With Rolex Garantie stamped by Berlin retailer Gerhard D. Wempe and dated 9 December 1969, German service invoice dated 6 August 1997 and fitted green presentation box.
Produced between 1966 and 1969, reference 6241 total production amounts to roughly 3000 pieces, possibly less than 10% in 18K 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.
The present piece has never before seen an auction room, and was actually owned by only two individuals since new: the distinguished gentleman offering it for auction, and the original owner, whom he acquired it from. It is an example of the so-called “John Player Special Paul Newman”, a nickname which has, like the Daytona Chronograph line, strong ties to the world of car racing. In 1985, a young driver named Ayrton Senna won his first important Formula One victory at the Gran Prix of Portugal in Estoril. He was driving a Team Lotus race car featuring a black livery with gold trimmings and details. That vehicle is still counted among the most attractive and elegant race cars ever designed. The color scheme of what is now known as the John Player Special Paul Newman is virtually identical to the one found on that legendary vehicle. The gold and black details of the dial are mirrored in the black bezel and gold case, creating a nearly hypnotic chasing game of bright and dark details which goes beyond the boundaries of the dial and embraces the entire watch. The final result is a timepiece of absolute, breathtaking beauty, aesthetic balance and formal perfection.
Beyond its stunning aesthetics, John Player Special reference 6241 is an extremely rare model. Over the past ten years, Christie’s sold only two other such pieces in 18K gold:
- Case no. 1’947’352, sold in May 2013, Geneva
- Case no. 2’084’261, sold in November 2006, Hong Kong
The condition of this dial is as attractive as this model is rare: virtually flawless, it is furthermore confirmed by the annexed Rolex Service Invoice, which states that the original “Paul Newman” dial was not changed; the case back however was upgraded with a new one. The case as well is in remarkable condition: with strong proportions and no signs of wear. This is because the watch was never once used after being picked up from the service center. In fact, the Wempe service sticker is still present and flawless, with the exception of slight fading due to the passage of time, on the case back.
A similar example is pictured and prominently described on “Ultimate Rolex Daytona” by Pucci Papaleo, pp. 256-259