Rolex is not only a company full of rich history but its historical timepieces or vintage models have stolen the hearts of many watch enthusiasts. Vintage models have grown in popularity more recently and thus, have grown in price. But, some particularly unique models (with unique owners) have sold for mind-boggling amounts. Every watch enthusiast knows, a watch is more than just a timepiece, it's about the story it tells as well, but are these
1971 Eric Clapton's Daytona ‘Albino’ Red. 6263 ($1,418,000)
Clapton’s Daytona was made in 1971 when most models with the reference 6263 had black chronograph totalizers where as the “Albino” had silvered ones to match the silver dial. WIth just four of these made, the watch was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York for just $505,000 in 2003. Just 12 years later, it was sold for $1,418,000at Phillips auction in Geneva. Eric Clapton - guitar legend, who bought the watch in the 1990s, was known for his hit songs: “Blue Eyes Blue,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Tears in Heaven.”
1942 Antimagnetique Ref. 4113 ($2.4M)
The Antimagnetique watch was gifted to a select group of racing teams and drivers as Rolex has known to be an active sponsor of racing events since the 1930s. This Rolex has held the record twice for being the most expensive Rolex ever sold at an auction. In 2016, it was sold for a meer $2.4 million which is twice the amount it sold for previously in 2013. Only 12 of these watches were made and 8 are believed to still exist. With a stainless steel case, the dial features pink gold Arabic and baton hour markers.
1969 Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6263 ($3,717,906)
Paul Newman changed the popularity of the Daytona. It was not much of a hit when it was first released, but today, Daytona models are highly sought after. This 18K yellow gold Rolex Daytona has the nickname “The Legend,” and only three of these watches are known to exist.
1954 Bao Dai Ref. 6062 ($5,060,427)
The Rolex Bao Dai is thus named as it was the property of the last Monarch of Vietnam, Bao Dai. Although that is not the sole reason it sold for so much,; it is one of the most complicated wrist watches manufactured by Rolex at that time with a triple calendar and moon phase indicator. Like the Paul Newman Daytona, it is also 18K yellow gold and is only one of three models ever known to have existed, but it also sports diamond markers for the 12, 2, 4, 8 and 10 hour indicators on the black dial.
1968 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 ($17,752,500)
This Daytona has a beautiful story - the watch was purchased by his wife who was concerned his passion for motor racing would cause him to get in an accident, so she had the case engraved with “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME.” Purchased at a Tiffany & Co. store in New York in 1968, the watch with its humorous and simultaneously sentimental marking attracts not only the watch world but the racing world as well as being a piece of American history.
There are countless more Rolexes that have sold for significant amounts due to the stories they told and the unique features they sported. Rolex has long made it a history to create lasting timepieces to be passed from generation to generation, and Rolex’s unique characteristic to release such rare models or few variations has left the watch world drooling at the mouth for those rare vintage finds.