4315 Rolex King Midas in White Gold

There is a very particular quality to all Genta’s work, despite the widely varying portfolio, which science has described. There are several well-replicated studies in psychology which demonstrate that the more frequently we see a face, the more attractively we tend to rate it. The theory is that the more quickly and fluently we process beauty, the stronger its perceived effect. Speaking plaining, the King Midas was challenging when it came out in 1962, then Rolex’s most luxurious and expensive offering ever, and has remain so since. It’s easily the most whimsical 60s Rolex design and it has no modern equivalent. It appears a bizarre choice with once glance, but some have found it does indeed turn to gold with a few.

The King Midas was penned by Genta and made to look like the Parthenon laying down on its flat side, with a crown made in image of the sun at 9, aptly named for the Greek mythological figure for whom everything touched turned to gold. Notable fans of the King Midas include Elvis, Scaramanga in Bond’s Man with the Golden Gun, and, yes, Rihanna. The King Midas was designed with royalty and stars in mind. It sold poorly in period, mostly to wealthy clients in the Middle East and South America. We only know this because that’s where they tend to pop up for sale from in greatest numbers today and indeed this one comes from Dubai. But today it’s coming back, particularly in the more subtle white gold.

The Kind Midas started in numbered series, across three references, the ref. 9630 up to number 800, then second 3580, and this third 4315. This third series is not as collected as the first two, but noticeably lighter. This ref. 4315 was released at a time when gold prices were rising steeply. Rolex responded by making the bracelet a full mm thinner, which makes a real difference. White gold has always been the most desirable, making up an unknown but small fraction of overall production, and usually trades at a 10-15K USD premium. Values have risen from under 30K in early 2010s to mid 40s today, though you can still occasionally find a deal. It’s a bit challenging, a bit unloved, but is the only watch which can double as a cruise ship anchor, even the third series.

This example presents in excellent overall condition. The case in particular shows not many signs of being polished if ever, with a clean and crisp King Midas engraving flanking the crown. The Cellini dial is correct and clean of dust or spotting, a slight bit of patina in the bottom left. It comes from a well-regarded Dubai retailer, watch only.