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ROLEX 1930s-2010s The first dedicated Rolex auction session

Written by Aksel Ritenis

ROLEX 1930s-2010s

The first dedicated Rolex auction session

 116 lots – 55 different references – retracing watchmaking at its best

« Rolex stands for exploration, by reaching the limits of this planet, by exploring the deepest and highest points, the coldest and hottest spots, it translates to speed from 1 horse power to 500+ as well as to cultural activities. But most importantly, Rolex stands for precision in a timeless design on which people have relied on since 1905. Reasons enough to celebrate this timepiece in all its facettes by staging the first ever stand-alone Rolex auction afternoon.»

Christie’s Geneva will dedicate the afternoon session of its Important Watches auction on 15 May entirely to Rolex by offering 116 watches of 55 different references, retracing the history of this watchmaker from the 1930s to the latest models introduced to the market.

This is the largest gathering of Rolex timepieces any auction house has ever offered in one single afternoon, with estimates ranging from CHF/US$2,000 to CHF/US$ 500,000 and we are delighted to take young as well as established collectors and watch enthusiasts on a discovery tour:



ROLEX. A POSSIBLY UNIQUE 18K GOLD CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH TROPICAL LEMON DIAL AND WHITE NUMERALS INSIDE THE SUBSIDIARY DIALS, COSMOGRAPH, DAYTONA, PAUL NEWMAN MODEL, REF. 6264, CIRCA 1970 A new discovery and entirely fresh to the market with only two previous owners, the Rolex gold 6264 Paul Newman tropical lemon dial is a watch that almost nobody knew existed until recently. What really sets the pulse racing when one is first confronted with this watch is the realization that both the outer minute/fifths of a second ring and all three subsidiary dials have tropicalized from black to an even rich chocolate brown. This incredible tropicalization comes on top of the fact that the dial is an extremely rare variant in its own right. The so-called “lemon” Paul Newman refers to the pale hue of the background colour, very few examples are known and the shade can vary from pale straw to almost yellow. Only four examples of the 18K gold reference 6264 are known publically with a lemon dial with white printed subsidiary numerals, of these four, one other example is known to be tropicalized. Estimate: CHF/US$500,000 – 800,000.

ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH GREEN « KHANJAR » SYMBOL, PRESENTED BY THE SULTAN OF OMAN TO THE CURRENT OWNER IN 1974, OYSTER COSMOGRAPH, DAYTONA MODEL, REF. 6263, CIRCA 1972 The present watch is from the exceedingly small series of so-called “Green Khanjar” Daytonas made for the Sultan of Oman, to be presented as token of appreciation. To date, less than 10 examples of this model in stainless steel are known to exist, references 6263 and 6265, featuring silvered or black dials. The present specimen bearing serial number 3’048’923 is believed to be the earliest known “Green Khanjar” Daytona known to date. Very recently discovered and one of the exceedingly few true “hidden treasures” to appear in public in recent years. Estimate: CHF/US$320,000 – 420,000.

ROLEX. A 14K GOLD CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BLACK “JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL PAUL NEWMAN” DIAL, COSMOGRAPH, DAYTONA, PAUL NEWMAN JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL MODEL, REF. 6241, CIRCA 1967 Fresh to the market, this stunning Paul Newman John Player Special, reference 6241, distinguishes itself by its superb dial and amazing patination of the gold case. Manufactured in 1967, this watch has indeed been used and enjoyed, during the first few years after its purchase and clearly evident stored away for many years after. Furthermore, although worn, the Rolex green and gold caseback sticker is still intact, an extremely rare survival. Produced between 1966 and 1969, reference 6241’s total production amounts to roughly 3000 pieces, slightly less than 400 in 14K gold. Beyond its aesthetics, John Player Special reference 6241 is an extremely rare model. Less than 10 examples in 14K gold with black Paul Newman dial have appeared at auction in the last 20 years. Estimate: CHF /US$200,000-400,000.

ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC ANTI-MAGNETIC WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS AND HONEYCOMB DIAL OYSTER PERPETUAL, MILGAUSS, REF. 6543, CIRCA 1955 One of the most fascinating models made by Rolex starting from the 1950s is the Milgauss, A watch made to withstand magnetic fields of up to 1000 Gauss. Rolex’s ethos was to devote some of its production to the manufacture of watches for scientific professionals working pit in the field. The most highly specialized watch devised for this purpose is the Milgauss, it works on the principal of the Faraday Cage – a soft iron band bracing the movement on Reference 6543 and a soft iron container enveloping the entire movement in the near contemporary reference 6541. Lot 200 is an example of the very rare first Milgauss reference 6543 – in production for three years from 1955 to 1957. Estimate: CHF/US$150,000 – 250,000.

ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, “TROPICAL” UNDERLINE EXPLORER DIAL AND BRACELET, OYSTER PERPETUAL, 200M=600FT, SUBMARINER, REF. 5513, CIRCA 1963 The present watch is an exceedingly rare example of a reference 5513 made in 1963 featuring pointed crown guards. Its explorer dial features three rarities, hardly ever seen combined on the market before: – “underline” version with gold printing, a 1963 singularity – Explorer layout with the Arabic 3/6/9 indexes – extremely rare narrow Rolex coronet variation and a layer of attraction is added by the “tropicalization” of the dial, the black lacquer now showing a hue of dark chocolate. Fresh to the market and having spent the last four decades in the same family, the watch is a true “barn find”, still retaining the original bezel, a rarity by itself, and the period riveted bracelet ref. 7206. Estimate: CHF/US$120,000 – 200,000.

ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH “TROPICAL” SALMON DIAL, OYSTER CHRONOGRAPHE, REF. 3525, CIRCA 1941 The present reference 3525 is doubtlessly one of the most charismatic, exclusive and wellpreserved examples of the legendary chronograph to appear in public in recent years. From the references early production, it features the reference and serial number to the outside of the case back as opposed to between the lugs as found in later models. Its superb dial has aged to an extremely attractive, uniform salmon tone. It comes to little surprise that two of the world leading scholars, Pucci Papaleo and John Goldberger, chose to illustrate this exact watch in their widely esteemed Rolex tomes “I Cronografi Rolex – La Leggenda” respectively “100 Superlative Rolex Watches”. Reference 3525, one of the manufacturer’s first “Oyster” chronograph wristwatches, was produced between 1939 and 1945, and was available in a variety of metals. It is nick-named “monoblocco” by Italian collectors, referring to the fact that with the exception of the case back the entire case consists of one block including bezel and lugs. Estimate: CHF/US$90,000 – 140,000.

ROLEX. AN 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS WRISTWATCH WITH LUMINOUS HONEYCOMB STAR DIAL, OYSTER PERPETUAL, REF. 6098, MANUFACTURED IN 1953 One of the most attractive time-only Rolex watches this timepiece not only boasts the superdesirable “honeycomb” dial but is further enhanced by star indexes with luminous centres. This bewitching combination makes it one of the rarest Rolex wristwatches from the early 1950s. Furthermore, the dial has remained completely untouched over the past 65 years. Within the reference 6098 Rolex family, examples fitted with honeycomb dial and star-shaped numerals, occupy a very special position: according to our research, including the present watch, a total of only eight reference 6098 are known publically with a gold case and silvered “stelline” type dial. Estimate: CHF/US$80,000-120,000

ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH SWEEP CENTRE SECONDS, DATE, ENGRAVED CASE BACK, BRACELET, MADE FOR THE COMEX “OPERATION EVEREST” EXPERIMENT, OYSTER PERPETUAL DATE, SUBMARINER, 1000FT = 300M, REF. 16610, CIRCA 1997 Rolex and Comex are one of the most legendary “couples” in watchmaking, responsible for the most iconic diver’s watch models ever, the SeaDweller, born in the early 1970s. The link between the two companies however continued, always with the goal of pushing the boundaries of research further. The present piece exemplifies this continued effort to achieve new heights in scientific research and in what is considered humanly possible. In fact, it is a relic and first-hand witness to the “Operation Everest” experiment, led by Comex in 1997. For one month, a group of volunteers – among which Mr. Despiau, the consignor of this timepiece, at the time a 25 years old student – was sealed in an artificial environment simulating the oxygen concentration, pressure, and similar parameters of an ascent to Mount Everest. A range of physical tests and analysis were performed to evaluate the adaptivity of the human body to such high altitudes, for such a long time, under physical stress. The watches were presented to the volunteers by Comex patron, Henri Delauze, before the beginning of the experiment and were on the wrists of the participants for the whole time, as documented in many of the pictures and in the video provided with the lot. Estimate: 35,000 – 55,000. __________________________________________________________________________________ Auction: Monday 15 May 2017, at 10.00am and 3.00pm Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, 33 Quai des Bergues, 1201 Geneva Exhibitions:

HONG KONG TAIWAN Christie’s, 22nd Floor, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central 13F, Suite 1302, No. 207, Sec. 2,Tun Hua South Road,

Taipei 106 20-21 April 2017, 10am-6pm 24-25 April 2017, 10am-6pm

LOS ANGELES NEW YORK 366 N Camden Drive Beverly Hills, CA 9021020 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, 10020 18-28 April 2017, 10am-6pm 6 May 2017, 10am-6pm No viewing on 24 April. 7 May 2017, 1pm-6pm and 8 May 2017, 10am-6pm

GENEVA Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, 33 Quai des Bergues, 1201 Geneva 12-14 May 2017, 10am-6pm 

Aksel Ritenis
Author: Aksel Ritenis

Editor and Publisher of Connoisseur Magazine

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Editor and Publisher of Connoisseur Magazine

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