235 Rolex Possibly Unique Configuration, Preserved in Outstanding Condition, Swiss Everest Pioneers, Daytona Cosmograph, Wristwatch in Steel, Paul Newman Dial and Historically Significant “Mystery Cross” Engraved on the Case Back, Reference 6265

Estimate: €600,000 –⁠ 1,200,000

Sold €884,000

Model: Daytona
Reference: 6265
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Bracelet Material: Stainless Steel
Year: 1972
Movement: Manual
Caliber: 727
Case N°: 2 849 276
Dimensions: 37 mm
Signed: Dial, Movement and Case
Literature: The present lot was sold at Christie’s “Important Watches” Auction Geneva, 9 November 2015 ″ as lot 363 for CHF 269,000

Legends and stories populate the watchmaking tradition. Shrouded in mystery, many of them still remain unsolved, while others take years, decades or even centuries to be revealed. Full of charm, they are able to captivate the greatest collectors and enthusiasts, creating an aura around them. One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world of vintage watches was that of the “Mystery Cross” that is present on a limited number of vintage Rolexes. For many years it seemed impossible to find an answer to what this particular engraving was, but just a couple of years ago, watch writer Perezcope was able to unravel this mystery. This engraving features a cross with equilateral arms, exactly like the one featured in the Swiss flag, and surrounded by a braided rope. This logo belongs to the “Schweizer Stiftung für Alpine Forschung” in Zurich, the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research. This foundation, since 1939, organized expeditions to the Himalayas providing all kinds of support and equipment. In 1952 the Swiss attempted to summit Everest with a young Tenzing Norgay as Sherpa but unfortunately it did not end as hoped and the mission had to be aborted not far from the top, due to a Monsoon storm and inadequate oxygen equipment. Numerous pictures from that expedition show accessories bearing this “Schweizer Stiftung für Alpine Forschung” logo and helped find the conclusion of this mystery. So what is the link between the “Mystery Cross” and Rolex? At the moment, only three watches bearing this special engraving are known and it is interesting to note that all three are Daytonas reference 6265 in steel. Unexpectedly, all three have dials that different from each other, but what unites them is their serial numbers, all close to each other which indicate that they were manufactured in 1972. The stories surrounding these watches were varied, including some Italian journalists in the Amazon forest that had come into contact with Venezuelan guerilleros who were already in possession of one of these specimens or that these watches were made for the world famous Pontifical Swiss Guard, the armed forces of the Pope. After checks carried out by Christie’s in 2015, however, the stories turned out to be without merit and the logo remained a mystery. In 2021, after many years of research, watch expert “Perezcope” contacted the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, who replied that these 3 specimens manufactured and engraved in 1972 were probably the result of a special order made to celebrate the 50 years of the incredible 1952 climb that had almost reached the top of Everest, which would have anticipated what would later be the quest of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. This also explains why these Daytonas had nothing to do with an expedition that took place 50 years earlier. Monaco Legend Group is proud to be able to offer this beautiful Daytona ref. 6265 manufactured in steel, very nicely preserved with deep and clear “Mystery Cross” engraving on the back. A crucial detail of the watch is that the last three digits of the case numbers are repeated on the inside of the case back. This is a feature known to exist in special order Rolex watches made for Comex, the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Fuerza Aerea del Perú (FAP) amongst others. In addition, there is a small hole on the case back which was specially made by Rolex, so as to indicate that the engravings had been made directly by them in the factory and not subsequently, which is further proof that this is a commemoration made by mutual agreement with Rolex itself. If that wasn’t enough, this is the only example known to boast one of the rarest and most appreciated dial versions ever produced: the so-called Paul Newman “Panda” dial. The Panda dial is characterized by a dichromatic colour scheme: the only colours present on this dial are white and black, indeed like the Asian bear it is named after. It is possible that the “Panda” variation was a “last resort effort” to simplify the dial design in order to make it more appealing in the eyes of the public. The simplicity of the black and white colour scheme coupled with the design complexity of the dial results in a supremely elegant watch, combining masculine, sporty and elegant traits. This marks the first time that a “Mystery Cross” has gone to auction since Perezcscope solved the enigma that has shrouded the watches for all these decades and is a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of history.