Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 6204
    Movement No: 27'805
    Case No: 949'136 caseback further stamped 2.53
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel expandable riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped 65, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless Steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 2.69
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: A similar example only 4 digits apart is featured in “100 Superlative Rolex Watches” by John Goldberger p184

  • Catalogue Essay

    Collectors love the little details in the dials that can set certain Rolex models apart such as the serifs on the brand name, the positioning of the printing or even the color of said print. However, the present reference 6204 has more than details to set it apart. It is part of an extremely low number of reference 6204 with honeycomb dials of which a handful are known today. Making it most probably the rarest known version of the iconic Submariner.

    Rolex launched the Submariner model in 1953, it was the very first Submariner model and has since set the blueprint for what we have come to expect from a dive watch with its rotating bezel, black dial and large luminous indexes.

    The present example is one of the earliest models of the reference 6204 and most probably a transitional model, the dial is directly inspired by that of reference 6202 with the honeycomb dial and “Submariner Perpetual” written across the dial right beneath the brand name (as opposed to the words “Oyster Perpetual” found on reference 6202). Later models would feature a non-textured dial and the words Submariner printed on the lower part of the dial setting the design code for all Submariner models that have followed in the past 65 years.

    The present Submariner is in appealing condition with a crisp case, strong bevels, and correct Brevet cross on crown. Bearing serial number 949’136 it is only four digits apart from the same reference with honeycomb dial featured in John Goldberger’s “100 Superlative Rolex Watches”.

    Fresh to the market and previously unknown, the present incredibly rare and historically important watch is a must have in the collection of any Rolex collector/scholar.

  • 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. 6204
An exceedingly rare and historically important stainless steel wristwatch with honeycomb dial and bracelet

37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF60,000 - 120,000 

Sold for CHF75,600

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