A rare and extremely well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet, dual time, bakelite bezel, box and papers

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1959
    Reference No: 6542 caseback further stamped III.59
    Movement No: DN891'915
    Case No: 482'084
    Model Name: GMT-Master "Pussy Galore"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1066, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stapmed 65, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp 4.58
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex fitted presentation box, Guarantee stamped 5 Dec 1959, blank Chronometer certifficate, Bulletin de marche stamped 10 Nov 1959, product literature, service correspondance from 1987
    Literature: For another expample of a reference 6542 with Bakelite bezel see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, p. 192

  • Catalogue Essay

    The story of the Rolex GMT is one that starts with the increase in the number of transatlantic flights, and fully realizes thanks to a partnership with one of the most successful airline companies of the 1950s. Indeed, during that time, the venerable Pan-American airlines was looking for an extremely reliable tool watch that would allow its pilots to keep track of two different time zones.
    Rolex’s response was a never seen before GMT design, involving a rotating Bakelite bezel graduated to 24 hours and divided into two sections, one red for the hours of the day, and another blue for the night hours. An additional hour hand was added to the original hours and minutes to indicate the hour of the second time zone. And just like that, the reference 6542 was born.
    Instantly recognizable because of its colorful bezel, Rolex’s first GMT was produced for only five short years, before the brand realized how fragile the Bakelite bezel was. The next GMT would feature a metallic insert, which also reduced the risk of accidental glare for the pilots. This novelty altered the watch’s core design, and many collectors would argue that later GMT models would not capture the essence and charm of the original model.
    Looking at a 6542 is a bit like looking at early advertisements of the Golden Age of Flying: an era of sumptuous design, a time in which the flying experience – from the visual look of the cabin, to the pilot’s uniform, right down to the silverware – was imagined by some of the world’s best designers.
    The present GMT Master 6542 is a fantastic testimony of this golden era. It remains in superb condition with a Bakelite bezel that has stood the test of time with success. It has aged to a night blue and oxblood color. The black glossy dial is further adorned by gilt printing and luminous indexes that have developed a warm patina, not unlike a rich crème brulée color.
    Furthermore, the original bracelet is fitted with the desirable “big logo” clasp stamped 4.58. It is a dream come true for any collector as it not only provides great looks but is also accompanied by its box, original guarantee, Bulletin de Marche and a correspondence between “The Rolex Watch Company” in the United Kingdom and the owner in 1987.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    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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Rolex

Ref. 6542 caseback further stamped III.59
A rare and extremely well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with bracelet, dual time, bakelite bezel, box and papers

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

Estimate
CHF90,000 - 130,000 
€79,200-114,000
$92,200-133,000

sold for CHF156,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018