Few things are as fiercely collected as vintage Rolex. The demand for these watches has been on the rise for quite some time now and has resulted in many record-breaking auction results. The appeal of a vintage Rolex cannot only be found in their high build quality, timeless design, and excellent pedigree, but also in the fact that many of their models have become benchmarks within the industry in their respective categories. That makes vintage Rolex in general, and the following four especially, to die for.
Rolex ‘Bao Dai’
For a brief moment was this unique ref. 6062 the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction when the hammer came down at $5,060,427,-. What makes this Rolex so exceptional is part of the configuration of this reference, which combines a triple calendar with a black lacquer dial set with diamonds, but also the story behind it. This Rolex was bought in 1954 by the last Emperor of Vietnam, who also gave the watch its name. At the time, it was the most expensive Rolex one could buy, and this particular model was also on display at the Baselworld fair in 1953. It is quite easy to see why the Emperor of Vietnam was so taken by this watch, not only because of its unique dial but also with the moon phase indicator and pointer date.
Rolex Daytona ‘Paul Newman’
The Bao Dai above was dethroned as the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction by the Daytona, which was gifted to actor and race-car driver Paul Newman by his wife. While a Daytona with a Paul Newman dial is already among the most sought after vintage timepieces, is the watch of the man himself, of course, the ultimate prize. This also explained why it fetched $17,752,500,- (including buyers premium), making it by far the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction. The fact that it is the ultimate Paul Newman Daytona plays a big role in this, with the cool-factor of this legendary actor so firmly attached to this very attractive chronograph.
Rolex Submariner Ref.5513 ‘Live and Let Die’
This Submariner is really to die for, as it was on the wrist of Roger Moore when he played the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, in the movie ‘Live and Let Die.’ What started as a regular ref.5513 Submariner was modified by Syd Cain, the art director of the James Bond franchise at the time. Its diving bezel was reworked and given teeth, allowing it to play an essential part in the movie as James Bond used it to cut the ropes with which he was held, defeat the villain and rescue the girl, in this case, Jane Seymour.
Another Rolex that has become a benchmark is the Day-Date. While they come in many different varieties, this one is almost unique. It was made in 1969 at the specific request of a client of Rolex. He wanted his Day-Date to show off its sportive side by giving it a plain bezel, Mercedes-hands, and a black dial with large luminous dots as hour markers. The result is very striking, and we are not the only ones who think so. Klarlund, Scandinavia’s largest Rolex-dealer also put an order in for the same watch, for one of its royal clients. So two examples of this watch exist, of which one was sold early last year by Christie’s for $276,104,-