Watch Reviews

A Rolex-Made World-Timer? Some of Louis Cottier’s Finest And Least-Known Work

by on Oct.24, 2010, under Review

We’ve expressed our love for vintage World-Timers before here on Hodinkee – the idea of international travel prior to the development of readily available commercial airplanes just inspires thoughts of Porfirio Rubirosa piloting he and his woman du jour from Argentina to the South of France for a polo match, a party, or a weekend in Paris at the Plaza Athénée.  

The man who invented the world-time system that most watches of the 1940s used was named Louis Cottier, and it was Cottier’s work that you saw inside those legendary Patek world-timers, Vacheron world-timers, and the Aggasiz world-timers that were given to the leaders of the allied forces. 

It is not commonly known, though, that Cottier did work for Rolex.  I mean, really, have you EVER seen a Rolex world-timer? Sure, we know they invented the GMT watch, but an honest-to-pete 24-hour scaled world-timer? Exactly.

Well Rolex did make a few, and it was Cottier who did it for them.  The watch you see here is a 1945 Rolex Reference 4262 world-timer pocket watch in pink gold.  The watch is keyless, meaning it is wound by the crown, and features a 24-hour scale with 32 city names on the dial.  It is one of an exceedingly low number of Rolex world-timers to ever come up for sale, and this particular example is in like-new condition and even comes with that awesome green Rolex sleeve. 

If you’re a serious Rolex fan, or a serious world-time fan, this is, without debate, a must-have.  This Rolex world-time pocketwatch reference 4262 is coming up for sales in Christies’ Geneva sale on November 15th.  Estimates are $25,000-$35,000.  Click here for more details.


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