Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1969
    Reference No: 6241
    Case No: 1'947'408
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona "Champagne Paul Newman"
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 722-1, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k yellow gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold deployant clasp dated 2.70
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The idiosyncrasy of a vintage yellow gold “sports” chronograph is what makes a gold Daytona, especially with the “Paul Newman” dial so rare, coveted and exciting. In fact the reference 6241 is amongst the rarest models. It was in production for only 3 short years from 1966 to 1969, scholars estimate that roughly 2000 pieces were produced in stainless steel, approximately 400 in 14k yellow gold and around 300 in 18k yellow gold like the present example making it the rarest of the rare.

    This reference differed from other Daytona models with a new case design that introduced a small protrusion under the crown, which allowed easier winding of the Valjoux caliber 722. It also featured a new bezel composed of a metal support fitted with a black acrylic insert featuring a tachymeter scale printed in white. The “T SWISS T” designation at the lower edge of the dial by 6 o’clock indicates the use of tritium for the hands and luminous hour markers. It is also from this reference on that the word ‘Daytona’ would be officially printed on the dial.

    Exquisite, exemplary and extraordinary, it would not be an overstatement to call the present timepiece a fine artwork for the wrist, the 18k yellow gold case is a perfect frame for the gorgeous cream/champagne colored grené dial, magnified by the black acrylic bezel.

    The “Paul Newman” dial configuration is preserved in superb condition, fully retaining all of its luminous hour markers. The case is also very well preserved, retaining original proportions and full lugs. Furthermore, the untouched nature of the watch is confirmed by the fact that in its 50+ year history only 2 service marks are etched inside the caseback.

    A simple reasoning points out both the historical significance and the rarity of a gold Newman. The Daytona was intended as a professional timepiece for competitive drivers. Thus, a gold version did not make a lot of sense on the paper due to the lower robustness of the metal, not to mention the added weight and cost. A similar reasoning goes for the Paul Newman dial: while extremely eye-pleasing, it definitely is not the epitome of legibility, especially when compared to the standard Daytona dial design. Thus, to find a watch incorporating both traits not only is a fabled occurrence, but it furthermore represents one of the earliest embryonic conceptualisation of what is arguably the biggest market segment in modern watchmaking: luxury sport watches.

    In overall excellent condition, this gem has been hidden and unworn for quite some time as witnessed by the colorful oxidation found on the right side of the case and is an incredibly rare piece of refinement and sophistication with a dash of playfulness.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Ref. 6241
A highly attractive, beautifully preserved and rare yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and "Paul Newman" champagne dial

1969
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF400,000 - 800,000 
€410,000-820,000
$399,000-798,000

Sold for CHF680,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]
 

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63
[email protected]

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022