Monaco is slowly becoming a new Mecca for vintage watch auctions. Several auction houses appear to be competing against each other.
Accademia Fine Arts, a Monégasque auction house specialized in art gave their debut in vintage watches last night. Among other things, they also offered a number of vintage Rolex Daytonas. One particular Daytona attracted my attention from the very beginning. The watch in question is a Rolex Daytona 6240 with Solo dial.
The auction house used pictures of another Solo to present the watch in their catalogues on and offline. This alone was strange to say the least but after careful examination, the actual watch turned out to be completely fake. The auction house was informed prior to the auction and agreed to withdraw the watch. For some reason, however, the proven counterfeit remained listed and was auctioned for EUR 78,000.
Solo Daytonas are definitely my thing ever since I uncovered how a regular Daytona had been transformed into a “Solo” in order to fetch more double the price at auction. This episode made Perezcope world famous overnight.
Read more: A kerfuffle involving Phillips, Perezcope and a Rolex Daytona “Solo”
Accademia Fine Art
LOT 21: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6240 “SOLO”
Reference: Rolex Daytona 6240
Dial: Solo (Rolex only)
Case number: 1439087
Estimate: EUR 70,000 – 90,000
Price realized: EUR 78,000
I became aware of this watch after a friend published a picture on his Instagram account. As many of my readers know, I created the largest independent vintage Daytona database in the world with thousands of well documented chronographs. It has become a habit to register every Daytona I come across.
I visited Accademia Fine Art’s website and found several other vintage Daytonas. Interestingly, all watch lots had their case numbers disclosed, except for the watch in question.
Direct link: LOT 21: Rolex Daytona Ref. 6240 “SOLO”, case number 1439087
Since my friend seemed to be in contact with the auction house, I asked him to try and obtain the case number. He asked the auction house and quickly came back to me with the information: 1439087.
A database search resulted in three entries for this particular case number. As a matter of fact, I had already flagged this case number as each time the watch was auctioned, it looked different… but more on this later.
Subsequently, I checked the other Solos documented in my database and to my total surprise, I came across the exact same picture belonging to a Solo with case number 1269520 that was auctioned by Antiquorum in May 2013 in Geneva.
For whatever reason, the auction house took a picture from the other Solo and replaced the bracelet in Photoshop.
The second catalogue picture was edited as well. What we see here is probably the actual case and bracelet with the superimposed dial and bezel of said 1269520. Weird, isn’t it?
Now, everybody would agree that this on its own is already extremely strange but please bear with me as it gets better and better.
As mentioned earlier, I found three entries for case number 1439087.
The first entry was from a Christie’s auction in Nov. 2006. The watch auctioned was a Rolex Daytona Ref. 6240 with case number 1439087. The dial was a double signed Sigma dial (white gold hour markers) with Cartier print above the subdial at 6 o’clock. It is unknown whether the Cartier print was original or not. Fact is, Sigma dials were introduced much later, ergo the dial was not original to this watch.
Direct link: LOT 2180 ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
This watch fetched around USD 30k, a small amount for a double-signed Daytona.
* There is no factual evidence that this was indeed case number 1439087. The case number between the lugs was not shown.
1439087 was auctioned again in Nov. 2008. This time by Antiquorum and interestingly, the watch featured a Paul Newman dial now and different screw-down pushers.
Note that this type of two-colour Paul Newman Oyster dial was only introduced with ref. 6263. It certainly does not belong into a 6240. In addition, the numbers in the subdials have no serifes. There seems to be no step for the minute track either.
* There is no factual evidence that this was indeed case number 1439087. The case number between the lugs was not shown.
In 2018, I found 1439087 on the website of a private dealer. It appears the watch was sold in 2007. The watch featured a small floating Daytona dial and mk2 screw-down pushers. The picture below shows the guarantee card for case number 1439087.
On his website, the dealer provided a picture of the actual case number engraved between the lugs.
A comparison with other watches from the same 6240 batch shows that the engravings of 1439087 are absolutely consistent in style and typeface, ergo original.
We asked Accademia Fine Art to provide a picture of the actual case number between the lugs to see if it was the same watch. This is the picture they sent.
Let’s compare this with the picture from the private seller. The case number engravings of Lot 21 offered by Accademia Fine Art (bottom) are considerably different in style and typeface. This case is without a doubt a counterfeit.
The auction house sent further pictures of the movement and the Solo dial. The following picture shows the movement of Lot 21.
Daytona chronographs in this case number range have either 72B or 722 calibers that are based on the Valjoux 72. There was an overlap for a short period of time before the 72B was discontinued. The present movement is marked 72B. Several details are inconsistent with late 72B calibers and point to a converted movement based on an older Valjoux 72 used by another brand.
The first and most obvious giveaway is the so-called coupling clutch bridge (1) with a visible screw. None of the original 72B movements have this screw. The visible screw was only used in older movements pre mid 1960s.
