Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai”: An important piece of history

Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai”. Once owned by Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy, otherwise known as “Bao Dai”, the last emperor of Vietnam who purchased this watch in Geneva in 1954. Featuring the triple calendar and moon phase display, this Rolex Reference 6062 in yellow gold is said to be one of only three black dial models known to exist with diamond markers. Of the three, this particular example features the diamond markers at the even hours. Offered for sale at Phillips’ “Geneva Watch Auction: Five” on 13 and 14 May 2017. Estimated value: in excess of US$1.5 million. Photo: © Phillips.

The Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai” earned itself the title of “the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold at auction” in 2002 when it first went under the hammer for around CHF370,000.

It went beyond its estimated value of between CHF200,000 and CHF250,000 indicated by auction house Phillips de Pury (now known as Phillips).

What is the Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai”?

The Rolex Reference 6062, produced between 1950 and 1953, is said to be the first Oyster-cased watch to feature the moon phase display.

It is said that the Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai” was presented at the 1953 Basel watch fair.

It is nicknamed “Bao Dai” because Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy (1913 to 1997), the 13th and last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, the final ruling family of Vietnam, purchased this rare and exclusive watch in 1954.

Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy was the son of Emperor Khai Dinh. In 1925, Nguyen Vinh Thuy was given the title “Bao Dai” or the “Keeper of Greatness” when he was made emperor of Vietnam following the demise of his father.

Bao Dai acquired the Rolex Reference 6062 in Geneva. He was there for peace talks between the French and the Viet Minh and purchased the Rolex Reference 6062 during a break.

Bao Dai is said to have kept his Rolex watch till his death in 1997.

What else is special about this Rolex Reference 6062 apart from its imperial provenance?

There are only three known Rolex Reference 6062 models with a black dial set with diamond hour markers featuring the triple calendar indications (day, date and month) and moon phase display.

Moreover, of the three, this is the only one known that has diamonds set on the even hours, making it an extremely rare and unique piece.

This Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai” will be offered for sale by auctioneer Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo during its auction on 13 and 14 May 2017 held at Hôtel La Réserve in Geneva.

The Rolex Reference 6062 is valued at more than US$1.5 million and many Rolex fans and collectors will be closely monitoring how this rare and important piece of history will fetch at auction a second time round