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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1954
    Reference No: 6204
    Movement No: 89'401
    Case No: 988'893
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster, 180mm max. length,
    reference 7206, end links stamped 80

    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by a Rolex invoice and service guarantee dated 12-31-93, along with Rolex Service Booklet

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex launched the Submariner model in 1953, and over the last 63 years it has become one of the brands most iconic timepieces ever produced. This attractive and very rare reference 6204, dating from 1954, is the very first generation model featuring the Submariner’s earliest design case without crown guards.

    Its standout feature however is the lovely black glossy dial that causes the collector to stop and ponder what is known and unknown about the watch. This never-before-seen dial configuration features an underline beneath the Submariner signature, which is associated with later dials, in particular those from 1962 and 1963, and indicates the use of tritium and not radium for the luminous material. One possible suggestion for this anomaly is a factory service, during which Rolex exchanged the dial in 1963 to perhaps conform to new radiation guidelines prohibiting the use of radium. Another rare feature of this particular dial is the chapter ring, which is a typical feature of earlier wristwatches. This can certainly be considered a transitional at a time when Rolex was working to find the right design for their dials. The case back features several watchmaker marks, and it was common practice for dials and hands to be exchanged during a servicing. Furthermore, the later bracelet is stamped 3.63, which again indicates a servicing around 1963.

    This very attractive reference 6204, with its possibly unique dial, is in lovely overall condition and sheds new light on a period in Rolex’s history when many aspects of design were in transition.

  • Artist Biography

    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.

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Ref. 6204
An extremely rare and unusual stainless steel diver's wristwatch with black glossy "underline" dial and bracelet

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

Estimate
CHF40,000 - 60,000 
€37,100-55,600
$39,600-59,500

Sold for CHF50,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017