A shining star in the universe of collectable vintage Rolex watches, this magnificent and impressive 18k gold reference sixty sixty-two "Stelline” or “Star Dial” is an exceptional example of what many Rolex collectors and scholars consider the most prestigious model ever made. Amplified by its unique aesthetic, it is undoubtedly one of the most important examples to ever come to market.
In the second half of the 1940s, following the launch of the definitive "Oyster" case shape, Rolex introduced a variety of different watches with a diversity of movements for this celebrated case. It was predominantly used for the perpetual model with date window, later named "DateJust", until the 1950s when a second aperture was added introducing the weekday at 12 o'clock, the celebrated "Day-Date". The Oyster case was also produced with different chronograph movements, either with a constant seconds register or three subsidiary dials including the hour register. The most complicated chronograph version cased in the "Oyster" style is the famous "Dato-Compax", later nick-named "Killy" by collectors, featuring a full calendar on top of the chronograph mechanism.
The top-of-the-line version however was reference 6062, fitted with the in-house automatic movement, upgraded with a full calendar and moon phase indication. Introduced in 1950 and produced for approximately 10 years, the reference 6062 is one of only two Rolex models to feature a triple calendar, the other being the reference 8171 “Padellone”. These two models are the only watches ever made in series with moon phases, until just last year with the introduction of the Cellini reference 50535. The difference between the 6062 and the 8171 “Padellone” is that the reference 6062 was housed in the iconic Rolex “Oyster” case.
Of the 670 reference 6062 produced in yellow gold (approximate), less than 150 examples have ever appeared on the market, far fewer with the iconic luminous “Star Dial” and no other will be found with this awe-inspiring case. This example must be considered the most important and complex Oyster model ever made by Rolex.
Firstly, the extraordinary and striking 18k yellow gold case must be discussed for its unique quality that will not be found on any other watch in quite the same way. Upon first glance it is not immediately apparent that the case is in fact yellow gold, given its lovely dark patina which spreads like a veil over the bezel, sides and caseback. Although the reference 6062 was produced in a variety of metals: steel, yellow gold, and pink gold, the yellow gold version would be most likely to be able to develop such a deep and iridescent color, displaying a rainbow-like effect when viewed from different angles.
Only possible by being unworn and impeccably preserved over its 60+ year lifetime, the case, now for decades displaying an obvious dark oxidation is one of the fullest and closest to original finish we have ever seen. Most probably it has not been polished since new, and the case lines are excellently preserved, both on the upper side of the case, but also to the back. In fact, the screwed case back retains its original satin finish and so is the case preserved underneath the lugs. The numbers in between the lugs are stunningly crisp, and so are the pinholes, proof of how seldom the watch was worn. Furthermore, a crisp gold hallmark is seen to the back of the top right lug.
Gold cases of the reference 6062 were made by Genex, in Geneva, the case department of Gay Frères. The master case maker mark for Genex is number 12 inside a key, such as the present watch. (12 for Genex, the key for Geneva). Some inside casebacks are marked with an extra ‘Montres SA Rolex’ side engraving. This was on cases made before 1953, such as the present watch, but still in inventory when the company address was changed in 1953, and renamed Montres Rolex SA in Geneva.
With a diameter of 35mm, this case is perfectly proportioned to one’s wrist with this example also sporting the original "Super-Oyster" crown, a most meaningful feature to the educated collector. Two variants of crown are seen on this reference, the "Super-Oyster", and the Twin-Lock crown. While the present “Super-Oyster” is seen on this example, it is seen on the majority of models for this reference. On closer observation, one will notice a cross between “Super” and “Oyster”. This cross was added once the crown was patented.
Secondly, to discover this reference with the "Star Dial", also known as "Stelline”, the most unusual configuration, is quite remarkable.
Known as a ‘Mark 1 Dial Type 755’ by Stern Frères examples, it is the only dial made for this reference which has star-shaped hour markers with three faceted dagger-shaped hour markers at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock with radium luminous material to their center. Only one other dial variant (Dial Type 453) has star-shaped numerals, however, the luminous material is not central to the numerals but rather stands as an accent on the outer dial and it is without radium. The gold luminous stars are a rarity for this dial configuration and shine brightly against the matte silvered dial.
Another striking feature of the dial is the designation of "Officially Certified Chronometer" located in the subsidiary dial as opposed to under the Rolex signature, dating this watch to 1952-1953. The moon phase disc was produced by Stern Frères with the blue enamel champlevé technique, also used in Patek Philippe calendar watches. However, one will notice that for this model they were produced with the moon phase having eyes, a nose and a mouth, adding increased charm to the dial. The calendar discs, also made by Stern Frères, are with inscriptions painted black and were produced in five languages; English, French, German, Italian or Spanish, the present example in English.
Last but not least, housed in this superlative gold Oyster case is the Caliber 655 which was especially developed for this reference. It boasted the latest in technology, the patented Rolex Super-Balance. The automatic movement has commonality with most automatic movements of its time, however, this one had an added function that would allow the calendar to advance through the setting pin holes in the band. As mentioned earlier, along with the reference 8171 these two models are the only watches ever made in series with a triple date and moon phases until 2017 with the introduction of a modern variant. This is a testament to the master craftsmanship of the manufacture and underlines the rarity and skill of theses movements.
Examples of this “grail” model in such perfectly original condition, in the most sought-after case material and dial combination, and so crisp after 60 years, are dreams for the most educated Rolex collectors in the world.
The present watch was last sold at Christie's New York, December 2011, and realized $542,500. Ever since it has remained unworn and in the possession of one of the most important and distinguished collectors.
We are indebted to Eric Tortella for his assistance with the research of this incredible wristwatch.