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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1953
    Reference No: 6034
    Case No: 907'471
    Model Name: Oyster Chronograph
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 72B, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Provenance: Christie's, New York, Important Pocket Watches & Wristwatches Featuring Property from the Collection of Eric Clapton, June 5, 2003, lot 164.
    Christie’s, Geneva, May 13,2013, lot 129.

  • Provenance

    Christie's, New York, Important Pocket Watches & Wristwatches Featuring Property from the Collection of Eric Clapton, June 5, 2003, lot 164.
    Christie’s, Geneva, May 13,2013, lot 129.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Introduced in the first half of 1950s, reference 6034 was among one of the earliest series of chronographs in the ref. 6000 range. Sometimes referred to as the Pre-Daytona alongside ref. 6238, it is in fact an ancestor of 6238, thus making it the grandfather of the Daytona.

    Indeed, the watch employs an Oyster case, paving the way to what would become one of the most popular designs of the 20th century: the coveted Cosmograph Daytona. Worth noting is that Rolex considered such a design an Oyster one - as mentioned on the dial - even though it lacks screw-down pushers. Only after their introduction with ref. 6240 they will be considered a fundamental part of an Oyster case (and indeed 1970s ref. 6262 and 6264 with pump pushers do not usually bear the “Oyster” designation).

    Two traits distinguish this example from the rest, one apparent, and one “hidden”.

    The latter one consists in the fact that the present piece has been part of one of the most famous watch collections of all times, that of Eric Clapton CBE. Possibly as skilled a collector as he is a guitar player, Mr. Clapton’s unerringly selected the best in rarity and quality for his collection, to the point of owning some of the most coveted wristwatches on the planet (for example, the platinum Patek Philippe reference 2499). It is no surprise that a watch bearing his “mark of approval”, combined with the fact that he is not only one of the greatest collectors of all times but one of the greatest artists as well, is always an unmissable opportunity for the connoisseur. The present watch was offered at the Important Pocket Watches & Wristwatches Featuring Property from the Collection of Eric Clapton sale in New York, 2003.

    The second trait that highlights the present timepiece is obviously its incredible tropical dial. Rather than the monochromatic tropicalisation which one is used to seeing (if the expression “used to seeing” can even be employed with something as rare as a tropical dial), this watch features in incredibly “alive” mottle tropical pattern ranging from light tobacco to dark chocolate. An incredible explosion of hues and tonalities, the tropical effect grants this piece enormous charisma and appeal.

    The coupling of its distinguished provenance with its incredible aesthetics renders the present timepiece one of the most intriguing examples of ref. 6034 to ever grace an auction room.

  • 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. 6034
A fascinating and highly collectible stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with tropical dial, formerly property of Eric Clapton CBE

Circa 1953
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF120,000 - 240,000 
€124,000-247,000
$120,000-240,000

Sold for CHF189,000

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