This past weekend, all eyes were on the Daytona Ultimatum sale in Geneva as “The Unicorn” of the Rolex watch world was auctioned for $5.9 million-double the starting bid of $3 million.

The Phillips ‘Daytona Ultimatum’ held on May 12th showcased 32 of the rarest and most sought-after Daytonas ever made by Rolex, with several selling upwards of $1 million.

The Unicorn is officially the second most expensive wristwatch to ever be auctioned, with the reigning title still held by the infamous Paul Newman Daytona that sold for a whopping $17.8 million last October.

Why ‘The Unicorn”?

One, done and never to be produced ever again.

The one and only manually wound, vintage Rolex Daytona produced in white gold, dubbed ‘The Unicorn” somehow flew under the radar until it was picked up by world class watch collector, John Goldberg about 10 years ago.

Literally no one in the market was aware the watch ever existed.

In 1970 an influential client of a major Germain retailer convinced Rolex to stray from its traditional stainless steel and yellow gold Daytona models for this single white gold version.  At the time of production, it was “very likely the rarest, most luxurious and special Cosmograph offered by Rolex,” Phillips said.

The watch was sold to its mysteriously wealthy original owner in 1971, and we can’t imagine how Goldberg must have felt when he unearthed such a buried treasure!


The Watch

Sports watches like the Daytona just aren’t produced in white gold due to the wear and tear they endure during daily use.  (Unless of course you know somebody that knows somebody.) The typical stainless steel is a much more forgiving metal.

Related: What you should know about the Rolex Daytona

It may not be functional, but it’s a brilliantly made watch and obviously one of THE most highly coveted Rolex models ever made.

This remarkable piece exhibits a 37mm 18-carat white gold case and white gold bezel.

The watch also features a black “sigma” dial with white gold indexes, consistent with the case metal, but the winding crown is oddly enough made of stainless steel.

And lastly, the feature that really pulls “The Unicorn” together- the bark finished, white gold bracelet-isn’t actually original to the watch.  It was added by the previous owner in place of a leather strap, and hails from a white gold Ref. 1507 Oyster Date.


The Auction

Why on earth would an avid watch collector part ways with a one-of-a-kind, LEGENDARY time piece? Well, for the kids of course.

All proceeds from the sale were donated to the charity, Children Action-an organization committed to helping vulnerable and neglected children and their families throughout the UK.

Goldberg just wanted to help out those less fortunate  and we can’t argue with that!


If you are interested in purchasing a fine watch from Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers, give us a call or fill out our contact form and a representative will be with you shortly. Check out our Facebook page for box openings and watch reviews by our in-house watch expert Sergio Nuncio!

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