This Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6265, dubbed “The Unicorn,” became the second-most expensive Rolex at auction Saturday when it garnered $5.9 million.
Geneva--“The Unicorn” Rolex, a watch that generated much excitement when Phillips announced its auction, has become the second-most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction.

The white gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6265 was sold as part of the “Daytona Ultimatum” thematic auction held by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo on May 12 in Geneva, where it went for CHF 5.9 million ($5.9 million), nearly doubling its pre-sale estimate.

That makes it the No. 2 Rolex at auction behind Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, which garnered $17.8 million last October.

“The Unicorn” is so known because of its rarity, being the only known white gold manual-winding Daytona ever produced.

Until the discovery of the Ref. 6265, it was believed that Rolex only produced manually wound Daytonas in stainless steel or 18-karat yellow gold, with some 14-karat yellow gold watches created for the U.S. market.

Rolex manufactured this particular watch in 1970 and delivered it in 1971 to a German retailer, who, it is believed, had placed a special order for an exclusive client with enough means and influence to convince the watch brand to stray from its norm. (Though Rolex made plenty of watches in white gold in the 1970s, they were Day-Dates.)

The white gold Ref. 6265 had been in the private ownership of collector John Goldberger, who discovered it eight years ago. Though he always said the Daytona would never be for sale, given its irreplaceable status, he eventually changed his mind.

All proceeds of the Unicorn’s sale will benefit Children Action, a foundation dedicated to helping the lives of youths across the world, resulting in one of the largest charitable contributions ever in the field of watches.

20180514 Lot No2The No. 2 lot in the sale was the stainless steel Ref. 6240, “The Neanderthal,” which sold for $3 million. This model of the Cosmograph Daytona was unique in that it was the first equipped with screw-down chronograph pushers to provide improved water resistance.
Phillips offered a total of 32 Rolex Cosmograph Daytonas in the “Daytona Ultimatum” sale on Saturday, curated by renowned watch scholar Pucci Papaleo.

All of the watches offered were sold, and the combined total achieved by the 32 pieces was $22.2 million.

In total, five Daytona watches cleared the $1-million mark, four of which were made in stainless steel. Phillips said this result can be attributed to both their rarity and the fine condition in which they were offered.

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