Rolex 6034 “Pre-Daytona”

Rolex 6034

Rolex 6034 Pre-Daytona Introduction
The Rolex 6034 was introduced in 1950, and is affectionately known as a “Pre-Daytona” (6239) Rolex. Clearly from an earlier age, the 6034, as well as the 6234 and 6238 with which it shares the “Pre-Daytona” designation, features printing more typical of 1950’s design, lacks a numerical bezel, and has 3-6-9 long marks on the minute counter used for timing international phone calls at 3-minute increments as were charged. The “Pre-Daytonas” all have multi-scale dials, both tachymeter and telemeter.

The manually-wound (Valjoux 72) Rolex 6034 features a screw-down Oyster case and crown.[1] Within the Rolex 6034 family, most well-known is the steel 6034 with white or silver dials, and blue and red (sometimes black) scales to differentiate timing. Less common are 6034 yellow gold and (very rare) pink gold cases, estimated at under 110 pieces manufactured.[2] Regardless of case material, the least common dial is black, which is the focus of this research, shown below.

Rolex 6034 “Pre-Daytona” (Christie’s)
As with the rest of the 6034s, the steel Rolex 6034 with black dial was produced between 1950 and 1953, based on production tables. Some auction houses reference 1954 as a production date, but without having seen Rolex sales or marketing material from 1954, I’ll leave the end date as 1953.

To place the Rolex 6034 within Rolex Oyster chronograph family history:

Rolex launched the first Oyster chronograph, reference 3481, which featured a screw-back case and crown in 1939 (only 29mm), as well as its larger successor, reference 3668 (35mm; featuring a distinctive reeded pink or yellow gold bezel with rectangular and circular hour markers), which is believed to have produced approximately 30 examples.[3,4] Even more rare was the subsequent 6232 (1940(?)), with an estimated series of just 12 pieces[5]). The two-piece Rolex 4500 was introduced in 1945.[6] These references had only minute counter for timing, lacking a 12-hour register.

The first three button chronograph with 12-hour register Rolex to use an Oyster case was the 5034, introduced in 1949. The 5034 featured a multi-scale dial, with both a tachymeter and telemeter scales overlapping the registers, just as would be seen on the 6034 in the following year.

[1] Rolex
[2] Le Monde Edmond, Past Auction Killer A gold Rolex 6034, 18 June 2019

[4] Phillips
[5] Christie’s
[6] Christie’s

Rolex 6034 Pre-Daytona Case Number Project

Below is an aggregation all of the steel black dial Rolex 6034 pieces found, about a dozen. If you know of others others, please contact me with a link and/or images and serial number if available.

Each row in the table below is specific to a transaction or known piece. I am including all sales and offers, and given there are so few pieces, am showing where also seen but not for sale. As a result, this table includes multiple rows with the same piece.

The range seen, 847235 – 907609 (with an outlier at 692583) is extremely limited due to few of these pieces seen.

I have removed one black dial 6034, due to the refinished dial (there is no information on what the dial looked like previously).

Description of pieces are generally based upon public images/video. For some detail, I do not have images and have to rely on text descriptions from the individual posting the timepiece. Some elements are often difficult to determine from pictures, including color of hands, for example if the register hands are black or blue. If I have a 50-50 guess, I leave the detail as “unknown.”

As with the rest of this Website, the following table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions

The above table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions

Rolex 6034 Pre-Daytona Dial

Again, the below applies only to the black dial Rolex 6034. There is enough variety of dials in this section that it raises questions as to which of these dials are original and which are refinished. Proceed with caution with outliers.

I am dividing the black dial Rolex 6023 into two different sets, based on one of the first features that distinguish the pieces: what appears as the hour marker for 12 o’clock.

Applied Coronet (Christie’s) and Arabic 12 (Christie’s) Dials

Applied coronet dials
These dials have an applied coronet as the 12 o’clock marker. Looking between examples we can see slight differences in the coronet, most easily seen when comparing the hole in the coronet and also the width of the points of the coronet. Most all are silver, with one example in gold.

On one of the thicker coronet dials, 692583, we see main hands, chronograph second hand, and lume that is not consistent with other applied coronet dials. That case number is also outside the expected range for a black dial 6034.

Arabic 12 dials
The pieces with the Arabic 12 only have the number 12 as hour mark, the rest of the hour marks are pyramid (see below, ‘Index marks’ section). These dials also have a coronet, appearing in negative relief, positioned between the Arabic 12 and above the ROLEX text.

Depending on which dial design, there will be differences in text, scales, index marks, lume and hands between ‘Applied coronet’ and ‘Arabic 12’ pieces. Generally speaking, the ‘Applied coronet’ pieces have earlier case numbers than the ‘Arabic 12’.

All pieces have text centered at 12 o’clock:

and with text at 6 o’clock, either:
This text may be curved around the hour register, or straight.

For the pieces with applied coronet at 12, I have not been able to determine any pattern for case numbers to determine when the 6 o’clock text is straight versus curved. If it is straight, however, we see ANTI-MAGNETIC in all cases. And if the text is curved around the hour register, it is ANTIMAGNETIC (one exception, below).

There is a single piece, 847268, that features an underline below ANTI-MAGNETIC on the dial. I cannot say whether the underline is original to the dial.

Applied Coronet Text: Curved (Christie’s), Straight (Christie’s), Straight with Underline (Christie’s)

Two exceptions:
a. 692583, which does not have any text at 6 o’clock. I will point out that this case number is a significant outlier of those seen in the database (the next higher number being in the 847xxx range). Additionally, the applied crown at 12 and fonts are different than all others (for font, take the example of this with an open 6 in the second register, with all others closed)

b. The only piece with different spelling, ANTIMAGNETIQUE. This text is curved around the hour register.

