Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: X Hong Kong Friday, July 10, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1956
    Reference No: 6309, repeated inside caseback
    Movement No: 22’449
    Case No: 141’426
    Model Name: Datejust “Thunderbird”
    Material: 18K pink gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K pink gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K pink gold Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “3,56”
    Dimensions: 35mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Fitted with a rotating bezel, the feature has been an important tool for divers, pilots and other tech-savvy professionals from the era. Rolex introduced their first wristwatch featuring a rotating bezel in 1937 and adopted the name “Zerographe”. Since then, the ref. 6202 was the firm’s first sports wristwatch to incorporate the feature. However, due to its lack of interest, the production seized just after a few years with very limited examples produced.

    In 1954, the golden era for professional tool watches, Rolex incorporated the Turn-O-Graph and Datejust to produce the ref. 6309. Introduced as a combination between a dress and sports watch, the watch was proudly advertised alongside the U.S Air Force acrobatic flying team to cater towards the growing US market. With its successful inception, Datejust models fitted with a rotating bezel were deemed as the “Thunderbird”.

    The present example in a rare 18K pink gold case is fitted with the first generation of “Thunderbird” rotating bezel with crisp engine-turned finishing to the surface. Presented in attractive overall condition, the present timepiece is also fitted with the correct crown for the period featuring a Brevet cross embossed below the coronet. Adding to its attraction, the well-preserved dial also features the original “roulette” style date wheel, which is rare on its own today.

  • Artist Biography


    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. 6309, repeated inside caseback
A very fine and rare pink gold wristwatch with center seconds, date, rotating bezel and bracelet

Circa 1956
35mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$235,000 - 350,000 

Sold for HK$293,750

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001


The Hong Kong Watch Auction: X

Hong Kong Auction 10 July 2020