A highly rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, presumably among the first to bear the ‘Daytona’ designation, with white grené dial displaying double ‘ –T Swiss T–’ inscription, and brushed bezel

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1964
    Reference No: 6239 "The Gandalf"
    Case No: 1’080’218
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex C&I Oyster bracelet, max. length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex C&I deployant clasp stamped 7.72
    Dimensions: 36.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: The present watch is prominently illustrated in Ultimate Rolex Daytona by Pucci Papaleo Editions, pages 112 to 115.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1963, reference 6239 was initially cased in stainless steel. The very earliest examples did not display “Daytona”. It was only later that Rolex experimented by printing “Daytona” in different positions on the dial. The very first Cosmograph featured the tachymeter scale on the bezel, unlike its predecessors references 6238 or 6234, which displayed it on the dial.

    Most importantly, this watch is one of the first examples to bear the now iconic “Daytona” signature. It displays “Daytona” suspended below the “Rolex Cosmograph” inscription. Featuring a grené dial colored like Gandalf’s robe, this early reference 6239 displays several important details that illustrate the model’s aesthetic evolution. Similar to the early “Double Swiss” model, this dial displays a double “–T Swiss T–”. Rolex originally used dial stamps made for previous models as it began the Daytona production. As the bezel was larger, it covered a portion of the dial at 6 o’clock. Thus, they had to stamp “–T Swiss T–” again, this time immediately visible once fitted. The ‘T’ letters indicate the use of tritium.

    Another important feature is the early brushed bezel. Calibrated to 300 units, the bezel is correct for this serial number. It is important to note that the satin finish does not overlap the engraved scale and is of such precision and regularity that we can safely assume this is how it left the manufacturer’s workshop. Like many first generation “Double Swiss” 6239s, the watch is equipped with a ROW movement bridge, proving it was made for the American market.

  • 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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Rolex

Ref. 6239 "The Gandalf"
A highly rare and early stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, presumably among the first to bear the ‘Daytona’ designation, with white grené dial displaying double ‘ –T Swiss T–’ inscription, and brushed bezel

Circa 1964
36.5mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 200,000 

sold for CHF156,250

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

Daytona Ultimatum

Geneva Auction 12 May 2018