Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1963
    Reference No: 6238
    Case No: 997’148
    Model Name: Chronograph “Pre-Daytona”
    Material: 14K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels, bridge further stamped ROW
    Bracelet/Strap: 14K yellow gold Rolex and J.B. Champion Jubilee bracelet, max length 215mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 14K yellow gold Rolex and J.B. Champion deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Though the Rolex Daytona often steals the spotlight, the world of the Rolex “Pre-Daytona” is fascinatingly diverse and offers ample opportunity for a collector to get lost in all the beautiful subtle details. The reference 6238 immediately precedes the first official Daytona, the reference 6239, and differs in several ways. Most obvious, however, is the 6238’s polished bezel was replaced by a metal or acrylic tachymeter bezel on the Daytona. The reference 6238s, whichever their configuration, have the chronograph scale printed on the dial.

    This particular reference 6238 dates to the same year its successor was introduced: 1963. Already a rare reference, with few examples in yellow gold having been produced, its rarity is amplified due to its 14K yellow gold case and bracelet and underline dial. 14K yellow gold was believed to be used in watches meant for the North American market, and this is further underscored by the ROW stamp on the movement, indicating import to the United States. The Swiss stamped their 14K yellow gold cases with a small squirrel hallmark, which can be seen on the reverse of the lugs. Moreover, the dial itself bears a small underline beneath the “Chronograph” designation, a detail believed to indicate the transitional luminous material, and one found on a very few number of watches during this era. This particular watch is one of a small batch of 14K yellow gold reference 6238s known. A very small number have surfaced publicly in the past few decades, all bearing the serial number 997’1XX. Two have previously been sold at Phillips, one signed by American retailer Tiffany & Co. bearing the serial number 997’154, and the other with the serial number 997’150. All three have dagger-shaped indexes, a blue tachymeter scale, and silver soleil dial.

    The vibrant, original dial has warmed to a pale champagne hue which matches beautifully with the hue of the case and bracelet, allowing the blue tachymeter scale to pop. It is an exceedingly rare opportunity for the Rolex chronograph aficionado.

  • 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
A very rare, fine, and highly attractive 14K yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with underline dial, tachymeter scale and bracelet

Circa 1963
36.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed

CHF40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for CHF90,720

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021