Rolex - The Watch Auction: One Geneva Saturday, May 9, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1959
    Reference No: 6542
    Case No: 426'907
    Model Name: GMT-MASTER
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 1066
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster, reference 7206
    Clasp/Buckle: Folding clasp, stamped 2.67
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, case back stamped III.59
    Literature: For another example of a reference 6542 with bakelite bezel see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 192

  • Catalogue Essay

    The first GMT-Master, reference 6542, was launched in 1954 and was initially fitted with a acrylic or bakelite bezel insert. Pan Am, then the world’s largest airline commissioned Rolex to design a watch to allow their pilots to keep track of time in two locations. Rolex introduced a 24-hour hand allowing its wearer, in conjunction with the calibrated revolving bezel, to swiftly calculate home and local time. The bakelite bezel was chosen to reduce the reflection and not disturb the pilots during flight. The present watch is an appealing example of Rolex’s reference 6542. Preserved in attractive original condition, it features this much sought-after bakelite bezel. The watch is stamped III.59 on the inside of the case back, indicating production of the watch in the third quarter of 1959. The true value however of the present watch is the wonderfully preserved original black lacquer dial with gilt printing. The numerals and hands have aged consistently and present the beholder with a very warm orange hue.

  • 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. 6542
A rare stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet, centre seconds, dual time zone, black lacquer dial and bakelite bezel

Stainless steel
38mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, case back stamped III.59

CHF50,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Watch Auction: One

Geneva Auction 10 May 2015 6:30pm