The Mark 1 (MK1) always ends up being the best. Admittedly, the
first iteration isn’t always the most complete as improvements are
often made through the MKs. Collectors, however, more often than
not want the first version as it was usually made in smaller
numbers and represents the inception of a line. In vintage Rolex
terms, the MK1 is usually king. The MK1 Maxi dial 5513 Submariner
has always commanded a premium over later Maxi dials. The first
iteration of the Perpetual Daytona reference 16520 with so-called
‘floating’ dial is the one to have and the MK1 ‘Long E’ GMT Master
1675 pips the others. Never is this truer than with the Oyster
Push It Real Good
The first waterproof Daytona was the reference 6240. Launched in
1965, Rolex was finally able to put the word Oyster on the dial
thanks to the development of chronograph pushers that had a screw
mechanism to keep the case hermetically sealed. Rolex had created
the Oyster case thanks to their screw-down caseback, the screw-down
crown and now the screw-down pushers were part of the waterproof
system. The 6240 was a transitional model that transitioned into
the references 6263 and 6265, which were released in 1969 and
enjoyed a 20-year run.
The Devil Wears
The devil is in the details and there are a lot of them to
consider with the first Oyster Newman dials. With the introduction
of the 6263/5, Singer produced a two-colour panda dial with exotic
features that first appeared in watches at around serial 2.08
million. The text on the dial is across three lines and reads ROLEX
OYSTER COSMOGRAPH, which sit below an applied Rolex coronet.
Scholars and collectors have identified a chronology of three
slightly different versions of the text which have been identified
as MK1, MK1.5 and MK2. The differences are very subtle and at a
passing glance, the casual observer would assume them to all be the
same and that’s what makes all this so much fun! Pictures speak a
thousand words and Philipp Stahl’s illustrated breakdown below
highlights the differences very clearly.
The rarer and more desirable MK1 has a much thinner font without
the serifs on the words OYSTER and COSMOGRAPH. The MK1.5 is also
sans serif while the MK2 had quite obvious serifs. The MKs also saw
the introduction of a new typography for the ROLEX font, with the
more flared and pronounced front leg of the ‘R’ and heavy serifs on
the ‘L’. Small, tiny observations but details that can make the
difference of tens of thousands of dollars! And the subtleties
don’t stop with the letters: the numbers on the dial have their own
code of secrecy. The ’30’ on the minute totalizer has its own
unique shape; the asymmetrical 3 with an elongated bottom half’s
long sweep almost like a jutting jaw with heavy and unique serifs.
And check out the running seconds subdial: the ‘5’s in ‘45’ and
‘15’ – can you see the difference? Look harder. The former looks
like it’s had a brick dropped on it!
The dial also has hidden and important depths… literally. The
black outer seconds track is actually stepped down from the white
of the body. And the three sub registers are sunk into the dial.
This detail gives the watch a truly three-dimensional quality that
can only really be appreciated when holding the watch in your hand.
Like a magician’s sleight of hand, with the turn of the wrist in
the right light, this dial is like no other. There’s no illusion,
just pure quality vintage goodness. And what better way to frame
this monochrome dial? A black plastic bezel. I have always
preferred the black bezel of the 6263 over the steel 6265. I know
it’s only personal opinion but to me the overall look is more
complete and balanced. And the cherry on top of the cake – pale
custard-coloured lume plots, most of which are perfect on this
It is with great excitement that we are able to offer this
fantastic example of one the most sought-after Rolex sports watches
on the planet. This watch has been verified by two of the leading
auction houses and the dial has been taken off and is 100% correct.
We have deliberately chosen to leave the watch in ‘as found’
condition. This watch has been loved and worn as it was intended to
be, but the important factors are all present and correct.
And finally, the school. You may have read the article in
The Rake’s sister publication Revolution last August
about my work as Headteacher of a Secondary School here in the UK.
In an incredibly generous gesture, Revolution and the
anonymous consignor have agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds
to Harrop Fold School to support the work that is being done there
in extremely challenging circumstances. On a personal note, I am
deeply touched by this and want to say a big thank you to Wei,
Bruce and the whole Revolution team, the consignor and
finally to the eventual buyer of this amazing vintage Rolex.
To express your interest in
a truly historic piece of fine watchmaking, get in touch with
The Rake at firstname.lastname@example.org.