At the very top level in the rarefied world of vintage Paul Newman Daytonas is a small group of pieces that are considered world-class - the most desirable of the most desirable. The present watch is one of those phenomenal watches, set apart from its contemporaries, and with only one equal amongst reference 6241 John Player Special Paul Newmans.
Consigned by an important European collector and entirely fresh to the market, this sublime example of the reference 6241 with stunning “John Player Special” Paul Newman dial astonishes through its superb overall condition and inherent good looks. Making a striking visual impact, the dial merges beautifully with the case through its complementary colours and impresses through its clean and original condition.
With a highly appealing 18K gold case of strong proportions, this timepiece has been preserved throughout the years with the utmost care, displaying mark 1 bezel, sharp gold marks beneath two lugs and a crisp French Rolex importation stamp on the case back beneath a transparent service sticker from long ago. The French Rolex importation marks “Sté*R” for “Société Rolex” seen here are only found in a few very rare instances. Most importantly, identical marks are found on another reference 6241, with John Player Special dial and retailed by Hermès, sold at Christie’s Geneva in May 2013 and bearing serial number 1’947’352 - only 17 numbers away from the serial number of the present watch. The close correlation between the serial numbers of these two "sister" watches indicates that at least two of this model and perhaps others, were specifically sent to France to be retailed in Paris.
Produced between 1966 and 1969, the reference 6241 was built with a black acrylic bezel with white tachymeter scale, push down buttons and housed either the 72B Valjoux caliber, 722 or the 722-1 variations. The production of the reference 6241 amounts to roughly 2,300 pieces in stainless steel with possibly less than 700 crafted with gold cases. Out of the examples crafted in gold, even less were fitted with Paul Newman dials either in gold or in this case, black. Of the utmost rarity, the reference 6241 with black ‘John Player Special’ dial hardly ever surfaces at auction and always attracts the interest of the most esteemed Rolex collectors.
Nicknamed “John Player Special”, after the Formula One car of the Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna. Regarded as one of the most beautiful racing vehicles of all time, the car of Team Lotus sported the John Player Special livery made of black with contrasting gilt details and trimmings. Synonymous with elegance and charm, the nickname was an easy fit with this black and gold Rolex Paul Newman.
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
The ”sister” watch, serial number 1’947’352 with French Rolex importation marks and retailed by Hermès is illustrated in: 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, John Goldberger, 2008, p. 238