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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 6062
    Movement No: N32'971 further stamped 00188
    Case No: 942'612 further stamped III.53 inside caseback
    Model Name: Stelline
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 9 3/4'', 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Jubilee bracelet, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1 54
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The discovery of the present time capsule, fresh to the auction market, Rolex Ref 6062 with a never seen before K.W. Co signed dial is an almost transcendental event.

    Placed discreetly beneath the day and month apertures, the K.W. Co signature. Two interpretations exist as what this signature stands for, either it suggests the watch was retailed by the “Knickerbocker Watch Company”, an American importer of Swiss watches and wristwatches, or that it is the signature of a now defunct retailer in India.

    Whereas, this signature had been previously seen on various time only Rolex models (albeit rarely) this is the first time we see it on a reference 6062 making the present watch truly unique.

    Reference 6062 was one of Rolex’s earliest forays into the luxury watch market. Up until the 1950s, Rolex's production consisted mostly of chronograph pieces or simple calendar (Datejust) watches. The most remarkable innovations introduced by Rolex in the first part of the past century were not complications but horological inventions that would impact the future of watchmaking: the rotor for automatic winding and the waterproof Oyster case: two unfathomably ingenious, useful and equally practical inventions.

    From this point of view, reference 6062 is a momentous milestone: for the first time Rolex left its “comfort zone” of relatively simple pieces and tried to create a complicated dress wristwatch. This was a double effort, as the non-waterproof reference 8171 - featuring the same set of complications - was also released at the same time. The fact that these two references are now among the rarest models made by the house speaks volumes about how that experiment went: in the eyes of the public, Rolex was not yet so strongly associated with complicated watches, albeit it had already grown to being one of the most important watchmakers in the world, and the market gave the models a lukewarm reception.

    In fact, after this experience, Rolex focused on professional pieces (chronographs, dual-time watches, simple calendars) until the 1990s, and it would take more than half a century before Rolex released another moon phase model, the Cellini ref. 50535, launched in 2017.

    When analyzing reference 6062, one cannot help but appreciate how it truly feels like a luxury evolution of a sport’s watch fully exemplifying Rolex’s genetic codes. First and foremost, the Oyster case makes it a waterproof piece, which is somewhat of a contradiction for a luxury watch, especially at that time. Furthermore, it is equipped with an automatic rotor. To give a comparison, Patek Philippe didn’t produce any waterproof calendar piece, with exception of the very rare reference 2438/1, until the late 1980s. Continuing with this model’s idiosyncrasy, reference 6062 was mostly produced in yellow gold, another oddity for a waterproof case. As a matter of fact, reference 6062 is among the very rare vintage Rolex models to feature a gold production higher than steel.

    Thus, this reference not only is an example of one of the most unusual, historically important and attractive Rolex models ever made, but it is furthermore a representative of the extremely scarce steel variety of such model, a rarity that is further enhanced by the unique K.W. Co signature on the dial.

    It is interesting to point out how stainless steel examples of the reference appear to feature exclusively the “Semi-Explorer” dial configuration (with Arabic 3 and 9, reminiscent of the famous 3/6/9 Explorer dial) in either steel or gold color. This layout bolsters the utilitarian appeal of the piece, and when featuring gold colored markers - such as in this watch - it creates a very pleasing contrast with the steel case. Whereas this signature had been previously seen on various time only Rolex models (albeit rarely) this is the first time we see it on a reference 6062 making the present watch truly unique.

    The case further impresses thanks to its unmolested state of preservation: the lugs are full and their proportions intact, the satin finish is also very well preserved, the serial and reference numbers between the lugs are extremely crisp as are the "Modèle Déposé" “Registered Design” engravings on the caseback.

    The inside caseback has no service marks leading us to believe the watch was never touched by another watchmaker other than the one who assembled it in 1953!

    Steel reference 6062s seldom appear on the auction market (the present example being only the third to be offered by Phillips since 2015) but one in such untouched condition with unique K.W. Co signed dial and fresh to the market represents a grail for the most demanding of vintage Rolex collectors.

  • 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. 6062
A possibly unique, well preserved and important stainless steel triple calendar wristwatch with moonphases and bracelet, retailed by K.W. Co

1953
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF600,000 - 1,200,000 
€559,000-1,120,000
$649,000-1,300,000

Sold for CHF1,361,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021