Serpico Y Laino Dial 6605 Rolex Datejust ‘Ovettone’, Pink Gold

Before Paul Newmans got everyone hot and bothered and way before anyone cared about the Nautilus, early Ovettone Datejust were what collectors thought should be all the rage. When there was no social media and you weren’t yet qualified to operate a motor vehicle, this was original hype watch at auction. And, honestly, I think they might’ve been right. It’s a ref. 6605, one of the last Ovettone cases. But, as you might’ve come to expect here, not just any. It’s in pink gold. It’s on the original straight end rivet Oyster bracelet, matching metal. And as if that weren’t enough, its dial is signed by Serpcio Y Laino of Caracas, Venezuela.

The Italians named this Datejust case style first, as most watches. ‘Ovettone’ means ‘little egg’, so named for its slightly rounded caseback, which was made just after the introduction of an automatic rotor in order to let it oscillate freely. This style of design lasted from the 40s until the 60s, roughly speaking, or really the middle of the mid-century. This example dates to 1957 and is one of the final references to be considered an Ovettone. But what’s really strange is that in the wake of hype elsewhere, almost everyone forgot about early Ovettone Datejust and OP. They’re the roots of the Rolex professional line. As significance in wristwatches goes, that’s pretty hard to overstate. That’d be like getting into metal and forgetting about Deep Purple: sacrilege.

You’ll find 6605 values all over the map, it really all depends on metal, type of dial, and, you guessed it, condition. Honeycomb, red depth writing, and indeed retailer signatures all take precedence. This example, with its direct thread on the dial linking you to South America, hits maximal marks across the board. Probably due to the heat of South America, this dial has aged from white to eggshell. You’ll see a similar but more dramatic shift on the dial of a 565 recently acquired from South America by friend of Hairspring @aircooltime. Something about the climate down there makes watches more beautiful. Vintage often brings a certain charm, this particular one carries buckets of the stuff. It’s the hype watch before hype watches existed, and, like most things in the past, infinitely more tasteful.

The example bears a quite full case with even, well-defined lugs. The bezel is still extremely sharp as well. Its dial has a light spotting and deep even patina, as we often see in extreme heat. That’s just lovely. One tiny deeper spot around 9. The radium has largely burned through, without much remaining. That said all print is very clear and crisp. Bracelet looks to be fabulous. It comes from a well-regarded Milan retailer.