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REF. 6238, CIRCA 1967

REF. 6238, CIRCA 1967
Movement: Manual
Dial: Black glossy
Case: 36 mm. diam.
With: 14k gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, overall length approximately 170 mm., presentation box and outer packaging

Brought to you by

Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler SVP, Head of Watches, Asia Pacific

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Lot Essay

Sometimes remarkable vintage wristwatches have an immediate ‘wow’ factor, capturing one’s attention by their incredible good looks, amazing original condition and extreme rarity. This 14K gold Rolex reference 6238 ‘Pre-Daytona’ with black glossy dial is one of these extraordinary vintage timepieces. Simply breathtaking in looks, condition and rarity, only one other example is known to exist.
It is a delight for any Rolex collector that the present watch, made in 1967, towards the end of production, has survived in such crisp and unspoiled condition. Furthermore it is evident that it has not been worn for some time and carefully preserved over the years. The gold on the right-hand side of the case body has the distinctive blueish patina that develops only after many years being stored away, a feature so highly-prized by collectors. The serial and reference numbers between the lugs and the hallmarks are crisp and clearly readable. However, the chief glory of this chronograph is undoubtedly the stunning black glossy dial which shows only the expected natural signs of aging and is one of the great rarities of the reference. As one of the last series watches of reference 6238, the dial features the more desirable ‘Rolex Chronograph’ only signature rather than the ‘Rolex Oyster Chronograph, Antimagnetic’ signature of the earlier versions. Furthermore, the ‘baton’ hands of final series reference 6238s such as this are regarded as the most desirable among collectors because they were also fitted to all Daytona models right up to the 1980s. Therefore the ‘baton’ hands provide continuity and visual harmony, a clear link between the 6238 ‘Pre-Daytona’ and later Daytona references.

Reference 6238 is the last ‘traditional’, Rolex chronograph from the famous oyster family, and was produced from 1961⁄2 until 1968. It is in fact the last model featuring a monochromatic dial and non-graduated bezel, the reference is considered the precursor of the Rolex Daytona and hence gained the nickname ‘Pre-Daytona’ although it was in fact available at the same time as the Daytona reference 6239. Rarer and more understated than its successors, the reference 6238 is now attracting serious attention from collectors. Made predominantly in stainless steel with very few examples in gold, the European and Asian market were serviced with the 18K gold version, examples such as the present watch, cased in 14K gold, were usually reserved for the North American market. The movement is stamped with Rolex’s U.S. export code ‘ROW’ on the balance bridge, confirming that it was indeed produced for the American market.

Reference 6238 is described and illustrated in: I Cronografi Rolex - La Leggenda, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pp. 278-291.

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