Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX Geneva Friday, November 10, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1959
    Reference No: 6542
    Movement No: DN'900'263
    Case No: 482'269
    Model Name: GMT Master "Pussy Galore"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1066, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted expandable Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 65, max length 205mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp stamped 2.59
    Dimensions: 39mm. 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

    Let us start by saying that the present lot is most probably the best preserved example of a Rolex reference 6542 we have ever seen. The case is untouched, beautifully displaying its polished and brushed surfaces as well as its strong beveled lugs. The Bakelite bezel remains in excellent condition and superbly frames the black glossy dial.

    It is rare for a watch to be nicknamed after the villain seen wearing one in a film, however the reference 6542 gets its nickname from the only woman in the United States known to be running an organised crime gang: “Pussy Galore” as seen in the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger”.

    The GMT-Master's history has however less to do with combating international spies and mysterious women than air travel. It began with Pan Am commissioning Rolex to develop a watch for their pilots. Due to the increasing flying distance traveled by pilots in the 1940s and 1950s, the need to keep time in multiple zones had grown in importance. And, the GMT-Master is therefore born with its typical Bakelite bezel and a fourth hand, which allowed pilots to use them to calculate a second time-zone.

    The present lot, other than its amazingly well preserved case and bezel features an alluring black lacquer dial with gilt printing whose numerals and hands have aged consistently and present the beholder with a very warm cream hue and the expandable Oyster bracelet from the same period. Furthermore, the original bracelet is fitted with the desirable "big logo" clasp that correctly matches the era of the watch.
    Tool watches were meant to be worn and used daily rather than be kept in a safe and worn only on special occasions. In fact, it was common for their owners to wear and polish them frequently. To find one in such original condition is delightful.

  • 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, attractive and perfectly preserved stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet, centre seconds, dual time and bakelite bezel

Circa 1959
39mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF150,000 - 300,000 

Sold for CHF300,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: SIX

Geneva Auctions 11 - 12 November 2017