An extremely rare, important and early stainless steel diver's wristwatch with black glossy "Explorer" dial

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1954
    Reference No: 6200
    Case No: 32'248
    Model Name: Submariner ‘Big Crown’
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A296, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Oyster bracelet (later) reference 9314 with extension, endlinks stamped 380, max length 230mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel fliplock deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: Reference 6200 is featured in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, by John Goldberger, pp. 198-199

  • Catalogue Essay

    The discovery of a fresh to the market Rolex Submariner reference 6200 from the family of the original owner is always a treat.

    Introduced at the 1954 Basel Fair, the Submariner was released in three different references. The references 6204 and 6205 were water resistant to a depth of 100 meters and the more robust reference 6200, like the present model, was designed for professional divers, offering water resistance to a depth of 200 meters. These models are nicknamed the “Big Crown”, due to their oversized, 8-millimeter “Brevet” crowns that enabled the model’s cutting edge water resistance.

    The reference 6200 ticks all the boxes for the passionate collector, a large 37mm case and the highly desirable “Explorer” 3-6-9 dial devoid of depth rating and Submariner signature found in later models. The reference 6200, along with the 6205, were the first models to use the now well-known “Mercedes” style hands.

    Production numbers were extremely limited and their serial numbers range from 31.9xx to around 32.2xx.

    The present watch was originally bought by a Scandinavian sailor, captain on different vessels including in the Suez Canal right in the midst of the crisis in 1956. After his passing away the watch laid in a drawer for close to two decades where it was recently rediscovered and is now making its auction debut.

    The condition of the watch is surprising, the original owner, according to the family, was a dandy and an esthete who took care of his watch even though it was worn on a daily basis. As a result the case retains its strong proportions, with factory original bevels and crisp lines. The gilt glossy dial contrasts strongly with large Arabic numerals that have turned a superb cream color, further underlining the sporty appeal of the watch.

    The watch was serviced once where the bezel was swapped with the one it is currently mounted on and the bracelet changed.

    The iconic reference 6200 is one of the most desirable and collectible of all vintage sport watches and finding one fresh to the market and from family of the original owner make the present model a trophy not to be missed.

    Please note that a period and reference correct bezel (pictured here) is available for purchase by the winning bidder but is not part of this lot.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

    View More Works

220

Rolex

Ref. 6200
An extremely rare, important and early stainless steel diver's wristwatch with black glossy "Explorer" dial

Circa 1954
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF300,000 - 600,000 
€267,000-534,000
$302,000-604,000

Place Advance Bid

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019