Rolex - Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History Hong Kong Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1960
    Reference No: 6234
    Case No: 688'586
    Model Name: 'Pre-Daytona'
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Mechanical, 72A, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, 185 mm. maximum length, end links stamped 71
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped 2.63
    Dimensions: 36 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For a similar example of reference 6234 fitted with a black dial, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pages 126 and 127.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1955, reference 6234 is better known as the 'Godfather' of Daytonas. While the reference ceased production around 1961, it inspired successors such as the 'Father' of Daytonas, the 6238, and finally references such as 6239, 6241, 6240, 6263, 6265 and so forth.

    The reference most notably featured a tachometer scale on the outer track, and a telemeter scale printed in the inner track. At the time of production, the manual movement and Oyster case fit for an incredibly compact timepiece, made to withstand the elements. Valjoux, known for their high standard in quality, was selected to produce the movements.

    Reference 6234 was cased in 14k or 18k gold, as well as in stainless steel. The ‘Oyster Chronographs’ also featured a variety of dial variations, ranging from those with smaller subsidiary registers, to ones fitted with an attractive black lacquer finish.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    The present watch is an exceedingly rare variant of reference 6234 as it is fitted with a black lacquer dial. Only a handful of watches fitted with such dials have appeared on the market so far, which makes the example illustrated here incredibly desirable.

    While the black lacquer dial variation is already very rare, what truly sets this watch apart from its peers is its ‘tropical’ finish. It is astonishing to admire how a dial ages through time and develops its own distinctive character. Over the past fifty-six years, the present dial has 'turned' to an incredible strong brown color, which is very rich in tone and exhibits a full glossy finish. While the center is darker, it seems as if the color gradually becomes lighter towards the edges, giving the dial an almost dégradé finish. Applied dagger numerals further compliment the dial, accompanied by round, perfectly formed and original luminous dots.

    The case is furthermore preserved in excellent condition with sharp finishes, and the movement is stamped ROW, indicating the present watch was imported to the United States market. This watch ticks every requirement a stringent collector desires.

  • 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 incredibly rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black lacquer 'tropical' dial and bracelet

Circa 1960
36 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$1,200,000 - 2,400,000 

Sold for HK$2,480,000

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Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016