Rolex. An extremely rare and early, attractive and important 18K pink gold automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases and star dial. This watch was offered in Rare Watches on 14 May 2018

5 Rolex watches to excite collectors

Watch specialist — and watchmaker — Patrick Hofstetter casts his eye over a selection of highly desirable timepieces that have passed through Christie's 

  • 1
  • A gift from a Sheikh

Every watch enthusiast, collector and fan has their own personal favourite. For me, it’s the Rolex Day-Date — a perfect timepiece, which has been on the market since 1953. This Rolex Day-Date 18078 bears little resemblance to the first Day-Date Reference 6510, although Rolex was actually slow to make changes to this model — the slightly enlarged case or constantly improved movement, for example.

This delightful Day-Date is not only in mint condition, but also features a special inscription on the dial. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, was clearly a generous man, with most of his gifts bearing the Rolex crown. It’s extremely rare to find a watch featuring the Sheikh’s inscription and know to whom it was given, but in this case we know the watch was presented to an employee of the Sheikh’s country estate in Scotland upon their retirement.

  • 2
  • One of the most beautiful Rolex creations

The Reference 6062 with the extremely rare star dial is one of the most beautiful Rolex creations. Although Rolex used a variety of dial manufacturers as suppliers in the 1950s, dials featuring star markers were only supplied by the dial manufacturer Stern. Another interesting detail is the engraving inside the case cover — the engraved reference number 6063 has been crossed out and replaced by the number 6062. Reference 6063 watches were produced alongside the 6062, but most were withdrawn prior to sale.

Both reference numbers were designed as moon-phase watches. As the components were largely identical, withdrawn 6063s could be converted to Reference 6062s. As far we we know, Rolex only made 50 of the 6062 watches in pink gold and this wonderful lot is number five, and therefore one of the very first.

  • 3
  • A Daytona that ticks every box on a collector’s wish list

We have some extraordinarily beautiful manual Daytonas being offered in Geneva. This Daytona is a quintessential Rolex chronograph — and I am still impressed, even after so many years in the watch business, by such simplicity. Depending on how much you are able or willing to spend, you will find a Rolex Daytona Reference 6263 relatively quickly. It is far more difficult, however, to find a watch from this model series with all the accessories.

This Daytona ticks every box on a collector’s wishlist, including the pleasure of winding the crown to supply the watch with power — a satisfying ritual for any watch-lover.

  • 4
  • A Daytona that pushes the boundaries

The Daytona presented here is an extreme example, but by no means vulgar — a sports watch in gold on the one hand, but one that is also studded with the most beautiful gemstones, thereby pushing recognised boundaries.

Rolex. A very rare and impressive 18K gold, diamond and emerald-set automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet. Ref. 16568br, circa 1995. This watch was offered in Rare Watches on 14 May at Christie’s in Geneva

Rolex. A very rare and impressive 18K gold, diamond and emerald-set automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet. Ref. 16568br, circa 1995. This watch was offered in Rare Watches on 14 May at Christie’s in Geneva

The outstanding quality is evident in the selection of the finest stones and how perfectly they have then been handled by Rolex. Further evidence of Rolex’s quest for perfection comes in the heavily modified and improved El Primero movement, which is concealed under the dial — a significant enhancement to an already excellent movement.

  • 5
  • A Daytona Panda with a range of interesting details

Even in the most beautiful dial creations, such as this Daytona Panda, it is the minor differences that cause excitement among collectors. Today, each step of the production of a Rolex is strictly controlled, which means it is not possible to find striking variations between two watches of the same reference. This was not the case 60 years ago, and meant that almost all watches of the same reference were slightly different.

It is a well-known fact that some existing Daytona watches have been converted into the new 6263 using case components from the 6239, 6240, 6262, 6264, 6265, and probably a few other existing parts — and this circa 1969 Daytona features several highly interesting details. 

Rolex. An exceptional and early, previously unrecorded and highly attractive stainless-steel chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman Mark 1 Panda dial and bracelet. Ref. 6263, circa 1969. This watch was offered in Rare Watches on 14 May at Christie’s in Geneva

Rolex. An exceptional and early, previously unrecorded and highly attractive stainless-steel chronograph wristwatch with Paul Newman Mark 1 Panda dial and bracelet. Ref. 6263, circa 1969. This watch was offered in Rare Watches on 14 May at Christie’s in Geneva

The watch is fitted with a somewhat smaller winding crown, suggesting that the central part of the case comes from a 6262 and has not been changed. However, the main difference between References 6263 and 6262 are the unscrewed and screw-down pushers respectively. In this watch, the winding crown has been left as it originally appeared on the 6262. Another noteworthy detail is the very rare MK1 dial that also matches the very early serial number; the dial features a slightly different font from that of the more popular Panda versions. Finally, the case back features the 6239 engraving.