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The Most Expensive Rolex

May 22, 2017

BY Paul Altieri


Earlier this month, a new record was set for the most expensive Rolex ever sold. The previous record of nearly $2.5 million was held by a reference 4113 Rolex split-seconds chronograph that was sold by Phillips just 12 months ago. However this year, a legendary watch from vintage Rolex lore has taken the title for a second time, more than doubling the previous record, with a final sale price of $5,060,427.

Most Expensive Rolex

This watch ended with a final sale price of $5,060,427. (credit: Watches by SJX)

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Most Expensive Rolex

The very rare and vintage Rolex reference 6062 “Bao Dai” triple-calendar moonphase is craft entirely from yellow gold and has a black dial set with diamonds at the even hour makers. The watch originally belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, and it is the only known example of a reference 6062 to be fitted with this exact dial.

While visiting Switzerland to attend the Geneva Convention, Bao Dai made a trip to Chronometrie Philippe Beguin, a Rolex dealer to purchase a new watch. Unsatisfied by every timepiece that was in stock, a special request was made for the most rare and precious Rolex ever made, and this is the very watch that Rolex sourced for him.

(credit: Watches by SJX)

A special request was made for the most rare and precious Rolex ever made. (credit: Watches by SJX)

Bao Dai

Following Bao Dai’s death in 1997, his ultra-rare and exclusive reference 6062 was put up for auction by his surviving relatives, and in 2002, it sold for a record-breaking $235,000. This year at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction, the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 surfaced again, labeled as lot 93, and took back its title as the highest priced Rolex ever sold. When the final bid was in, the legendary “Bao Dai” had a final sale price of more than twenty-one times what it previously had been sold for at auction just fifteen years prior.

His ultra-rare and exclusive reference 6062 was put up for auction by his surviving relatives. (credit: Watches by SJX)


Many speculated that the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 had the potential to set a new world record for the most expensive Rolex ever sold. There are only three known examples of reference 6062s fitted with black diamond dials, and only one “Bao Dai” reference 6062, which makes this watch about as rare as it gets. Beyond its pure scarcity, the “Bao Dai” is in fantastic condition and comes with an absolutely amazing and well-documented provenance.

Most Expensive Rolex.

Many speculated that the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 had the potential to set a new world record. (credit: Watches by SJX)

The Last Emperor

Another interesting bit of information about the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 is that the most recent buyer is only this watch’s third owner in its entire history, which spans more than six decades. Since its previous sale in 2002, the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 has been a part of one of the finest private collections in the world, and before that it graced the wrist of the last emperor of Vietnam.

While retail prices for brand new Rolex watches keep increasing from year to year, the recent, record-breaking sale of the “Bao Dai” reference 6062 confirms that the vintage market is still where the astronomic valuations reside. This is the second time that this particular watch has held the title of the most expensive Rolex ever sold, which only adds to its extraordinary history and provenance. With its recent auction price of over $5 million, this watch has firmly asserted itself within the small, elite circle of the most collectible watches ever made.



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