Exclusive Timepieces 22 –⁠ 23 October 2022 | Monaco

Auction Details

One of the finest selections of vintage and contemporary watches we were able to put together. We tried to do our best to offer you extremely rare and well preserved collectable pieces of the best manufactures.

Session I: Saturday 22 October, 2:30 PM – lots 1 to 104
Session II: Sunday 23 October, 10:30 AM – lots 105 to 179
Session III: Sunday 23 October, 2:30 PM – lots 180 to 271

221 Rolex Highly Attractive and Very Fine, GMT Master, Automatic Wristwatch in Yellow Gold, With Sweep Centre Seconds Brown Dial, Date and Bakelite Bezel, Reference 6542

Estimate: € 120,000 –⁠ 240,000

Model: GMT Master
Reference: 6542
Case Material: Yellow Gold
Bracelet Material: Leather Strap
Year: 1959
Movement: Automatic
Caliber: 1030
Case N°: 486415
Dimensions: 38 mm
Signed: Dial, Case and Movement

It is said that “necessity is the mother of inventions”. That’s why, with the increasing numbers of intercontinental planes travels, at the beginning of the ’50s the Airline company Pan Am directly went to Rolex asking for an efficient instrument which could allow the pilots to keep track of time in two locations. Already universally known for the efficiency of its tool watches, Rolex did not miss the opportunity to rewrite its name in the history of horology and in 1954 presented to the whole world its inimitable GMT Master, reference 6542. Immediately recognizable by the bright Bakelite bezel insert with the twenty-four hours markings printed to its underside, this material was chosen to reduce reflection which would disturb the pilots. It then turned out that the flexibility of this material could cause the bezel insert to break and that in very warm environments the printing would often flake off. Consequently, Rolex decided to replace the acrylic insert against a more resistant metal version. Given that the GMT-Master was created for specific, work-related purposes, most examples were cased in stainless steel. Yet, Rolex also manufactured a very limited number of watches cased in yellow gold, and fitted with a brown Bakelite bezel. Due to the immense fragility of these watches, it is incredibly rare to find such examples thus the lot here offered is absolutely a rarity. The case is nicely preserved and so are the brown/orange dial and the Bakelite bezel. It is actually not one of the so-called “tropical” or color change dials but rather the original color Rolex envisioned for this piece. Coupled with the matching brown Bakelite bezel, it imparts to the watch an extremely charismatic and exotic touch. The dial is, furthermore, embellished by the highly attractive so-called nipple numerals and, for the pleasure of the die-hard Rolex purist, features the rare small arrow for the 24-hour indication. At the time of its creation, this watch was intended for a very small circle of people, nowadays the situation has not changed: in 1954 for the Pan Am pilots, in 2022 for a very few collectors and true connoisseur community.