Rolex - Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History Hong Kong Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1955
    Reference No: 6234
    Case No: 144’296
    Model Name: ‘Oyster Chronograph’
    Material: 14k yellow gold
    Calibre: Mechanical, 72, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 14k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, 180 mm. maximum length
    Clasp/Buckle: 14k yellow gold Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped Rolex SA 4.50
    Dimensions: 36 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For another example of a 14k yellow gold reference 6234, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 124.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Production of reference 6234 was extremely limited. Since the reference’s launch in 1955, approximately 2300 examples were produced in stainless steel. In contrast, scholars theorize that less than 150 examples were cased in 14k or 18k yellow gold. The reference ceased production after approximately six years of manufacture, replaced by reference 6238.

    The present example, cased in 14k yellow gold, is extremely rare especially when one takes into account the reference’s total production number. According to our research, approximately 100 examples were cased in 14k gold. Rolex scholars today hypothesize that watches cased in 14k yellow gold were intended for import to the US market.

    Reference 6234 was fitted with a variety of dials, ranging from those with a matte or lacquer finish, to various subsidiary register sizes, and even contrasting tachometer/telemeter color combinations. These variations were used to gauge the market’s tastes for chronograph wristwatches.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    At first glance, I am most impressed by the crisp condition of this early reference 6234. The case features sharp factory finishes to the top of the lugs and the case back. The 14k yellow gold hallmark, a squirrel, is punched deep into the back of the lug. The inside case back also displays the same 14k hallmark.

    I also like how correct this example is. The movement is stamped ROW, which signifies the present watch was intended for import to the US market, which is correct considering the watch is cased in 14k yellow gold. The 14k bracelet is from the period, and is in wonderful condition.

  • 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. 6234
An especially fine, incredibly rare and highly attractive 14k yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with ‘grainé’ white dial and bracelet

Circa 1955
36 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$480,000 - 960,000 

Sold for HK$625,000

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Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016