The regulating device is missing the cut (2) and the overall shape of this part is imprecise, like home-made. The B in 72B has a wrong shape (3). The train gear bridge has a wrong shape as well. The original bridge features a slight kink (4) due to the manufacturing proscess. Perfectly rounded bridges were only introduced with caliber 722. The train gear bridge on the movement in question is most certainly a fake part made in Vietnam. The Y-shaped chronograph bridge (5) lacks precision and is most certainly another conversion part from Vietnam. The bevelling (anglage) on this part is hideous.
The other dead giveaway is the prehistoric operating lever (7). This is just another pre mid 1960s part. Modern operating levers were made from one piece whereas the present part features a pin.
Another thing I noticed is the wrong shape of the balance cock. It looks more like a later 727 bridge but is most certainly a fake part made in Vietnam.
The following picture shows a pre mid 1960s Valjoux 72 made for Girard-Perregaux. The coupling clutch bridge features the mentioned screw and the operating lever has a pin just like the movement in question.
While examining the movement of Lot 21, I recalled an Instagram message from a guy in Sofia, Bulgaria back in Feb. 2019. The guy was offered a vintage Daytona Ref. 6240 with case number 1432664 with German provenance and he had doubts about the watch. The pictures he sent me revealed fairly quickly the watch was completely fake, except for the dial.
The picture below shows the movement of that watch. It is also a conversion based on an older Valjoux 72. Check out the crown of this watch. It is monobloc, made from one piece of steel. Original crowns had a steel core encased in a stainless steel jacket. The Millerighe screw-down pushers (mk0) are fake too.
See the screw for the coupling clutch bridge and the pin in the operating lever?
A comparison between this movement and the caliber found in Accademia Fine Art’s Lot 21 shows it is one and the same movement. Some screws have different positions, the hairspring guard was removed but a number of stains and marks match perfectly and leave no doubt. It is one and the same movement.
Accademia Fine Art sent also a few pictures showing the actual dial.
A comparison with the “Solo” dial from 1269520, the actual watch Accademia Fine Art published in their catalogue, shows a number of inconsistencies.
The Rolex logo is different, especially the R has a wrong shape. Overall, the serifes are too short. The numbers in the subdials are very thin and have no serifes at all. In addition, the number 2 has a wrong shape.
Here’s what we have so far. A fake case, a converted movement and a fake dial. It can be assumed that all the rest is fake too.
This is one of the strangest cases I ever stumbled upon. Why did the auction house not disclose the case number? Why did they publish pictures of a different watch? Were they aware something was wrong with the watch? So many questions, so few answers.
Fact is, Accademia Fine Arts auctioned this watch in spite of all the evidence presented. That’s right. We sent them all findings listed in this article a few days prior to the auction. Here’s what their “expert” said:
Nous vous remercions vivement de votre important émail. Nous venons d’analyser avec attention les numéros et il apparait très clairement que le numéro de série de l’autre montre est une contrefaçon. Il suffit de bien regarder la manière dont le numéro est exécuté au ciselage pour s’apercevoir facilement que celui en comparaison n”est pas incisé avec précision et tremblant. Particulièrement les chiffres 9, 0 et 8. Nous retenons notre numéro de série comme celui original mais il serait bien d’aller plus au fond de la question et d’avoir si possible plus d’information sur l’autre montre.
Translation: We thank you very much for your important email. We have carefully analyzed the numbers and it appears very clearly that the serial number of the other watch is a counterfeit. You just have to look at the way the numbers are engraved to easily see that in comparison it is imprecise and shaky. Especially the numbers 9, 0 and 8. We believe our serial number to be original but it would be good to go deeper into the question and if possible have more information about the other watch.
One day before the auction, my friend was informed by Accademia Fine Arts that the watch was withdrawn. I checked their website and also invaluable.com but the watch was still listed.
It turns out the watch was auctioned nonetheless and fetched EUR 78,000. Apparently, some “experts” certified the watch and the auction house decided to go on with the sale.
Direct link: Lot21 – Montres d’Exception et Bijoux by Accademia Fine Arts (Invaluable.com)
Thank you for your interest. Please follow me on Instagram: Perezcope
More articles about vintage Rolex Daytonas:
- Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman – Two addtitional variations found
- Caution! More fake and made-up stuff from Antiquorum
- Fake Rolex Daytona 6263 YG, 3300740
- Vintage Rolex Daytonas from hell at Antiquorum
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Wow. I’ve read investigation stories about individuals selling fake Rolex watches, or about seemingly legitimate brands using components from Chinese counterfeit product manufacturers, but here we have a real auction house presumably photoshopping pics of auctioned items.
Impressive work as usual!
might as well buy a known fake that is well made and save over 70,000 dollars on a better class of fake that is still a fake. SHAME on the auction houses
Impressive research article. Thanks for sharing, it’s a pleasure to read it.