contrasting black and gold graphics to the intricate trim and details, the similarities between the two are absolutely uncanny.

    Reference 6241 was manufactured between approximately 1966 and 1969, with our research indicating that fewer than 300 examples were cased in 18K yellow gold, and even less in the 14K alternative of the present timepiece.

    The condition of the timepiece is as attractive as its aesthetics. The superbly preserved dial is as close to a perfect 10 out of 10 as one will ever see, with no flaws or blemishes whatsoever, allowing the vibrant contrast of the main dial and sub dials to glow. Each original luminous plot is perfectly formed and even, only the one at 3 o’clock has an extremely minor loss material, a beauty mark which practically amplifies the vintage appeal of the watch. The charismatic, sing-a-song “T-SWISS-T” printing at the bottom of the dial is the rarely-seen enlarged print version with beautiful serifs present on each letter, perfectly correct for the serial number range. Furthermore, it retains its Rolex guarantee paper. A perfect storm of highly appealing traits with propels the present timepiece to the pinnacle of desirability for the connoisseur of highly important and attractive timepieces.

  • 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. 6241
A very rare, highly important and extremely attractive 14K yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman John Player Special dial and bracelet

Circa 1969
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF400,000 - 800,000 

Sold for CHF1,040,000

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020