Few watches elicit as much excitement from collectors today as a completely fresh to the market reference 6263 Paul Newman “Panda”. This extremely impressive watch was bought new by the original owner in Geneva around 1969/70 and has since always been in the same family until offered here for the first time.
In June 2018, after almost 50 years of use, it was extensively revised and serviced by the prestigious firm of Bucherer in Bern. A full schedule of the completed works accompanies the watch. Crucially, the dial was preserved and some of the replaced original parts were retained and have now been reinstated so that the charm and originality of the correct period appearance for the reference can be enjoyed once again.
With a monochromatic black and white palette, the “Panda” Paul Newman Rolex Oyster Cosmograph reference 6263 is considered the ultimate vintage Cosmograph model. Its water-resistant case with screw down chronograph pushers and black bezel is combined with what is generally agreed to be among the most beautiful dials ever created for a wristwatch. It is unquestionably one of the ultimate goals for the Rolex collector.
The present watch is elevated to a higher level due to its very rare Mk 1 dial. Paul Newman "Panda" dials with Mk 1 script are amongst the rarest gems in the world of vintage watch collecting and are set apart from their contemporaries.
The Mk I dials were originally intended for the reference 6240 and can therefore only be found on the early production of references 6263 and 6265. The Mk I is distinguishable by the very different font type for the “R” of Rolex which is wider and “fatter”, the “G” in COSMOGRAPH has a serif and shorter inward return and the “H” is more pronouncedly asymmetric.
Complementing the overall importance of the present timepiece, the stainless steel case by C.R. Spillmann S.A. features the very rare Mk 1 pushers, highly sought-after by the most astute collectors and often replaced during services. The Mk 1 type pushers were quickly superseded by the 24-P301 version.
The case back stamped 6239 is also entirely correct for this very early examples of the reference, and confirms yet again the already well known theory that Rolex were using up the leftover case backs of the reference 6239 and 6241 for the new model. Furthermore, the bracelet is the correct 7835 folded-link Oyster bracelet with matching 271 end links.
The present watch represents an extremely rare opportunity for collectors to acquire the most coveted reference of manual Rolex Daytona.
Sporting a black bezel and screw down pushers, it inherits the legacy of reference 6240, the first of the screw down pusher Daytonas, also sporting a black bezel. The similarity is obvious, the differences much less so. As a matter of fact, however, the case design of reference 6263 is slightly bigger, and the movement is the new calibre 727, whilst reference 6240 is usually fitted with the older calibre 722 (even though early examples are known with the earlier 72B calibre, and late ones with cal. 722-1). The defining feature of both references is undeniably the presence of the screw down pushers, which make the entire watch look bigger, more sporting and masculine.
A similar example is illustrated and described in: Rolex Daytona dalla nascita al mito, un viaggio tra tecnica e stile, Carlo Pregola, Stefano Mazzariol and Giovanni Dosso, pp. 194. For another ref. 6263 with "Paul Newman Panda" dial see Ultimate Rolex Daytona, Pucci Papaleo, pp. 348 to 351.