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5 Rare Vintage Rolexes Selling At Christie’s Geneva Auction

Paul Altieri

A roundup of Rolex rarities 

Scheduled to take place on November 14, 2016, Christie’s will be hosting their Rare Watches Auction of the fall season in Geneva, Switzerland. Among the over 300 lots are some rare Rolex collections worth a closer look. From Submariners to Presidents to Daytonas, here are five rare vintage Rolex watches that will surely sell for some big money.

1. Rolex Day-Date 18078 “Qaboos”

Christie's Geneva Auction 2016
The Rolex Day-Date ref. 18078 “Qaboos” has the dial of a light green lacquer “Stella” dial.

Estimate: $60,494 – $90,741

Middle Eastern royalty have always been big fans of Rolex watches with many of them ordering custom made models. This vintage Rolex Day-Date ref. 18078 was made especially for His Majesty Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, Sultan of Oman. Not only is the dial of this Rolex President a light green lacquer “Stella” dial, but it also has the gilt crowned khanjar dagger symbol often appearing on the Sultan’s Rolexes. The crowned khanjar dagger is also on the caseback of this custom Rolex President, which is not a common occurrence at all. In fact, this may be a unique Rolex as another Day-Date with the light green stella dial and royal dagger on both the caseback and dial has never been seen in public before.

2. Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 “Milsub”

Christie's Geneva Auction 2016
Rolex Submariner 5513 Milsub, a watch modified to meet military specs.

Estimate: $100,824 – $151,236

Dubbed the Milsub because of its use by the British Royal Navy, the Submariner ref. 5513 modified to meet military specs is a highly sought after vintage Rolex. There are several characteristics that differentiate it from a civilian Submariner. Firstly, a look at the dial shows larger sword shape hands along with the symbol for Tritium, the encircled “T”. Furthermore, the fixed bar lugs were attached to the watch to accommodate NATO straps. Additionally, the bezel has 60-minute graduations rather than the typical first 15 minutes. Finally, the caseback of the Milsub ref. 5513 features very specific engravings set out by the British Ministry of Defense such as the broad arrow, issue number, date code, MOD code, and NATO code.

3. Rolex Submariner ref. 6200 “Explorer Dial”

Rolex Submariner 6200 Explorer Dial
Rolex Submariner 6200 with an “Explorer Dial”.

Estimate: $100,824 –  $151,236

A very interesting vintage Submariner indeed, the ref. 6200 houses a dial that is normally found on Explorer watches characterized by the 3, 6, and 9 numerals. Also worth noting is the lack of the “Submariner” label and depth rating normally present on Rolex’s diving watches. An absolutely rare model, Rolex scholars estimate that there are less than 20 ref. 6200 with the Explorer dial. Another feature that stands out on this rare vintage Rolex is the oversized 8mm Brevet winding crown without crown guards.

4. Rolex Oyster Chronograph ref. 6036 “Jean-Claude Killy”

Rolex Oyster Chronograph ref. 6036
A Rolex Oyster Chronograph ref. 6036 nicknamed the “Jean-Claude Killy”.

Estimate: $181,483 –  $282,306

The vintage Rolex Oyster Chronograph ref. 6036 was the third generation of Dato Compax triple calendar timepieces manufactured by the brand. Most often crafted in either stainless steel or yellow gold, a pink gold ref. 6036 is certainly a tough find, as illustrated by its pre-sale estimate. This particular family of Dato Compax timepieces are also sometimes referred to as “Jean-Claude Killy” Rolexes for their association with the champion alpine skier. They’re especially noteworthy for being some of the most complicated watches ever manufactured by Rolex — boasting both a triple calendar as well as a chronograph function.

5. Rolex Daytona ref. 6241 “Paul Newman”

Rolex Daytona ref. 6241 Paul Newman
Rolex Daytona ref. 6241 “Paul Newman” tops it all off.

Estimate: $201,647 – $302,471

Not surprisingly, at the top of the heap of this stellar collection of rare vintage Rolexes is none other than a Daytona Paul Newman. This particular Rolex Paul Newman is a Daytona ref. 6241 in yellow gold. Since most Daytona ref. 6241 chronographs were made in stainless steel and fitted with regular dials instead of exotic ones (aka Paul Newman dials), it’s safe to say that a yellow gold Daytona Paul Newman 6241 is a scarce model. As a matter of fact, only 3,000 pieces of the ref. 6241 were ever produced, and of those, less than 10% were in gold. Moreover, even less had a Paul Newman dial.

Come November 14, whether online, via the phone, or present within the Christie’s auction house in Geneva, there will be Rolex collectors from each corner of the globe vying to make one of these five rare vintage Rolex references the newest member of their personal collection.

Paul Altieri
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