Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1962
    Reference No: 5512
    Movement No: 45'577
    Case No: 818'895
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet stamped "7206" and "80" to the endlinks, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "4 64"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Though the first Rolex Submariners were produced in 1953, and released after their debut at Basel in 1954 with the references 6200, 6204, and 6205 (differences in movements used and water resistance differentiated each), the 5512 was the first Submariner reference to feature the now-ubiquitous crown guards. Developed as a tool watch, the Submariner was marketed to commercial and recreational divers. The addition of the crown guards made the watch more robust, protecting the watch crown from unintentional damage.

    Like many intricacies of collecting vintage Rolex wristwatches, the various iterations of crown guards have developed their own nicknames and followings as the design evolved. The earliest were square-shaped, of which it is estimated very few exist. It is speculated that criticism of the bulky square crown guard prompted Rolex to modify the cases they had in stock, giving raise to the “eagle beak” crown guard. Finally, Rolex produced cases with unobtrusive pointed crown guards (sometimes abbreviated by collectors as PCG), as found on the present example. These early Submariners were fitted with stunning black glossy dials and featured either two or four lines of text at 6 o’clock with gilt printing in either silver or gold (or both). By the late-1960s, the crown guards were changed to a rounder design that is still in use today.

    Exceptional details present on this example make it a highly coveted reference 5512 – especially its stunning, nearly perfectly preserved glossy “exclamation mark” dial. These dial were produced only for a short time in around 1962 and are defined by the minuscule dot of luminous material present under the 6 o’clock hour marker. Scholars debate that this aesthetic quirk indicated a less radioactive material on the dial (the early 60s was when concerns about radioactive material in dials prompted producers to lower the radiation levels eventually switching from radium to tritium).

    Considering the strong case with beautiful, extremely sharp bevels and the presence of the riveted bracelet stamped “1 64” - most probably the original one, having the watch been made in the third quarter of 1962 - it is safe to say that this reference 5512 is one of the most attractive and collectible representatives of this landmark model.

  • Artist Biography


    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. 5512
A very rare, well preserved and extremely attractive stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, glossy "exclamation mark" dial, pointed crown guards and bracelet

Circa 1962
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF50,400

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020