Entirely fresh to the market, only one word can adequately describe this ultra-exclusive 1969 Rolex Day-Date: extraordinary!
Verbally confirmed to the present owner while researching it at Rolex Geneva as a specially produced piece at the request of the original owner – almost unheard of with Rolex - it is a fascinating amalgam combining the ultimate sophistication of the gold Day-Date with the sporty looks of a Submariner or Sea-Dweller. It is in fact believed to be one of only two examples ever made with this configuration, furthermore, it is the first of the two known watches to be conceived, the direct result of the client’s original idea and commission.
Special order watches were almost never made for individual clients requesting only one watch, a fact which makes the present Day-Date and its stablemate completely exceptional. Entirely made of 18K white gold, it is truly a special-order piece, the dial and bezel are not merely adapted from existing parts but manufactured specifically for this watch and therefore of great significance in the history of Rolex.
Ordered by the father of the present owner from Klarlund in Copenhagen, the largest and most prestigious Rolex agent in Scandinavia, he preferred the luxury of the Day-Date model but wanted a watch that would be equally suitable to wear whilst matching his favourite hobby, sailing. Once the client’s requirements were noted, remarkably Rolex agreed to make the watch he desired as a “one-off” piece. The watch was completed and apparently delivered to Klarlund at the end of 1969. Quite by chance, on the day that the client came to collect his special Rolex a very important Royal client of Klarlund was at the shop. He examined and admired the then unique piece and immediately asked if another could be made for him. Consequently, two examples are thought to exist.
The documented service history of the present watch shows that it was serviced by Rolex agent Klarlund in Copenhagen on four occasions from the 1970s to 1990s, first in 1976, again in 1978 and then in 1994 and 1996. In 2017 it was fully overhauled by Rolex in Geneva thus confirming its correctness officially. On 7 April 2017 the watch was collected from their headquarters by its owner in the presence of a Christie’s representative and taken directly to Christie’s offices in Geneva in order to be prepared for the auction. To further support its unique history the watch will be sold with a large amount of original photos, magazines etc. showing the original owner wearing it, dating from the early 1970s until 2010.
In the course of Rolex’s production history the company has made extremely few watches as special request orders, particularly when such orders were from an individual and that additionally required some components to be specially made. As a rule, Rolex has only made such watches in series and for large companies or organizations, for example the Comex Submariners and Sea-Dwellers and more recently the special edition for members of the British SAS. The watches made for the Sultan of Oman can also be included in this category.
The present watch differs significantly from the standard production reference 1803 Day-Date, specifically, the dial, hands and bezel are evidently custom-made only for this special-order version:
Dial: “Submariner-style” matte black with large luminous dot and baton indexes, the luminous dots at eleven and one o’clock truncated to accommodate the day of the week window. White painted signature with wide space between the second and third lines, white painted minute divisions. Without “Swiss” designation at 6 o’clock.
Hands: luminous steel “Mercedes” hands normally only fitted to the sports models such as the Explorer, Submariner, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master etc.
Bezel: inclined smooth and polished bezel normally reserved for the platinum version of the Day-Date instead of the normal “faceted” bezel of the Ref. 1803 model in gold or stainless steel. According to the present owner, after analysis of the gold composition Rolex confirmed verbally that the bezel was made at the same time as the watch and of the same material.
Of extraordinary rarity and preserved in excellent overall condition, this Day-Date “Submariner” presents a one-off opportunity for the avid collector to acquire one of the extremely scarce “special order” Rolex watches.