Rolex. An exceptionally rare and possibly unique 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with tropical lemon dial and white numerals inside the subsidiary dials
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more Rolex Reference 6264 – The Paul Newman Tropical Lemon Cosmograph DaytonaThe Property of an Important Private Collector
Rolex. An exceptionally rare and possibly unique 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with tropical lemon dial and white numerals inside the subsidiary dials

SIGNED ROLEX, COSMOGRAPH, DAYTONA, PAUL NEWMAN MODEL, REF. 6264, CASE NO. 2'357'384, CIRCA 1970

Details
Rolex. An exceptionally rare and possibly unique 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with tropical lemon dial and white numerals inside the subsidiary dials
Signed Rolex, Cosmograph, Daytona, Paul Newman model, ref. 6264, case no. 2'357'384, circa 1970
Movement: manual, cal. 727, 17 jewels
Dial: lemon, applied square gold numerals with luminous accents, luminous hands, outer gilt fifths of a second divisions on formerly black - now turned chocolate brown - chapter ring, three engine-turned formerly black – now turned chocolate brown - subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers with white numerals
Case: screw back, screw down “Twinlock” crown, black acrylic bezel calibrated for 200 units
Signed: case, dial and movement, caseback reference 6241
Dimensions: 37 mm. diam.
With: Rolex gold-plated buckle and a spare gold matching Rolex Oyster bracelet

Special notice
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price. Many of the watches offered for sale in this catalogue are pictured with straps made of endangered or protected animal materials such as alligator or crocodile. These endangered species straps are shown for display purposes only and are not for sale. Christie’s will remove and retain the strap prior to shipment from the sale site. At some sale sites, Christie’s may, at its discretion, make the displayed endangered species strap available to the buyer of the lot free of charge if collected in person from the sale site within 1 year of the date of the sale. Please check with the department for details on a particular lot.
Sale room notice
Please note that this watch is further accompanied with a gold matching Rolex Oyster bracelet.

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Lot Essay

A highly important 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. Not only breathtakingly attractive, it combines all of the rarest attributes that a collector could possibly imagine in a gold Paul Newman Daytona.
The present watch is at the very top level of desirability ranking amongst the world’s most coveted Cosmographs. It is one of the most, if not the most important gold Paul Newman Daytona wristwatch ever to be offered at auction.
Until around five years ago, remarkably, this spectacular watch had remained in the possession of the original owner. It was then sold to the present owner, an important private collector in whose hands it has remained until consigned for this auction.

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. It is the only known example of its kind on this reference where both the outer ring and the subsidiary dials are tropicalized. Furthermore, the luminous accents have equally tropicalized to an intense dark brown, further enhancing the overall effect.
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 watch to watch from pale straw to almost yellow. Furthermore, it is distinguished by the white printing on the engine-turned subsidiary dials, again, only a handful of dials with this configuration are known. Rolex usually produced yellow gold Paul Newman Cosmographs with champagne/gilt numbers and indexes on their totalizers which blend with the tonality of the dial as a whole, instead, the white numbers and indexes on the present watch sharply contrast with the dark background providing a rather striking visual addition to the overall effect.
This dial can therefore be considered a remarkable phenomenon combining the rarest dial variant of the gold Paul Newman with wonderful tropicalization together in one exceptional dial.

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. That incredibly beautiful and ultra-rare specimen exhibits a different tropicalization phenomena in that only the outer minutes/seconds ring has changed to chocolate brown whilst the subsidiary dials have remained black. Interestingly, although not of course unexpectedly, both that watch and the present watch have serial numbers in close proximity:

No. 2’357’384 - the present watch – both outer minutes/seconds ring and subsidiary dials tropicalized
No. 2’357’468 – outer minutes/seconds ring tropicalized only

In fact all the four known gold 6264 watches with this configuration of lemon dial with white sub dial printing have serial numbers in the same 2’330’*** to 2’357’*** bracket. One example each of gold references 6239 and 6263 also exhibit this dial type. Of a total of six known pieces across three references, only two pieces including the present watch have tropicalized dials.

This elite and rarified group of gold reference 6264 all share the same technical specifications:
manufactured in 1970
case by C.R. Spillmann S.A. with reference 6241 screw back
caliber 727 movement

The earliest watch of the four gold 6264 Paul Newman with lemon dial and white numerals inside the subsidiary dials (not tropicalized) is illustrated and described in:
100 Superlative Rolex Watches, John Goldberger, pp. 254-255.

Amongst all of the Cosmograph Daytonas, reference 6264 is one of the rarest, considered by collectors to be a transitional model, it was in production for only three years between 1969 and 1972.
Together with reference 6262, it was the last Rolex chronograph watch featuring the simple round push-down buttons. All future Cosmograph references, starting with references 6263 and 6265, bear screw down chronograph buttons. Reference 6264 was available in stainless steel, as well as 14K and 18K gold. It has a bezel with black acrylic insert and white tachymetre graduation.

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