Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVII Geneva Saturday, May 13, 2023 | Phillips

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    • Manufacturer: Rolex
      Year: Circa 1951
      Reference No: 6036 inside caseback stamped "6034" with "00000" stamped on top and "6036"
      Case No: 693'985
      Model Name: Oyster Chronographe, "Dato-Compax", "Jean-Claude Killy"
      Material: 18K pink gold
      Calibre: Manual, cal. 72C, 17 jewels
      Bracelet/Strap: Leather
      Clasp/Buckle: 18K pink gold Rolex pin buckle
      Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
      Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
      Provenance: Offered by the Family of the Original Owner

    • Provenance

      Offered by the Family of the Original Owner

    • Catalogue Essay

      Reference 6036 was launched in 1951 and remained in production until circa the mid-1950s - about 5 short years. It is the third representative of arguably the most complicated vintage Rolex line of timepieces, which is now known as “Datocompax” or, more famously, “Jean-Claude Killy”. The model is preceded by two other Killy iterations - ref. 5036 (launched in 1948) and ref. 4767 (launched in 1947) - and succeeded by ref. 6236, all fours of them sporting very similar aesthetics and differing mainly for technical updates. It is worth noting the existence also of ref. 4768 - produced alongside ref. 4767 - sharing the same complications as the four Killy models but lacking an Oyster case, and thus its classification as a Killy is somewhat debated. Ref. 6036 was made mostly in steel, with some examples made in steel-and-gold and very few ones made in pink gold for their most exclusive clientele, of which this piece is a superlative representative.

      Incorporating a chronograph and a triple calendar, the Killy is the most complicated standard production vintage wristwatch made by the company, and even in modern times the only Rolex watch with a similar level of complication is the annual calendar Sky-Dweller. In fact, the ethos of Rolex has always resided in tool timepieces, thus complicated efforts by the brand are extremely scarce. In vintage times, beyond the Killy references, only three other models can sport a similar level of complication: the two triple calendar with moon phases references 6062 and 8171, and the non-standard production split-second chronograph reference 4113.

      Given the technological and historical interest, it is already not at all surprising that a Killy is deemed one of the endgame models in Rolex collecting, and that is without considering its aesthetics. They manage to subtly merge the iconic Rolex Oyster case and a complicated dial. The final result is a superb sport/evening hybrid piece the looks of which the Crown House never again went even close to duplicating - so far at least. -Everyone have their Achille’s Heel, however, and the Killy timepieces do not make an exception. In their instance, it is usually the condition of preservation. In fact, the vast majority of them appear to markedly show the passage of time. A “time capsule” Killy is the proverbial unicorn. And yet, as the present specimen undeniably proves, unicorns apparently do exist.

      Even a cursory glance is enough to understand how sublimely well-preserved this timepiece is. The two-tone dial is an ode to dial condition: with extremely vivid graphics, unmolested surface and absolutely even and subtle ivory patina, it truly is a collector’s dream. The same can be said of the case which sports sharp edges, satin finish and perfect proportions. Even the satin finish of the back is inspired and the back bears hardly any surface marks.

      Compounding to the looks, rarity, complexity and condition of the piece, its “pedigree” is fully and perfectly known, as it resided in the same family since it was originally sold by Rolex. The first owner was a wealthy Italian landowner and “bon vivant” from the north-western part of Italy, and it remained in his family’s possession after his death in 1955, first with his wife and today with his nephew. In fact, the seller knew and was very close to the original owner whom he recalls very well and fondly and about whom he can provide an interesting piece of information: the consignor distinctly remembers that the original owner hardly ever wore watches. How he came into possession of this timepiece remains a mystery - most likely, it was a present - but the aversion of wearing a watch of its first owner allowed this piece to reside in a safety deposit box for the best part of the past 70 years, allowing us to behold today one of the most exquisitely preserved examples of the reference.

      In fact, the watch was serviced only once, on request of the current owner, by Rolex Service Center in Milan in the early 2000s - and indeed the caseback only bears that single service mark and nothing else. Furthermore, it features an unusual stamping: both reference numbers 6036 and 6034 (a chronograph model) are present, but the latter is “erased” by lightly stamping five zeros on top of it. This is an insight into Rolex production methodology of the time, which often employed casebacks originally destined for a different reference as long as they fit and there was stock. Such a practice will be kept until at the very least the late 1960s, when ref. 6241 are often found mounting 6239 casebacks (by then, they would not even care to stamp the new reference and erase the old one anymore).

      Combining freshness-to-the-market, absurdly well-preserved dial and case, original owner family provenance, a pink gold case that is as enticing as it is rare, and a mind-blowing two-tone dial, it is not excessive to deem this watch one of the finest examples of the model to ever appear on the market.

    • 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. 6036 inside caseback stamped "6034" with "00000" stamped on top and "6036"
An extremely elusive, important and fresh-to-the-market pink gold chronograph wristwatch with triple calendar and two-tone dial

Circa 1951
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Full Cataloguing

CHF120,000 - 220,000 

Sold for CHF571,500

Contact Specialist

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

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVII

Geneva Auction 13 - 14 May 2023