A highly exclusive, important and exceptionally well-preserved yellow gold dual time wristwatch with date, bakelite bezel and bracelet

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 6542
    Movement No: N'727'856
    Case No: 367'395
    Model Name: GMT-Master
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1065. 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, dial further signed Serpico y Laino and outside caseback with hallmarks

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present watch is an absolutely breathtaking and exceptional GMT-Master. Most impressively, it is the only known and correct reference 6542 cased in yellow gold and retailed by Serpico y Laino to have ever appeared at auction. All details and components are as they should be, rendering it one of the most important reference 6542s to ever appear on the market. Having first surfaced at public auction seven years ago, the watch has remained unaltered and in private hands ever since.

    The honey-colored dial is spectacular and most notably displays the signature of Serpico y Laino above the GMT-Master text. Through time, it has faded slightly, giving it an incredibly charismatic appearance. All luminous material has aged consistently and now display warm patina. The original bakelite bezel remains intact and is preserved in exceptional condition. It does not show any signs of cracking - an incredible feat, considering that bakelite is incredibly fragile and brittle. The case is preserved in beautiful and excellent condition, with crisp bevels that are still visible. Most importantly, the outside case back is stamped with gold marks - a common feature among South American imported timepieces. The timepiece even retains its original Jubilee "Big Logo" bracelet stamped for the fourth quarter of 1958.

    First released in in 1954, the GMT-Master reference 6542 was designed for pilots to use in their line of work. With the rise of international travel in the 1940s and 1950s, Rolex initially created the model for Pan Am airlines to track dual time zones. This ingenious design featured an immediately recognizable bakelite bezel with the twenty-four hour radium numerals painted on the underside, made to glow in any weather condition. Bakelite was Rolex's material of choice, due to its low reflectivity and high readability. The additional luminous 24 hour tipped hand allowed the viewer to immediately track a second time zone.

    Given that the GMT-Master was created for specific, work-related purposes, most examples were cased in stainless steel. These watches were worn in the most practical sense and made to withstand the elements. Yet, Rolex also manufactured a very limited number of watches cased in yellow gold, and fitted with a brown bakelite bezel. Due to the immense fragility of these watches, it is incredibly rare to find examples fitted with their original bakelite insert.

  • 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. 6542
A highly exclusive, important and exceptionally well-preserved yellow gold dual time wristwatch with date, bakelite bezel and bracelet

1958
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed, dial further signed Serpico y Laino and outside caseback with hallmarks

Estimate
CHF150,000 - 300,000 
€137,000-275,000
$151,000-301,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Virginie Liatard-Roessli
Specialist, Head of Sale
+41 76 338 91 03
vliatard@phillips.com

Double Signed: A Celebration of the Finest Partnerships Between Manufacturers and Retailers

Geneva Auction 9 November 2019