Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1963
    Reference No: 6238
    Case No: 930'385
    Model Name: "Pre-Daytona"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Jubilee bracelet, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    A milestone of Rolex’s chronograph production, the reference 6238 was produced in a variety of case and dial combinations, in stainless steel, 14K or 18K yellow gold with a variety of dials such as silver, dark grey, black and even the rarer versions with blue or blue and red multiscale.

    Produced for only seven short years from 1960 to 1967, the Rolex reference 6238 also called “Pre-Daytona” shared similar case size, pushers and baton hands as its contemporary, the first Cosmograph Daytona reference 6239.

    The present watch is an exceedingly striking example, as the dial has turned from white, to an intense espresso brown tone. Such a dramatic color change could only have occurred if the watch was exposed to an extreme source of heat over time. Fortunately, the result is nothing short of extraordinary. Even better, despite the aging of the dial, the luminous material still reacts to a black light. A subtle detail truly sets this watch apart: the underline below the Oyster Chronograph signature, which collectors and historians believe was used to signify a transition from radium to tritium on the dial. The underline is absolutely correct when one considers the serial number.

  • 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 highly rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with intense "tropical" underline dial and bracelet

Circa 1963
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF40,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020