Fresh to the market, the present 14K gold example of the stunning Paul Newman John Player Special, reference 6241, distinguishes itself by its superb dial, amazing patination of the gold case and the survival of the original caseback sticker after 50 years.
Manufactured in 1967, this watch has indeed been used and enjoyed, probably during the first few years after it was bought. What is clearly evident is that it must have been stored away entirely unused for many years, the passage of time giving the gold case the rich, deep blueish patination over almost the entire surface that is so desirable to find on a vintage watch. Furthermore, although worn, the Rolex green and gold caseback sticker is still intact, an extremely rare survival.
The condition of this dial is as attractive as this model is rare: virtually flawless.
Produced between 1966 and 1969, reference 6241's total production amounts to roughly 3000 pieces, slightly less than 400 in 14K gold. It is an educated guess that only a fraction of these were fitted with the Paul Newman dial, either in gold or in this case, in black. Beyond its aesthetics, John Player Special reference 6241 is an extremely rare model. Less than 10 examples in 14K gold with black Paul Newman dial have appeared at auction in the last 20 years.
Models in 14K gold, such as the present watch, were exclusively reserved for the North American market, the movement is engraved with import code ROW on the balance cock confirming it as an export piece for the United States.
On the 21st of April, 1985, a young Brazilian driver gained his first great Formula One victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix held at Estoril. That day, Ayrton Senna started his racing career by crossing the finishing line for Team Lotus sporting the John Player Special livery in a vehicle that is still today regarded as one of the most 'beautiful' racing cars of all time. The colours of that car, totally black with contrasting gilt details and trimmings, are still synonymous with elegance and charm. The reference 6241 black dial Paul Newman echoes that elegance and charisma.
For detailed descriptions and illustrations of reference 6241 see: Rolex Daytona - a legend is born, Carlo Pergola, Stefano Mazzariol, Giovanni Dosso, pp. 94-108
A similar example is illustrated and described in: Ultimate Rolex Daytona, Pucci Papaleo, pp. 256-259