When it comes to iconic vintage watches, Rolex ALWAYS holds the crown (yes, bad joke, I admit…). This is even truer when it comes to rare stainless steel chronograph. The watch we’re about to show is, alone, an icon. However, what makes it so special is not the fact that it the ancestor of the mythical Rolex Daytona, a ref. 6238 “Pre-Daytona”. What makes it unique is the fact that it is the exact watch that was worn by George Lazenby when shooting “James Bond 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – and French auction house Artcurial is about to sell it… So cool and rare that we can’t even tell you what the estimate is!
You have to go through the entire catalog of watches that will be auctioned at Monaco, the 18th of July – which also includes several interesting and rare watches, like this one, this one or this one – to find lot 400, the last one, and being rather surprised. There’s a nice, silver dial, Rolex Pre-Daytona ref. 6238 listed, but on the contrary of all the other items, no estimate is given. However, you have to read the description and the notes to understand that this Ref. 6238 is not just a nice Rolex Pre-Daytona – which is a rare and highly interesting watch in itself, but not impossible to find, even in good condition. This watch is in fact unique, as it is well known from Rolex and James Bond aficionados. It is the exact Rolex Pre-Daytona Ref. 6238 that George Lazenby was wearing during the shooting of “James Bond 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. And just like the Rolex Submariner 5513 from 007 movie “Live and Let Die” we showed you or the recent Christie’s James Bond Spectre Auction, this is very, very cool.
The watch is a silver dial Rolex ref. 6238, a chronograph that precedes the mythical (and still in production) Rolex Daytona. It shares many common points with the “Dayto”, including the case and the movement. Main differences are of course the absence of tachymeter scale on the bezel (printed on the dial) and the “albino” look of the dial (no “panda” or “reverse panda” layout). This watch is accompanied by several papers, attesting from its originality:
- The original invoice from Bucherer, dated from October 23th, 1968, with manuscript mention “This is the watch for James Bond“. The invoice has been made for EON, the company that produces 007 James Bond movies.
- A black and white photo, showing George Lazenby and Catherina Von Schell (the photo you can see above)
- The invoice of Christie’s (when the watch was first sold in 2003 – see item listed here) and a 2008 invoice from the actual owner.
The George Lazenby’s Rolex Pre-Daytona Ref. 6238 from “James Bond 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” Movie was directly ordered by EON Productions to a Bucherer retailer in Switzerland, with a special request concerning the second’s hand, which is here painted in red (normally black). This red hand makes it a very rare, if not unique version – in addition of the pedigree and provenance, of course. It is equipped with Calibre 722 (and not the 72, which was only featured in the first series, before 1965 – the 722 equipped the 6238 from 1965 to the end of production, in 1968).
The pedigree of the watch is very clear: at the end of the shooting, EON Productions decided to sell some of the accessories of the movies to its employees, including wardrobe and this Rolex Pre-Daytona Ref. 6238. It has been acquired by the accountant of the company who kept it until 2003, when it has been auctioned by Christie’s – at that time, the watch fetched “only” £22,913… The owner sold it in 2008 to the actual owner, who now offers it for sale, via French auction house Artcurial. The item is listed here and no estimation is defined yet – but we can ensure you that it will be high!