Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 18ct, 1955/1956 1st Release! Original Dial!
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Carefully Selected, Lightly Owned & Lightly Used Example
18ct Yellow Gold Rolex Case With Original Early Lightly Fluted Bezel
Large Size 36mm Diameter Watch Case, Excluding the Rolex Oyster Crown
A Superb Original Unrestored & Untouched Dial With Original Restored ‘Lance’ Hands
Very High-Grade Cal.1055 Automatic Movement – Just Serviced in Sparkling Condition!
Officially Certified Superlative Chronometer Grade Highly Accurate Movement
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning, Freshly Restored Condition
Rolex Oyster Inner and Outer Presentation Boxes Included, as Shown
Genuine Rolex Black Crocodile Strap with Rolex Gold Plated Buckle
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the company became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving to its new Geneva headquarters in 1919. The success of the wristwatch can be largely attributed to many of Rolex’s innovations which made the company one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These have included its famous “Oyster” case — the world’s first water-resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and its “Perpetual” — the world’s first reliable, self-winding movement for the wristwatch, launched in 1933. These would form the foundation for Rolex’s Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956. Also and equally importantly, Rolex is known for its sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.
Why This Watch Is Important
Rolex officially introduced the Day-Date in 1956. The inaugural model was the ref. 6511 and it was the first waterproof watch to famously indicate both the date at 3 o’clock and the full day of the week at 12 o’clock. However, the model suffered from some technical difficulties and Rolex withdrew the 6511 within only a few months, replacing it with the Day-Date ref. 6611.
The model ref. 6611 was fitted with an improved COSC certified Caliber 1055 which included a new balance wheel. The automatic day and date movement includes 25 jewels and a frequency rate of 18,000 beats per hour. Due to the mechanical improvements, this was the first Rolex to include ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ on the dial — a detail that can be found on the majority of Rolex watches today.
The Rolex Day-Date ref. 6611 was only made between 1956 and 1959 when it was eventually replaced by the ref. 1800 series. However, the specific example here has a 311,542 case serial number, which is very clear and dates this watch to mid-1955, making it one of the very first Rolex Day-Dates to be produced. It was most likely one of the very first, provided to Rolex’s distributors prior to the official release. The model reference 6611 number is again very clearly found both between the lugs at 12 and on the inside of the case-back. So the question arises, why such an early case has the 6611 reference and not the 6511? At this point in time, as with a great many things Rolex during this period, this remains a mystery, as there is very little solid information available. Rolex, unlike almost all other major watch brands, has never released any official information or reference material about its watches or its history, which can be frustrating. It is also well known that Rolex case serial numbers from this period cannot be totally relied on and so this the possible explanation.
Nevertheless and without any doubt, this absolutely genuine example of a very early serial number reference 6611 represents an important part of the Rolex history. This Day-Date 6611 will make a fantastic addition to any watch collection. Just how important it is, may reveal itself within the coming weeks as we look into this further and solicit more information.
This watch is complete with the original unrestored and untouched dial which is in amazingly good original condition. To retain its charm and originality we have therefore left it completely alone.
The case and movement also remain in superb condition. We have of course serviced the movement in order to provide our 12 months warranty on this watch.
This original Rolex Day-Date dial is one of the most iconic of vintage Rolex Dial designs, which in essence carries through to this day. Here it looks stunning in its original slightly off-white, against the yellow gold case. The dial carries its original restored Rolex 1950s ‘Lance’ hands and applied ‘Pencil’ hour indices with of course, the Rolex Coronet at the very top of the dial.
As mentioned above, the dial here is completely original, unrestored and untouched. We have left this completely alone to retain its originality and charm, as it is in outstanding condition for a watch of this age. Usually, we restore the dial as part of the overall restoration process of each watch we sell. This is because watch dials over 50 years old tend to become very unsightly due to damage from sunlight, moisture, and pollution. This takes the form of fading, staining, spotting and pitting. Watch dials also become very easily marked when a watch is dismantled for servicing and this is often evidenced in the form of scratches. Here however, the dial is simply outstanding, with only some very slight fading and a little spotting. On the wrist, this is hardly noticeable, unless one has 20:20 vision and holds the watch six inches from the eye and obviously this is much more apparent under the very magnification of our photographer’s high power macro lens, and multi-megapixel camera sensor. If however, you would like the dial restoring to bring it back to completely original restored condition, we will be happy to do this free of charge.
