In 1963, Rolex launched the 6239 chronograph. Nobody at the time could foresee how this was the beginning of what would become one of the most successful and renowned lines of wristwatches ever produced: the Cosmograph Daytona. The simple but genial intuition of Rolex was to move the tachymetre scale to the bezel, thus leaving more space on the dial for a better readability and a cleaner layout. Of course, over the years, the design of the Daytona underwent many subtle changes. As a matter of fact, these changes were applied extremely fast in response to the market feedback. This fast evolution, combined with the practice of Rolex of upgrading parts of the watches such as the bezel or the pushers during servicing, made examples of the very first batch in original condition extremely rare and sought after pieces. The present watch is one such rare find.
The navigated Rolex connoisseur will immediately notice the presence of the 275 marker on the bezel. This feature was nearly immediately changed to a simple dot in second series bezels, and then abandoned altogether in later bezels.
The dial as well is unmistakably recognizable as a very early first series by the presence of three features: the first one is the absence of the Daytona designation, as at the time Rolex was not yet officially associated with the race.
The second is the underline, which scholars agree indicates the presence of radioactive luminous material on the dial. This notation was soon changed to T SWISS T.
The third is much less apparent, and possibly even more interesting. When the very first 6239s were produced, the dial supplier had not yet delivered the first batch of dials for the new reference. Rolex then used dials made for the previous reference: 6238. However, the presence of the graduated bezel on the 6239 makes the opening for the dial smaller than the one on reference 6238. As a result the SWISS designation written on the edge of the dial at 6 o' clock is covered by the case. Only the very top part of it is slightly visible, and definitely not readable. Rolex solved this issue be printing on the dial a second SWISS designation on the inside of the minute scale. As a result, these dials present a double swiss designation.
Also the bracelet, stamped Rolex USA, confirms the originality of the present watch: reference 6239 was actually launched in 1963 in the States only. It did not appear in Europe until the following year.
Only a handful of such first series 6239 in original condition ever came back to the market, and they have all been vigorously contended in the room by the most important Rolex collectors in the world. A similar example was sold by Christies in the thematic auction Rolex Daytona Lesson One and achieved an impressive 269'00 CHF.