There’s not a diamond on its stainless steel bezel, not a gem can be found on its face, it boasts a leather strap, and is as old as the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. It is the only split-second chronograph timepiece ever manufactured by Rolex and one of twelve ever distributed made its way onto the auction block at Christie’s in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday.
Fabricated in 1942, it took 69 years for this rare example in movement to set a world record for the most expensive Rolex ever to be sold at auction. Justluxe.com reported that when the gavel hit the sound block the price it solidified was $1.16 million, making this the first Rolex to surpass the million-dollar mark.
Although twelve were officially released, only eight of those watches are known to have survived. According to Christie’s research, the unusual chronographs were produced exclusively as gifts to well-known European race-car drivers in the early 1940s who used the movement to clock their speeds and lap times in cars such as the Ferrari 166S Spyder.
Since the 1930s Rolex has been closely associated with motorsports and still today it perseveres with the iconic Daytona made famous by Paul Newman. The timeless brand was a even proud sponsor of Sir Malcolm Campbell back in 1935 as he set his own record becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles-per-hour–and all while wearing a Rolex on his wrist.