When a new season of auction catalogs comes out, it’s often an overwhelming experience. All of a sudden there are hundreds of watches to look at, evaluate, and judge, and with the quality of catalogs these past few years, more and more of them are genuinely worth spending some time examining. But, every season, there are also a few watches that jump out immediately and say “Hey! Over here!” When it comes to Christie’s New York evening sale, taking place this Thursday, there was not a moment of doubt as to which watch was most exciting: the Rolex ref. 6062 “Dark Star.” And, in fact, I think this is the most exciting watch of this week’s New York auctions overall.
So what exactly is this watch beyond the catchy nickname? It is a Role ref. 6062 automatic triple calendar with moonphase in solid yellow gold. The watch dates to circa 1952 and has a special dial adorned with gold star markers at eight of the hours, a so-called stelline dial (meaning “little stars” in Italian). Now, these things on their own would make for a pretty spectacular and rare watch. It’s though that around 670 yellow gold 6062s were produced, but only a tiny fraction of these have star dials. A few of these stelline 6062s have come up at auction over the last half-decade or so and they always attract plenty of buyers. But what makes the Dark Star special has nothing to do with how it left the Rolex factory nearly 70 years ago.
The name Dark Star comes from the heavy patina that covers the bezel and both the top and sides of the case. It has a dark, purple appearance that shows shades of blue, green, and orange, depending on how the light hits it. The overall effect is that of a dark opal or mother-of-pearl. This patina has formed due to the surface of the yellow gold oxadizing, and it could easily be polished or cleaned away – that it remains so dark and thorough is seen as a sign that …read more