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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1958
    Reference No: 6542
    Movement No: N'831'195
    Case No: 427'340
    Model Name: GMT-Master
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1066, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 65, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel "Big Logo" Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1.59
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in in 1954, the GMT-Master reference 6542 was designed for pilots to use in their line of work. With the rise of international travel in the 1940s and 1950s, Rolex initially created the model for Pan Am airlines to track dual time zones. This ingenious design featured an immediately recognizable bakelite bezel with the twenty-four hour numerals painted on the underside, made to glow in any weather condition. Bakelite was Rolex's material of choice, due to its low reflectivity and high readability. The additional luminous 24 hour tipped hand allowed the viewer to immediately track a second time zone.

    Given that the GMT-Master was created for specific, work-related purposes, most examples were cased in stainless steel. These watches were worn in the most practical sense and made to withstand the elements. Thus, it is incredibly to find watches in original condition, like the present example. Due to the immense fragility of these watches, it is incredibly rare to find examples fitted with their original bakelite insert.

    This example is distinguished by its impressive state of preservation. The dial remains glossy and mirror-like, and the luminous material has aged evenly with the hands. The case remains in exceptional condition, with sharp edges and fat bevels. The bezel shows minimal wear, which is a feat in itself. Such excellent examples hardly ever come on the market, no less in such original condition. As an added detail, its accompanied by its original "Big Logo" bracelet stamped for the first quarter of 1959.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Ref. 6542
A highly rare, extremely well-preserved and attractive stainless steel dual time wristwatch with center seconds, date, bakelite bezel and bracelet

Circa 1958
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF120,000 - 240,000 
€111,000-222,000
$131,000-261,000

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020