Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: 6263, inside caseback stamped "6239"
    Case No: 2'085'554
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona, "Oyster Sotto", "RCO"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 727, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster folded-links bracelet stamped "7835 19" and "261" to the end links, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "S T3" and "7835" to the clasp
    Dimensions: 36.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The owner of the present Rolex “Oyster Sotto” had turned down the offer for a “Tudor” (pronounce two door) by replying that he preferred a “four door” to a sales assistant at retailer Wolfgang Schon, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada in late 1974 and this little joke resulted in him walking out of the shop with a Rolex Cosmograph ref 6263 with a “Paul Newman Oyster Sotto” strapped on his wrist. The present watch has remained with its original owner since then.

    Following the purchase of a sailboat, the owner was looking for a water resistant chronograph to be used while sailing and the Cosmograph ticked all the boxes. Little did he know at the time of purchase that this particular variation would later become one of the most sought after vintage Daytonas of the 21st century.

    Considered the apex of Daytona collecting, this extremely rare variation - less than two dozen are known overall - was made during the last leg of production of the Paul Newman dial. While the “Exotic” (as Rolex called the Paul Newman dial at the time) dials were being phased out due to their low popularity, the Sotto variation came about most probably due to Rolex manufacturing processes at the time. It is speculated that a number of Paul Newman dials made for non-Oyster (without screw-down pushers) models were repurposed to be fitted in Oyster cases. Thus, the word Oyster was added under - “sotto” in Italian - the “Rolex Cosmograph” print and these dials read “Rolex Cosmograph Oyster” (RCO, per their American nickname) rather than the usual “Rolex Oyster Cosmograph”. Oyster Sotto timepieces are indisputably regarded as “Holy Grails” of Daytona collecting.

    The dial of the present watch is classified as Mk 1. It features a “small R” in Rolex and ever so slightly slanted ‘H’ in “Cosmograph”. Furthermore, the “Oyster” designation does not have serifs. Most importantly, the earliest “Oyster Sotto” models are all found within a close serial range of each other, bearing a 2’085’xxx serial number. Moreover, they are fitted with a 6239 case back stamped C.R.S for the maker C.R. Spillmann S.A.

    The owner of the present “Oyster Sotto” traveled the world for his profession and his career moves took him to Canada, Norway, Turkey, Jordan, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and adventures taking him to the four corners of the earth and some 35 countries skiing, scuba diving and sailing.

    The watch was with him all this time and has seen temperatures ranging from -50C to +50C with proven reliability.

    In overall very attractive condition the present “Oyster Sotto” has travelled the world over and as the original owner states “it time for the watch to enter a new phase of appreciation by a worthy owner”.

  • 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. 6263, inside caseback stamped "6239"
An extremely well-preserved and very important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman "Oyster Sotto" dial and bracelet

Circa 1969
36.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for CHF554,400

Contact Specialist

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

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021