A fine and extremely rare automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, brown tropical "exclamation mark" dial, pointed crown guard and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1961
    Reference No: 5512
    Case No: 693'497
    Model Name: Submariner "Cornino Exclamation Mark Dial"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 220 mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex USA deployant clasp stamped 74
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex box, tags and additional crystal.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Submariner line is not only one of the best known in Rolex’s production, it also presents one of the most interesting evolutions - especially in its first years of production - which yielded some of the rarest and most collectible timepieces on the market. The present example is a very early version of reference 5512. Launched in 1959, the model was the first Submariner to feature crown guards, and it is distinguished by its chronometer-certified movement (the more common reference 5513 does not have that accolade).

    The present piece is particularly attractive as it reunites a multitude of unusual and sought-after traits, making it an extremely collectible piece.

    Undoubtedly, the dial is the attention catalyst. Its most obvious feature is the sublime tropicalization, offering a milk chocolate center surrounded by a darker halo for an irresistible final aesthetic effect. However, this dial reserves another surprise: the small radium dot at 6 o’clock unmistakably identifies this as an “exclamation mark” dial - the name coming from the ensemble dot and index, which resembles an exclamation mark. Such dials were in production only during a short period of time between 1961 and 1962 and are one of the first attempts to identify a lower radiation count compared to earlier dials. In fact, the harmful effect of radiation was at that time in the process of being identified and regulated. Exclamation mark dials still feature radium - tritium will come immediately after - but in much lower amount than earlier specimens.

    The case also boasts a particularly collectible trait: the pointed crown guards (or “Cornino” – literally “small horn” in Italian). The genesis of this detail is extremely interesting. The very first crown-guard cases featured large square crown guards. When clients complained about the bulkiness of this feature, Rolex filed away the square crown guard of the cases they had in stock, leaving only a small pointed guard. Thus, the “Cornino” was born. Successive cases will be produced with the flat crown guard which became the standard for the reference. Given its rarity, condition and overall attractiveness, the present wristwatch represents one of the most attractive examples of 6542 in gold to appear on the market.

  • 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.

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Rolex

Ref. 5512
A fine and extremely rare automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, brown tropical "exclamation mark" dial, pointed crown guard and bracelet

Circa 1961
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 30,000 
€17,600-26,400
$20,500-30,700

sold for CHF62,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018