• Lot 71

    ROLEX. AN 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC DUAL TIME WRISTWATCH WITH BAKELITE BEZEL, DATE AND BRACELET

    SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTER PERPETUAL, GMT-MASTER, REF. 6542, CASE NO. 424’243, 1958

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    ROLEX. AN 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC DUAL TIME WRISTWATCH WITH BAKELITE BEZEL, DATE AND BRACELET
    SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTER PERPETUAL, GMT-MASTER, REF. 6542, CASE NO. 424’243, 1958
    MOVEMENT: Automatic, Caliber 1066, 25 jewels
    DIAL: Brown dial, dot, baton and dagger numerals, central hand for the second time zone, sweep centre seconds, magnified window for date
    CASE: 18k gold tonneau-shaped, revolving brown bakelite bezel calibrated for 24 hours, screw back, inside case back stamped 6542, screw down crown, 38.2 mm diam.
    BRACELET/CLASP: 18k gold Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet and clasp, overall length of approximately 180 mm or 7 inches


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    The present timepiece is an example of the early gold GMT-Master with a number of desirable traits that will surprise and entice the discerning collector. The most obvious are the wonderfully preserved brown/orange dial and the bakelite bezel. It is actually not one of the so-called “tropical” or color change dials but rather the original color Rolex envisioned for this piece. The dial is furthermore embellished by the highly attractive so-called nipple numerals and, for the pleasure of the die-hard Rolex purist, features the rare small arrow for the 24 hours indication (the famous "freccino"). Not only this configuration is much rarer than the standard one, but the freccino, with its much more discreet proportions compared to the full-sized arrow, has the effect of making the entire watch look more distinguished and refined, especially when coupled with the gold case and brown dial, without altering or muffling the technical aesthetic and looks innate to the GMT-Master model.

    The first GMT model, reference 6542, was launched in 1956 and was immediately recognizable by the bright acrylic or bakelite bezel insert with the twenty-four hour markings printed to its underside. This material was chosen to reduce reflection which would disturb the pilots. The bezel ring was also made of acrylic and coated in an alloy to resemble metal. It then turned out that the flexibility of this material could cause the bezel insert to break and that in very warm environments the printing would often flake off. Consequently, Rolex decided to replace the acrylic insert against a more resistant metal version. The dial of the first examples, such as the present watch, featured the designation "Swiss" below 6 o'clock, the numerals coated with phosphorescent (glow-in-the-dark) luminova. As of the late 1950s/early 1960s, the luminous material was changed to tritium, indicated by the "Swiss - T < 25" designation, the dial with all white print.

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