Rolex - Racing Pulse New York Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1967
    Reference No: 6239; inside caseback stamped 6239
    Case No: 1’757’921
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona “Paul Newman”
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 722-1, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold-plated Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    For many collectors, any original and well-preserved “Paul Newman” Daytona is worth celebrating. Within this realm, gold “Paul Newman” Daytonas are even more rarified, combining extreme scarcity with outstanding good looks and panache. When originally offered on the market in the late 1960s, they were the amongst the most luxurious sports watches available.

    Though the entire production run of the reference 6239 totaled about 14,000 units, only approximately 300 of these were cased in 18K yellow gold – fitted with either an exotic or non-exotic dial. Only a handful fitted with champagne Paul Newman dial have appeared at public auction, most notably the so-called “Golden Pagoda” sold during Phillips Geneva’s 2018 sale “Daytona Ultimatum”. Incredibly, the present example is just 4 serial numbers away from that of the “Golden Pagoda”. No other similar example in recent memory can boast of the impeccable provenance of the current 6239 being offered directly from the family of the original owner.

    Born in Gothenberg, Sweden, in 1920, the original owner immigrated to Pasadena, CA in 1935 and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1938. A veteran of World War II, he flew more than 67 missions, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and receiving 14 medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement. After the war, he spent three years at the American Embassy in Paris as a Technical Air attaché, assisting France in rebuilding its aeronautical capabilities. For assisting in the move of the German Ötztal Trans-Sonic Wind Tunnel from Austria to Mondane, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur. After serving in the Air Force, he spent his civilian life as an employee of North American Aviation, where he was posted to Geneva, Switzerland in the 1960s. According to his widow, it was during these years in Geneva that he acquired the present reference 6239 Daytona. Cherished by his family, he passed away in 2004 in San Diego, CA.

    Worn carefully on important occasions, this reference 6239 has been preserved in incredible original condition. The case is in superb overall condition, with thick lugs that retain their original brushed finishing. The engravings between the lugs are extremely crisp, as are the hallmarks found on the underside of the lugs. The truly magnificent dial is a joy to examine. It is absolutely pristine, with a gorgeous creamy champagne tone. Its outstanding quality is further evidenced by examining the original luminous hour markers. Each is perfectly full and intact, and perfectly match the luminous hour and minute hands. The larger, slightly slanted “T SWISS T” designation at 6 o’clock is exactly correct for its serial number range. This fresh-to-market reference 6239 is one of the finest manually-wound gold Daytonas to surface, and we are thrilled that the family of such a distinguished and heroic pilot, father, and husband entrusted Phillips with the sale of such an important timepiece.

    Consigned by the Family of the Original Owner

  • 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. 6239; inside caseback stamped 6239
An extremely rare, well-preserved, and highly attractive yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with champagne “Paul Newman” dial

Circa 1967
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

$300,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $529,200

Contact Specialist

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

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020