Amongst collectors, reference 6238 is often referred to as the "Pre-Daytona" and enjoys today growing popularity within the community of Rolex aficionados. Launched in 1960, reference 6238 was the company's last traditional chronograph wristwatch with polished bezel.
The present watch is a rare variant with the charismatic black gloss dial. Predominantly available with silvered dials, reference 6238 was also available with black dials. However, only the matte or "grainé" version is known and examples, like the present one, featuring the lacquer surface finish are exceedingly rare. Close inspection of this dial reveals that the signature and tachometre scale are not printed against the background but shine through from a layer underneath, resulting in a most captivating play of the different layers.
The "Pre-Daytona" with the silvered dial was the first Rolex chronograph to be fitted with the sunburst finished dial, officially referred to as "cadran soleil argent", which gave the ideal background for the newly designed hands - for the first time in straight baton form. The new dial finish and the baton-shaped hands can be found on all Rolex Daytona chronographs up to the mid 1980s, rendering these sports watches highly functional and lending them a particularly distinctive, masculine look.
This watch is not only an outstanding rarity in lovely overall condition but most importantly also an extremely practical chronograph and one of the best-looking watches for daily wear.
For an example of reference 6238 with grained black dial see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 130 & 131, and, for an example with lacquered dial, cased in gold, op. cit. pp. 134 & 135. For descriptions and illustrations of the matte version see I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 282 & 283, for an example featuring the glossy dial op. cit. 288 & 289.