Sold: The Rolex Unicorn Is The Second Most Expensive Rolex At AuctionWritten by Melissa Kong
After the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona, of course.
Like the mythical creature it’s named after, ‘The Unicorn’ is as elusive as it comes. The only known white gold vintage Rolex Daytona just fetched CHF 5.9 million at the Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN, happening over this weekend.
The watch was crafted by Rolex in 1970 at the request of an important German retailer, and horological scholars believe it to be a one-off. Auction house Phillips calls it “A breathtaking chronograph, (and) most likely to be the rarest and most luxurious Cosmograph Daytona manufactured by Rolex during this era.”
Private collector, John Goldberger, offered the watch for auction with proceeds going to Children Action, a Swiss charitable foundation that aims to address the needs of disadvantaged children around the world.
Of the sale, Children Action founder Bernard Sabrier said: “I am absolutely delighted by this wonderful contribution to our cause that will directly enhance the lives of thousands of children around the world. I’m especially grateful for the generosity and kindness of John Goldberger, the private collector who clearly saw the value of ‘The Unicorn’ and our cause, and to Phillips for their efforts in making this donation possible, one of the single largest private contributions in our foundation’s history.”
The man who facilitated the sale is none other than renowned auctioneer Aurel Bacs (read our interview with him here). When asked his thoughts on the sale, Bacs replied, “The record-breaking sale results of Daytona Ultimatum reflected the collector community’s desire for highest quality property and the importance of the Rolex Daytona in the field of collector’s wristwatches. It’s been a tremendous honour offering ‘The Unicorn’ on behalf of John Goldberger, which achieved one of the largest charitable contributions ever in our industry. After the Joanne Woodward / Paul Newman Daytona we sold last season, it achieved the second highest price ever for a Rolex wristwatch. We are thrilled with this historic result and philanthropic gesture, and delighted by the lasting benefits the sale of this watch will provide to so many children.”
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".