The gold versions of the Rolex Day-Date might be the 18k everyday watches du jour - especially after Phillips' Glamorous Day-Date auction this year - but don't forget about Rolex's other greats if you're looking for the perfect gold watch to floss about town.


It was the watch of choice for 'The King', Elvis Presley, and 'The Duke', John Wayne; at the time of its production it was the most expensive watch Rolex offered; and upon its release it was the heaviest gold watch available anywhere. It is the ref. 9630, the first Rolex King Midas.

The striking design of the thin, manual winding, everyday timepiece was unlike anything else offered by the brand until that point. Described as 'daringly different', its smooth lines, asymmetry and integrated bracelet all help make the piece in question an exercise in minimal but opulent design. It is easily one of Rolex's most wonderfully decadent watches.

For the ref. 9630, its famed designer, Gérald Genta, drew inspiration from Greek mythology. This is most apparent in the font used for 'MIDAS' on the dial, the watch's apt namesake and its ancient Greek urn-inspired presentation box.

The King Midas made its debut in 1964 and was produced in an edition of 1,000. Weighing in at approximately 200 grams, each and every one was crafted out of a single gold ingot. It was manufactured in several different configurations: in yellow gold (with a champagne dial), white gold (with a silver-coloured dial), and also with the winding crown situated on either side of the watch's polygonal case. Some examples are said to feature a pavé diamond setting, others bi-metal (both white and yellow gold) construction, and at least one is thought to have been produced in white, rose and yellow gold for the renowned retailer Bucherer.


September 2015


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