Today, Anna dives into the Gevril Tribeca, a “ripoff” of the Rolex Daytona 6263, but before it became known as the “Paul Newman.” This watch, featuring a beautiful dial, strong construction, and in absolutely superb condition, represents crazy value, technical beauty, and a strong and powerful narrative. Enjoy this episode and check out the watch here!
It’s a watch by no-name manufacture with an unmistakable design stolen from one of the most famous Rolexes of all time – the Paul Newman Daytona reference 6263. Normally, this would be a bad watch, a watch that you and I both would hate. But, unfortunately, it’s not so easy.
In 1999, The Tribeca was introduced and produced in 3 variations – all together reaching a 500 unit collection. Yes, they were ripoffs, there’s no doubt. But they were good – shockingly good.
Unlike the Chinatown knockoff skeptics accuse it to be, their dials are not only clean, perfectly printed, but they have texture, they’re detailed and gradient. Their oyster bracelets are comfortable and shockingly hearty. Next to a 90’s Oyster by Rolex, condition would be the only variable separating the two. Powered by the eta 2824 with a Dubois & Depraz 2020 chronograph module,they’re robust, reliable (plus/minus a second.day) and extremely smooth to activate.
To make their their dedication to the original design clear, vintage super dealer Eric Ku gave the world the inside scoop that both the bezel and pushers from the Tribeca were actually interchangeable with he real deal 6263. And if all of that wasn’t enough, the example we managed to land is brilliant in condition and it comes complete with its original inner and outer boxes.
Okay, so it’s a good watch. We’ve established that. But it’s still a ripoff of the most famous Rolex, like, ever. Right?
Well, yes. But no. If it was produced today, it wouldn’t even be debatable – Gevril would riding the coattails of the most expensive chrono out there. But they were manufactured in 99, back when the Paul Newman was, not really the Paul Newman. At the time, the market demand was low, press was bleak and prices largely below 20k. Actually, it wasn’t until 03 that the prices at Christies skyrocketed into the 30 and then unto the 60’s years later. So yes, Gevril copied the Paul Newman but really, they just went on record in saying that Paul Newman was a watch worth copying before anyone really cared.
As I mentioned, three Tribecas were produced. this example modeled after the black 6263, of which It is estimated that less than 20 are known, and when they come up for sale, they do really, really well. Like, lot 23 of the 2013 Christies sale in Geneva. That famous black 6263 that brought in 1.1 million.
Although manufactured 18 years ago, it wasn’t really until about 2 years go that the Tribeca got some much deserved attention. That’s when, Via instagram, John Mayer let hundreds of thousands of geeks know that 1) these exist and 2) they’re okay to wear. That there’s more than meets the eye and every now and then, we need to remind ourselves to have some fun, to not take ourselves so seriously. He might not have invented the watch but without him, this Gevril would still be taboo.
I judge watches on their Originality, aesthetic appeal, quality of construction and, for bonus points, narrative. While the Gevril Tribeca, like all homages, may flunk on originality – the rest – the workhorse movement, near identical oyster case, beautifully made dial, solid Oyster and claim to the Paul Newman before it was the PAUL NEWMAN, makes it worth our time.