An early, highly rare and very well-preserved ‘First Series’ chronograph wristwatch with ‘Double Swiss Underline’ black dial, tachymeter bezel and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1963
    Reference No: 6239 "The Ancestor" inside case back stamped 6238
    Case No: 923’233
    Model Name: Cosmograph
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 7205, end links stamped 71, max. length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 1.64
    Dimensions: 36.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: For a comparable example in literature, please consult Ultimate Rolex Daytona by Pucci Papaleo Editions, pages 104 to 107.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 6239 was introduced in 1963, which was a breakthrough year for Rolex. Named the "Cosmograph”, the model featured for the very first time a tachymeter scale on the bezel. While originally announced as the "Le Mans" it was eventually called "Daytona”.

    This watch is among the earliest reference 6239s ever produced and displays all the correct attributes of the popular "Double Swiss Underline". The Mk 1 bezel is calibrated to 300 units per hour and features small hash marks. It is also recognizable by the 275 intermediary unit, which cannot be found on later examples. The black "Double Swiss Underline" dial is most compelling. Rolex had originally used dial stamps that were designed for use on previous models. Since the bezel of the new "Cosmograph" was larger and covered the original printing, Rolex redesigned the stamps and printed "Swiss" the second time. Once the dial was fitted, the inscription was immediately visible again.

    Most striking is the underline below the Rolex Cosmograph signature, which scholars believe was used to signify a transition from radium to tritium on the dial. Other small details pull the watch together, such as the 6238 case back, which is correct as Rolex usually used the leftover case backs from previous models. The movement is stamped ROW, indicating it was made for the American market – another typical attribute. The hands are also slightly longer and thinner, almost touching the edge of the hour markers. This watch appeals to purists “in the know” who seek a subtle yet interesting Cosmograph.

  • 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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Ο23

Rolex

Ref. 6239 "The Ancestor" inside case back stamped 6238
An early, highly rare and very well-preserved ‘First Series’ chronograph wristwatch with ‘Double Swiss Underline’ black dial, tachymeter bezel and bracelet

Circa 1963
36.5mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 200,000 

sold for CHF275,000

Contact Specialist
Tiffany To
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 96 63
tto@phillips.com

Daytona Ultimatum

Geneva Auction 12 May 2018