The dial is signed ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual’, ‘Day-Date’ with ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial. As previously mentioned, this was also the first Rolex to include ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified‘ on the dial — a detail that can be found on the majority of Rolex watches today.
The lens has been replaced with a new original, as part of the restoration and of course, carries the cyclops date window.
The Watch Movement
The significance of this watch movement and some background is discussed above. Suffice to say this watch, of which this example is one of the very first, has formed an absolutely key part in the success of the Rolex brand and its range of automatic dress watches since it was the first successful automatic waterproof wristwatch to show both the day of the week and date of the month.
Following its mishap with the very short lived Calibre 6511, the higher grade ‘Officially Certified Superlative Chronometer’, 25 Jewel, Calibre 1055 ‘butterfly’ movement is very highly regarded for being accurate, reliable and robust.
As can be seen in the photographs, it is in sparkling condition and it is working perfectly following a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled to each of its component parts, cleaned and inspected under high magnification and then rebuilt using only original Rolex parts where required, before testing and careful calibration. The watch has just been re-tested (as it will be prior to delivery) and is running to within +6 seconds per day, which is outstanding for a vintage watch of this age! The movement also has a 48 hour power reserve when fully wound.
These movements are strong, accurate and very reliable making the watch appropriate for regular everyday use. This particular movement is in top condition and with regular servicing every 2 to 3 years we would fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come! We are therefore pleased to offer a 12-month warranty on this watch movement* and servicing in the future. Signed ‘MONTRES ROLEX SA GENEVA’ and ‘TWENTY FIVE JEWELS’, ‘ADJUSTED to FIVE POSITIONS’, the movement carries the movement reference number Ndd609070 and the calibre number 1055.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The 18ct yellow gold case measures 36mm, excluding the Rolex Oyster screw-down crown. The case has been carefully inspected inside and out and then restored to ‘as new’ condition by very gentle cleaning and hand-polishing by our professional watch case restorer. Even though this is an early example, no definition has been lost and all the lines, including the bezel, remain well defined. It is therefore in superb condition with no scratches, dings or similar marks visible to the naked eye.
This watch is also complete with its early shallow fluted bezel, which is much easier on the eye and has more subtle flutes than the later, more heavily fluted bezels. This gives the watch a more refined appearance and defines this watch as an early 1950s Day-Date. As can be seen, the bezel remains in excellent condition and is free from any marks, which is unusual as the bezel is the most prone part of the watch case and most easily damaged through nicks and scratches.
The screw-down case-back is of full-thickness, having never been inscribed. The inside of the case-back carries the Rolex model number 6611 with 18ct Swiss Geneva hallmarks and is signed ‘Montres Rolex SA Geneva Switzerland’. Very importantly, the case also carries its clearly defined serial number, 311542, between the lugs at ‘6’, along with the Rolex model reference number 6611, (again) at ’12’. The case serial number confirms the date of manufacture of the watch, which is 1955!
Please note, although the waterproof seals have been replaced and this watch was originally specified as waterproof when new, this has not been tested and it is not guaranteed.
As always, our standard advice applies: vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
A new, genuine black Rolex Crocodile strap has been fitted along with a gold-plated Rolex buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 20mm straps.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on the watch are correct, dating the watch to 1955.
Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included in the sale, along with our detailed receipt and 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale, along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If at any time, this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The matching Rolex Oyster Inner and Outer presentation boxes shown in the photographs will be included with this watch.
To summarise, this is an important, iconic, high quality, and very practical vintage watch from horology’s most famous name. It will provide an excellent financial investment as well as be something to wear, treasure and enjoy! It will make the perfect evening wear dress watch as well as a practical, highly accurate and reliable timepiece to use on an everyday basis. Although this is one of our more expensive watches, its quality will be remembered for long after its purchase price will be forgotten.
Vintage gold Rolex Day-Date watches are highly collectable and the rarity of this watch means the value will always remain strong, meaning this watch will also make an excellent investment and family heirloom piece. Even though vintage Rolex prices have risen strongly in recent years, we feel high-quality fine examples such as this still remain undervalued. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage watches expands, availability will become more limited, so prices are surely destined to climb ever higher.
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these for sale at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach, inevitably, means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Fully Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, we welcome your call on: 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on: +44 207 727 7095.
We are ready and available and awaiting your call! We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting vintage watches, we will also be happy to hear from you.
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine Vintage Gold Watches.