Rolex - Game Changers New York Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1968
    Reference No: 6241; inner caseback also stamped 6241
    Case No: 1’947’396
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman "John Player Special"
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 722-1, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Gold-plated
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, buckle, and movement signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by original Rolex guarantee confirming sale in Hong Kong on 2 February 1971.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Racing cars are often known for their vivid livery: John Wyer’s orange and blue Mirage M1 that eventually became the GT40 in 1968 and won Le Mans two years running, the red and white stripes of Marlboro sponsored cars, or even British Racing Green which can be seen painted on English cars. As cars and watches are so symbiotic, these colors have transferred onto automobiles’ smaller mechanical companions to great success. One of the sleekest, most-desired, and valued color schemes is the black and gold of the John Player Special Tobacco company, which in 1972, was chosen as the livery of Team Lotus’s Formula One race cars.

    The similar gold and black scheme of the gold-cased vintage Daytona reference 6241 with black “Paul Newman” dial takes its nickname “John Player Special” from these cars and the cigarette-maker that sponsored them. The John Player Special has risen to become one of the most important, iconic models in the field of vintage Rolex sports watches. The reference 6241 was manufactured between approximately 1966 and 1969, with our research indicating that fewer than 300 examples were cased in 18K yellow gold. While the watch was conceived some years before the car and has no relation to the sporting event, from the contrasting black and gold graphics to the intricate trim and details, the similarities between the two are absolutely uncanny.

    Absolutely fresh-to-the-market and purchased by the consignor from the family of the original owner, this previously unknown John Player Special displays some highly collectible and coveted traits. The superb dial is as close to a perfect 10 out of 10 as one will ever see, with no flaws or blemishes whatsoever, allowing the vibrant contrast of the main dial and sub dials to glow. Each original luminous plot is perfectly formed, even, and matches the intact luminous material on the handset. The charismatic, sing-a-song “T-SWISS-T” printing at the bottom of the dial is the rarely-seen enlarged print version with beautiful serifs present on each letter, perfectly correct for the serial number range. The 18K yellow gold case retains very strong proportions and sharp hallmarks. Furthermore, this reference 6241 bearing the serial number 1’947’396 (several JPS examples that have appeared on the market bear similar 1’947’XXX serial numbers demonstrating they were perhaps produced in one batch) retains its original guarantee from Rolex, indicating it was sold on February 2nd, 1971 by Artland Watch Company in Hong Kong. Combined, these qualities make the present JPS an unmissable opportunity for the discerning collector to acquire an extraordinarily beautiful, wearable, and collectable piece of Rolex history.

  • 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. 6241; inner caseback also stamped 6241
A very fine, well-preserved, and highly attractive yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with “Paul Newman” dial and original guarantee

Circa 1968
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, buckle, and movement signed.

$350,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $758,000

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

Game Changers

New York Auction 10 December 2019