A highly interesting and historically important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with most probably unique black and white ‘pre-Paul Newman’ style dial, featuring oversized registers and black outer seconds marks on white track

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1966
    Reference No: 6240 "The Neanderthal"
    Case No: 1’439’122
    Model Name: Cosmograph
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, reference 6635, end links stamped 57, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 4.65
    Dimensions: 37.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: The present watch is prominently illustrated in Ultimate Rolex Daytona by Pucci Papaleo Editions, pages 340 to 343.

  • Catalogue Essay

    First launched in 1965, reference 6240 was manufactured exclusively in stainless steel and featured an acrylic bezel that displayed the tachymeter. It was most notably the first “Cosmograph” wristwatch equipped with screw- down chronograph pushers, which provided improved water resistance. Produced for a few years only, reference 6240 eventually evolved to the well-known references 6263 and 6265.
    Most probably unique and incredibly important, this reference 6240 presents a completely novel and unprecedented way of understanding the “Cosmograph”. To the best of our knowledge, there is no other timepiece that features this dial configuration.

    This dial also displays a color scheme that we never seen again anywhere in Rolex’s production. Furthermore, its proportions are also quite unique, thanks to its oversized subsidiary dials that nearly touch the outer white seconds track. Any Cosmograph boasting oversized registers is called today a “Big Eye”. This example’s unicorn characteristics are underlined by the fact that the dial omits any Cosmographs and Oyster designation as well as any hint that it belongs to the Daytona family. This layout is truly unlike anything the market has ever seen before.

    The ancestor of the “Paul Newman”, this timepiece was presumably created before exotic dials were serially produced and during a time when Rolex experimented with various design codes. Thus, “The Neanderthal” provides a rare window into the inner workings of Rolex, enabling collectors to first, imagine what could be, and second, peek into the firm's past to understand the conceptual development and visual history of the Cosmograph Daytona “Paul Newman” design.

    Other interesting features of note are the correct first series pushers, with the brass peeking through the pushers, having aged with patina over time giving the wristwatch a lot of character. The watch furthermore retains its original twinlock 700 series winding crown, characterized by only the Rolex coronet.

  • 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. 6240 "The Neanderthal"
A highly interesting and historically important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with most probably unique black and white ‘pre-Paul Newman’ style dial, featuring oversized registers and black outer seconds marks on white track

Circa 1966
37.5mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF2,500,000 - 5,000,000 

sold for CHF3,012,500

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

Daytona Ultimatum

Geneva Auction 12 May 2018