Exceptions: No 6 o’clock Text (Christie’s) and ‘ANTIMAGNETIQUE’ (Robert Maron)

For Arabic 12 pieces, the text will always be ANTI-MAGNETIC and curved around the hour register.

Arabic 12 Text (Christie’s)

All pieces should have “SWISS” at the edge of the dial at 6 o’clock. I have additional comment in the “Luminous plots” section, below, on the use of “T”.

The Rolex 6034 features both tachymeter and telemeter scales, and was available in both mile and km dials.

When the telemeter scale is shown in km, the tachymeter scale will not provide km as unit of measure. When the telemeter scale is shown in miles, the tachymeter scale may or may not provide mile as unit of measure (of course, there is no reason a telemeter scale should have a unit of distance). Curiously, we see tachymeter scales with mile base both with low and high case numbers within the range of those seen.

Further, for applied coronet pieces, we see scale text listed as “BASE 1 MILE” or “BASE 1000” (either before or after 12 o’clock). When the “BASE 1000” text appears prior to 12 o’clock, the scale starts at 1000. In all other cases it starts at 300.

Applied Coronet Scales: Base 1 Mile (Christie’s), Base 1000 to the L (Christie’s) and R (Christie’s) of 12 o’clock

For Arabic 12 pieces, the telemeter scale is always miles, and there is no unit of measure on the tachymeter scale. All Arabic 12 tachymeter scales start at 1000.

Arabic 12 Scale (Koller)

All pieces have registers that overlap the telemeter track, but do not overlap the tachymeter track.

Rolex 6034 all have 30 minute and 12 hour counters.

Index marks
The index marks on the applied coronet dials are all dagger style, with the daggers slightly cropped at the edge of the register for hours 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10. There are no daggers at 3, 6 or 9. The piece with the applied gold coronet has consistent gold dagger marks.

For all Arabic 12 pieces, the index marks are gold and pyramid style, appearing at all hours except 3, 6 and 9.

Luminous plots
For applied coronet dials, we see luminous hour plots between the daggers and telemeter track. Dials are marked as “SWISS” as previously noted, with exceptions below:

We see three “T SWISS T” applied coronet examples, which strikes me as unusual given the period of production of the black dial 6034 (approximately 1950 – 1953). Additionally, each of the dials differs from the others.

Applied Coronet SWISS Text: Grey Ts on Tachymeter (Christie’s), Luminous (Parmegiani), Non-Luminous (Robert Maron)

The first piece, 847235, has T’s that were added later, and appear just inside/on the tachymeter track.

The second, serial unknown, has “T SWISS T” at the outer edge of the dial at 6 o’clock.

The last piece, serial unknown, with “T” markings also has “T SWISS T” at 6 o’clock, but unusually has no luminous plots. This is also the only known dial that has the “ANTIMAGNETIQUE” spelling.

Arabic 12 dials were produced with and without luminous plots between the pyramid markers at 12 and the telemeter track. These all have “SWISS” text only (not “T SWISS T”).

Arabic 12 SWISS Text (Koller)

Rolex 6034 Pre-Daytona Hands

As with the dial, we see distinct sets of hands that were used, again categorizing based upon the applied coronet or Arabic 12.

Applied coronet dials
Hands are silver on all applied coronet dials, with the single exception mentioned in the Dial section. I believe in all cases the hour and minute should be alpha hands.

The hour hand should end approximately at the 10 o’clock dagger mark. The minute hand should end at the tachymeter track. The chronograph hand is stick in shape, with a somewhat fatter “tail” with a flat end. And though we see other hands, I always question the originality when inconsistent with all other examples.

The register hands are stick design. Although the running seconds hand is slightly thinner than the minute and hour counter hands on some pieces, I tend to believe that all three hands should match in appearance.

Applied Coronet Dial Hands (Christie’s)

Arabic 12 dials
We see the Arabic 12 dials with three different handsets (incredibly difficult to say what is correct when there are just one or two examples of each design). All hands are gold in both sets.
a. Sword hour and minute hands, non-luminous. Stick chronograph hand with leaf. Leaf register hands .
a. Pencil hour and minute hands, non-luminous. Stick chronograph hand with leaf. Stick register hands with the running seconds hand appearing slightly thinner than the others.
b. Luminous leaf hour and minute hands. Stick chronograph hand with leaf. Leaf register hands.

Arabic 12 Dial Hands (Christie’s, Matthew Bain, Koller)

Rolex 6034 Pre-Daytona Movement

I’m still trying to research the details, but I believe the Rolex 6034 utilized both the Valjoux 72A and 72B. Unfortunately, lacking any movement images of the black dial Rolex 6034 (as always, please let me know if you know of any), I can only go by what is included in transaction text for these pieces, which is either Valjoux 72, 72A or 72B (the Valjoux 72 includes a 12 hour counter). We can at least visualize the distinctive U-shaped bridge and 9 pillar column wheel and pusher at 2:00 slightly closer to the crown than the pusher at 4:00.

I have read of the key differences between the 72A and 72B [1]:
– 72A used a regulator, whereas the 72B incorporated Microstella adjustable-inertia balance wheel (a pair of screws located on on the rim enabled the frequency to be adjusted).
– 72A flat hairspring was replaced by a Breguet overcoil hairspring [I am not certain this was the case]

However, one movement seen appears to have both a regulator and Breguet overcoil, with:
– Stamped 72 with Valjoux logo
– ROW on the balance cock
– On the bridge:
– On the cock:

[1] Rolex Daytona Movements By Pucci Papaleo, 1 November 2013