ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
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ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
5 More
ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET

DAYTONA MODEL, REF. 6263, “RCO” MARK 1.5 TROPICAL DIAL

Details
ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND APPEALING STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
DAYTONA MODEL, REF. 6263, “RCO” MARK 1.5 TROPICAL DIAL
Movement: Manual
Dial: “RCO” MARK 1.5 “tropical”
Case: 37 mm.
With: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, overall length approximately 170 mm.
Note: Serial numbers are available upon request

Brought to you by

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

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Lot Essay

The stainless steel Rolex Paul Newman ‘RCO’ Daytona is without question one of the most important early variations of the reference 6263. Christie’s Hong Kong is delighted to have the opportunity to present to collectors a wristwatch that is an immense rarity among Rolex watches and furthermore, has a Mark 1.5 dial, seen on very few specimens of the ‘RCO’ which has tropicalized to an even brown colour. The change in colour from black to brown is understood to be caused by the reaction of the dial paint to external elements such as humidity or exposure to light. As a result of this natural process, every ‘tropical’ dial is unique.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytonas with Paul Newman dials are, as every watch lover knows, some of the most desired of all vintage wristwatches. Of course, among the Paul Newman Daytona ‘family’ there are variations in manufacturing details that have resulted in fascinating rarities of which no more than a handful exist. It is these watches that the world’s most exacting collectors seek to possess.

The present reference 6263 Daytona is particularly special in being what collectors call an ‘RCO’ or in Italian ‘Sotto’, whereby the word ‘Oyster’ appears after the words ‘Rolex Cosmograph’ on the dial. Only around 25 examples of this phenomenon are known worldwide, those with the Mark I type dials being in the majority.

The present watch can be commended in very attractive condition, the stainless steel case by C.R. Spillmann S.A. features the Mark I acrylic bezel and very rare Mark 0 ‘millerighe’ pushers, highly sought-after by the most astute collectors and often replaced during services. The black area of the dial has tropicalized to a subtle brown colour and is wonderfully preserved with naturally aged lume plots and matching hands.

It is generally accepted among collectors that the most desirable case number range for the ‘RCO’ is around 2.085 million, which this example fits in perfectly. The curious note regarding the watch offered here is the typography: while the majority of ‘RCO’ dials from this case range feature so called ‘Mark I’ print with minimal serifs to the letters, the watch presented here is far closer to the so called ‘Mark II’ print. How this combination of dial and case exhibited here came to exist is open to speculation, but one possible explanation is that Rolex had both ‘Mark I’ and ‘Mark II’ dials prepared, and simply fitted them ad hoc into watches with serial numbers around 2.085 millions. Another example of the ‘RCO’ with ‘Mark II’ dial, serial no. 2’085’497, was sold by Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th May 2019, lot 2474.

An Explanation of The Rolex ‘RCO’ or ‘Sotto’ Dials
The dials that have become legendary as the ‘Oyster Sotto’ or ‘RCO’ were originally intended for the non-waterproof references such as 6262 and 6264 which are signed ‘Rolex Cosmograph Daytona’ only. When the new water-resistant ‘Oyster’ case was introduced for the reference 6263 around 1969 it is clear that certain customers must have specifically requested that their watch should have an exotic dial of the type now known by collectors as the ‘Paul Newman’. Of course no such dials existed yet specifically for the water-resistant Oyster model and therefore a small number of the already printed current non-Oyster dials were adapted with the addition of the word ‘Oyster’ in plain font. As the dials were already pre-printed there was no option but to place the word ‘Oyster’ below the words ‘Rolex Cosmograph’. And thus an anomaly was created that exists in so few examples that it has become a pinnacle of desirability among Rolex Daytonas. The Paul Newman type dial itself was discontinued relatively shortly after the introduction of reference 6263.

Reference 6263

Sporting a black bezel and screw down pushers, it inherits the legacy of reference 6240, the first of the screw down pusher Daytonas, also sporting a black bezel. The similarity is obvious, the differences much less so. As a matter of fact, however, the case design of reference 6263 is slightly bigger, and the movement is the new calibre 727, whilst reference 6240 is usually fitted with the older calibre 722 (even though early examples are known with the earlier 72B calibre, and late ones with cal. 722-1). The defining feature of both references is undeniably the presence of the screw down pushers, which make the entire watch look bigger and more sporting.

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