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AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS/Rolex

Rolex Ref. 6239 "Underline Double Swiss"

10.21.16

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR, Lot 36

1963 was a milestone year for Rolex collectors as it is the year they introduced the reference 6239, the very first model of the iconic Cosmograph. For the first time, the tachymeter scale was moved from the dial to the bezel and the present lot features the highly coveted, earliest version of the bezel, calibrated to 300 units per hour. This "Mark 1" bezel is recognizable by the 275 intermediate unit, and the small hash marks found along the entirety of the bezel.

The present lot is not only in absolutely exceptional condition but its dial makes it an absolutely desirable example for the Daytona aficionado. First, it’s fitted with the highly coveted "double Swiss" dial, meaning the country of origin designation is printed twice on the dial. The earliest versions of the reference 6239 exhibit such a configuration, since Rolex used dial stamps made for previous chronograph models as it began the production of the Daytona. Since the Daytona’s bezel was larger than previous models, and therefore covered a larger portion of the dial, Rolex had to stamp the dial again with an inner SWISS to ensure visibility. Secondly, the present lot is marked with a short line right below the ROLEX COSMOGRAPH designation - thus the "6239 underlined" nickname used among the collectors community. While Rolex has never confirmed the meaning, scholars agree this underline indicated that the radioactive radium previously used for the luminous indexes was replaced with a new, safer material - tritium, to be compliant with new government regulations.

Furthermore, this coveted, early reference 6239 is made even more exceptional with its lovely and hardly ever seen "tropical" subsidiary dials. They have aged uniformly from their standard black to a warm chocolate tone providing for an arresting contrast with the silver dial. The superb condition of the case combined with the double Swiss inscription, the extreme rarity of underline dial and the beautiful tropical subdials combine for a watch with powerful charisma, making it one of the rarest and most sought after early Cosmographs known in the collector community.

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