RR Auctions are preparing to conduct an auction of rare and historic Presidential memorabilia and trinkets, tucked in at lot #177 happens to be one of the Grand-Daddies of all Rolex Oyster watches. The solid yellow gold Rolex Datejust worn by Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander and 34th President of the United States of America is up for grabs! Get your bidding paddles ready for your chance to own a piece of horo-history.
Rolex marketing material in the late 50’s used to feature the line: “Men who guide the course of history wear Rolex watches.” The Rolex 6305 coming up for auction this month in Boston, MA is an indication to the weight that statement carries. The watch was owned and worn by Dwight David Eisenhower. His documented use of the piece throughout his two terms as President of the United States cemented its status as one of the most important Rolex watches ever and elevated the profile of Rolex watch from sporting watch maker to prestige brand.
In 1951 Rolex presented Dwight D. Eisenhower a solid gold Datejust ref. 6305 to commemorate the Allied victory of WWII. In an unusually candid move for Rolex, Ike’s watch is reported to have the 150,000th Chronometer grade movement certified by the Geneva brand. Other similar commemorative watches were presented to Swiss General Guisan, Winston Churchill and American General Matthew Ridgway. This watch is certainly part of an exclusive subset or Rolex’s production history.
Eisenhower had the case-back of the watch engraved with his initials “DDE”, the date of his installation as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces and the five stars signifying his rank. He liked the watch so much he had his portrait taken for LIFE Magazine and several other major publications wearing the watch somewhat conspicuously. He continued to wear the watch from 1953 to 1961 as the President of the United States of America. Eisenhower gifted the watch to his (nearly) career-long personal valet, whose family subsequently sold the piece to its current owner, a prominent collector of US Presidential memorabilia.
The real charm of the Eisenhower’s Rolex seems to be the effect that it had on the cache of the brand. A quick analysis of the Rolex’s advertisements prior to Eisenhower’s spontaneous publicity for the Company focused on the technical side of Rolex: accuracy, water-resistance, durability …etc. Then in 1957 it became the brand for the movers and shakers in world politics.
Because of its historical provenance and well-documented history, RR Auctions anticipate that this will be one of the, if not THE most expensive Rolex watch ever sold at auction. While personalized engraving usually erodes the value of a watch on the secondary market, this time the engraving in question will dramatically add to the value of the watch.
The watch is sold in working order with mostly minor cosmetic flaws (mostly associated with usage). The only material item worth noting as a detractor from the value of the watch is the dial, which appears to be a replacement performed by none other than Rolex! This is a topic we’ve gone over in past articles; Rolex are sticklers for procedure. Their procedure dictates that if you send in a watch for service and they see a component in need of refurbishment or replacement they are 100% likely to take it onto themselves to refurbish or more likely just replace that component. In this case the dial.
If you can live with the fact that this is a 63 year old, three-owner pre-owned Datejust with a factory service dial and someone else’s engraving on the case, this might just be the Datejust for you. (The listing does not mention if box an papers are included.)
Bidding starts at $100,000 USD but be prepared for a spectacular price: this presidential Rolex Datejust ref. 6305 is estimated at $ 1 million USD.