Rolex Perpetual Calendar, a unique Datejust by Franck Muller
Here at Monochrome-Watches.com we are constantly on the lookout for the quintessential watches for you to own. Today we have unearthed something very special indeed: a Rolex Datejust! (The skeptics in the crowd now have their sarcasm tasers set to STUN as they all simultaneously shout: “What’s so special about a Rolex Datejust?”). It may be a Datejust, but the only Rolex Perpetual Calendar.
Behold: a Rolex Datejust – modified with a Perpetual Calendar complication by Franck Muller! The only one of it’s kind in the world. Brought to you buy the man that made it all look so easy (Muller – not me) and the company that NEVER brought you a Perpetual Calendar movement of any kind! (That would be Rolex.)
Some of you are now ticking it over in your minds… they must have. Rolex MUST have at some point… No – they never did. Rolex, the great and mighty Rolex, have NEVER produced a Perpetual Calendar watch!
I’ve seen references to models 8171 and 6062, both of which were Complete Calendar movements with Moon Phase. Digging through auction records none of them have ever been sold as or advertised and unsold as “Perpetual Calendar” watches. Both the 6062 and 8171 are magnificent pieces – but they lack the capacity to correct for the leap years.
We’ve seen other such instances where the industry giant has stumbled over complications other makers excel in. The reference 3346 Zerographe comes to mind as an example of a movement which other makers produced de-rigueur, but Rolex had to experiment with a few beta tests. What we have with the Muller modified Datejust is something that Rolex either wouldn’t (or more likely couldn’t) do.
In 1989, just before venturing out on his own, Muller wanted to create something of a special tribute to a dear friend. He began with a 16238, yellow gold Datejust, with a standard 3135 movement – a prized item on it’s own. Then Muller modified it adding a few extra features: A Months and Leap Year calendar at 12 o’clock. A Date register at 3 o’clock. A Moon Phase indicator at 6 o’clock. A Days of the Week register at 9 o’clock. By the end of the process Muller created the very first and only Rolex Quantième Perpétuel or in English Rolex Perpetual Calendar. All in a day’s work for the man known as the “Master of Complications”.
The Muller modified Rolex maintains it’s classic 36mm size and shape. However looking at it you can tell instantly that there is something special and very, very precious about this watch. The thought that it is perhaps one of a handful of attempts to produce a truly complicated Rolex watch makes it almost irresistible to serious collectors.
Have you been Naughty or Nice this year?
Some of you will have heard the urban legends about this watch. Some of you will have read about it in books. One lucky person can own it – this one is for sale by rare, complicated and collectable watch specialist Giulio Bonaccio at Orologio in New York, New York. The watch is sold with its original box, invoice and certificates from the date of purchase, a letter from Franck Muller to the gentleman the watch was made for. If that is not enough, there is even a photograph of Master Franck presenting the watch to his friend.
How much is it? (I won’t say – it’s a personal preference of mine to never discuss prices.) I will say that if you are in the market for something between a Carrera 4S and a Carrera Turbo you are in the neighborhood. If you want to find out for yourself please do so – credible buyers only. Tire-kickers will be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment!
First three photos by Mike Mellia
The watch is for sale at Orologio in New York
I was under the original impression that Franck Muller’s efforts were focused on his brand of watches. I was not aware of F.M. doing alterations or design improvements on ROLEX. Interesting.
Great watch and great write-up.. but ‘or more likely couldn’t’? Not too sure about that.. 😉
Chap in the pic looks a lot like Jerome Lambert hehe