A not very attractive Rolex just set a new world record at auction in Geneva; an incredibly beautiful one is about to break it. The Rolex reference 4113, an ultra-rare, stainless steel chronograph dating to 1942, is expected to fetch up to a million Swiss francs—or about $1.2 million—at Christie’s upcoming Important Watches sale, making it it the most expensive Rolex ever sold by far.
Why’s it so special? Only 12 examples were ever produced, for one thing, and only eight are known to have survived. Adding to the exclusivity, the watches were never available on the open market, and were produced as gifts to top British and Italian race car drivers of the era, who actually needed the Rolex’s chrono functions to keep track of their lap times. The auction is scheduled for May 16th, which ought to give you plenty to time to get your funds together. And while we’re quite certain the watch is authentic, before you lay down a cool million you may want to spend a minute or two perusing our guide to spotting a Faux-Lex.
Not quite prepared to shell out seven figures for a watch? Keep an eye out for our Gilt MAN Finds sales, which regularly feature Rolexes, Pateks, IWCs and more, curated by Ben Clymer of Hodinkee.com, and available for well under a million.