SUNDAY READING: ROLEX CHRONOGRAPH THE LEGEND

Weighing 9 pounds, with 450 pages and 1200 images, the Rolex Chronograph book written by Paolo Gobbi and published in 2004 by Guido Mondani Editore makes for a seriously large paperweight. Then again you could use it as a door-stop, shield, or for kindle in the winter months, alas, the one thing you can’t use it for is as a reference guide.

Some of the watches presented are beautiful examples, but because these are intertwined with more known forgeries than any other book I have seen, you never know fact from fiction. The book is in Italian so I am not sure if the author is aware of this but it was the last book I purchased from famed publisher Mondani Editore. 

 The problem with printing known fake dials in books is these are then used by unsavory dealers to demonstrate the dial is genuine, claiming if it wasn't genuine it wouldn't be in the book! 

The problem with printing known fake dials in books is these are then used by unsavory dealers to demonstrate the dial is genuine, claiming if it wasn't genuine it wouldn't be in the book! 

The above red dial Rolex Daytona 'Paul Newman', despite numerous efforts by some to prove is genuine, simply isn’t. The best and most likely answer to their production was told to me by an old timer in the industry who is not a Rolex collector; his version was an American working in Geneva during the 80s/90s befriended an employee of Singer dials (the company that originally made the Daytona dials) and got him to make modern reproductions of the 60's/70’s dials in his spare time using the original machines. The more he made that were passed off as genuine, the cockier they became until the ‘Ferrari Red Paul Newman’ as seen above was born. The first version of this dial to appear at auction, in 2005 from memory, was believed by some to be genuine and made a new world record for a Daytona (at the time) achieving approximately US$500,000. Only the buyer, a famous Rolex collector, insisted the dial be verified genuine by Rolex. The dial was classified a forgery and partially destroyed by Rolex (they scratched off their name and text) before being returned. 

  A lot of people have lost a lost of money buying fake Paul Newman dials, although some took legal action and did get their money back. The above fake dial is famously known as the "John Mayer" dial.

A lot of people have lost a lost of money buying fake Paul Newman dials, although some took legal action and did get their money back. The above fake dial is famously known as the "John Mayer" dial.

Above is another known fake Daytona Paul Newman dial. The original and highly valuable late 1960's version was printed 'Rolex Cosmograph Oyster' on the dial of Ref. 6240, this was changed to 'Rolex Oyster Cosmograph' in later years on the (regular dialed) Ref. 6263/6265. When the reproduction Paul Newman dials were made they mistakenly used the more recent format making them easy to spot.

The problem is, with so many rare and unusual dials glamorously illustrated, you never know which are genuine.

Above is what appears to be a good example of a gold Ref.6238 chronograph with underline dial, then again......

In short, with a 400 Euro retail price, or even if it was 40 Euro, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you want to simply use it as a paperweight