An extraordinarily rare, extremely attractive, and important yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with “Paul Newman Lemon” dial and service guarantee

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: 6264; inside caseback further stamped 6241
    Case No: 2’357’455
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman “Lemon”
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 727, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Rolex Oyster rivet bracelet, endlinks stamped 71, max length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Rolex Oyster folding clasp, stamped 4.72
    Dimensions: 37mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex International Service Center guarantee dated 10 August 1999.
    Literature: An example of a reference 6264 with “Lemon” dial is illustrated and catalogued in John Goldberger’s 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, pp. 254-255.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Collectors speak of “grail” watches, and the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with “Paul Newman Lemon” dial is one such watch. When a Rolex Daytona bears a “Lemon” dial, it is a classification of traits that is rarely ever seen and consequently, singularly coveted.

    What differentiates a “Lemon” Paul Newman Daytona from the more commonly found champagne-dial Paul Newman Daytona? The devil is in the details, and the details are in the dial. To be considered a “Lemon” Paul Newman, the main dial must have a matte-finished, grèné, or grained, texture with an almost powdery effect with a more cream yellow color than a metallic gold or champagne. Compared with the yellow main dial on the more regularly seen champagne Paul Newman Daytonas, the “Lemon” dials feature an intense shade of yellow that sets them apart.

    The most distinctive feature can be found on the subdials of the “Lemon”. Instead of matching the gilt printing found on the black outer track, they have vivid, white printed Art Deco numerals – a coveted characteristic immediately spotted by those who know. Overall, the combination of the creamy yellow dial and stark, white subdial numerals is quite striking – especially when paired with a black outer track. The dial on the present example is breathtaking, with no flaws seen on the main dial or sub-dial, and all of its luminous hour markers remaining fully intact. The black outer track, with its charismatic gold printing, is slowly but surely tropicalizing and turning a pleasing shade of dark brown.

    Cased in 18 karat yellow gold as expected for all “Lemon” Paul Newman Daytonas, most impressively, the caseback of the present lot displays the hallowed symbols of French importation - two owl heads and a “Socièté Rolex” stamp to the caseback. These hallmarks are extremely rare in and of themselves, and moreover, are preserved in extraordinary condition.

    The present watch retains its original Mark I bezel, with inner caseback stamped 6241. To add to its authenticity, most of the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman’s with so-called “Lemon” dials in 18K yellow gold appear in the same serial number range as the one being offered here, beginning with 2’357’XXX, and the current example is within 10 digits of several other confirmed pieces. Furthermore, the presence of this watch’s service guarantee from Rolex indicates that the famously strict manufacture gave this piece their internal blessing. Offered for the first time publicly from the vault of an important collector, and given the extreme rarity of these pieces, the present lot offers a chance to acquire an extraordinarily rare and well-preserved vintage Rolex. To see and own such a watch in similar condition may not happen again in the near or distant future.

  • Maker Bio

    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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Rolex

Ref. 6264; inside caseback further stamped 6241
An extraordinarily rare, extremely attractive, and important yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with “Paul Newman Lemon” dial and service guarantee

Circa 1969
37mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$450,000 - 900,000 
CHF448,000-896,000
€408,000-816,000
HK$3,520,000-7,050,000

sold for $884,000

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019