It is quite common that when hearing the name Rolex, the standard reaction will be a superlative expression. As is the case with the legendary Rolex Bao Dai Reference 6062, the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold at auction for $5,060,427. The watch belonged to the 13th and last Emperor of the dynasty Nguyễn of Vietnam, His Majesty Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy. He was granted the title Bao Dai (Keeper of Greatness) at the age of 12, when he ascended the throne in 1925. It is said that in 1954, at a gathering of the world’s superpowers in Geneva Convention, Switzerland, the Emperor went out for a stroll and walked into a famous Rolex retailer across the street, Chronomètrie Philippe Beguin. The Emperor then asked, in a regal manner, as only crowned heads could do, for the rarest and most precious watch ever made. After dismissing several watch models shown by the seller, he was presented with an extraordinary yellow gold Rolex reference 6062, black dial and diamond markers for the even hours.
Bai Dai was not just wealthy, he also had a very fine taste and loved surrounding himself with rare and super expensive items. He owned a Ferrari 375 MM Spyder and commissioned many famous artisans to create unique pieces for him. And there is no wonder that his wish for the most exceptional Rolex timepiece ever made, came true with the reference 6062. But what makes this watch so unique? First of all, it is one of the three black dial watches known to have diamond markers. But unlike the other two models, whose odd hours are marked with 6 diamonds, the Bao Dai’s even hours this time, are diamond marked.
To mark the 12 o’clock hour with a diamond stone, the designers had to make some changes. For instance, the brand crown logo and the “Rolex Oyster Perpetual” inscription were moved down. The words “officially Certified Chronometer” were placed under the moon phase indicator, instead of their usual spot in the centre of the dial. Further technical details include a signed case, dial, movement and bracelet, and an additional leather strap. The Rolex reference 6062 features the emblematic Oyster case, a one-of-a-kind full calendar complication with a moon-phase display, along with the classical “perpetual” in-house movement.
The watch was first sold in 2002 by the latest Emperor’s family, for 370000 CHF, a record at the time. The rare timepiece resurfaced 15 years later at The Geneva Watch Auction: Five, where it was the object of incredible bidding that lasted 8 minutes, between 10 in-room bidders and three that bid by phone. The buyer of the Bao Dai remains unknown but managed to set a new record for the highest-priced Rolex ever auctioned at the time.
The Bao Dai Rolex reference 6062 is the rarest watch in the world. Only an emperor could casually enter a retailer to demand a model tailored to his extravagant tastes. Bao Dai Rolex reference 6062 is the absolute expression of wealth that knows no limit.
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by Claudia Ciclovan