Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1959
    Reference No: 5512
    Movement No: 73'084
    Case No: 478'011, inside caseback stamped 5512, "III.59" , outside caseback further stamped S&L ACERO.
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal.1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped “7206”, endlinks stamped “80”, max length 230mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “2.59”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Crown guards were absent from Rolex sports watches for the better part of a decade. Rolex debuted a new generation of Submariner watches in 1959, the reference 5512. Crown guards were used for the first time on a Rolex watch. A glossy black dial and sturdy crown guards with square ends in profile are included. These crown guards have seen several alterations and advances throughout the years, ultimately settling on a final design in the form of a rounded shape. Prior to that, crown guards were pointed, which were only produced for a brief period and are now highly sought after by collectors. "Cornino" is the nickname given by said collectors for submariners with pointy crown guards. The most difficult to find are versions with square crown guards from the initial batch, which date from 1959. Interestingly, these highly rare timepieces all have serial numbers in the low 478000 serial range, and these samples are to be found all within a 20-number serial.

    The current timepiece is a beautiful and well preserved example of this extremely hard to find limited series, with the accurate case back date code III.59. It has an eye-catching black gloss dial with "gilt printing." Furthermore, the depth rating is shown in silver. The retailer signature of Serpico y Laino, a major Rolex retailer in Caracas, Venezuela, is very intriguing. The retailers signature (S&L ACERO) can also be discovered outside the case back, much to the satisfaction of the discerning collector, proving that the dial and case were actually born together.

    The current Rolex Submariner ref. 5512, which dates from around 1959 and features a "glossy" black "2-Liner-S&L" dial with chapter ring and square crown guards, is exceptionally uncommon. The value of the current timepiece is increased by the presence of a well-preserved casing and a dial that corresponds to the historical period. The bezel insert has a wonderful aged look to it, with a greyish tinge that has formed through time with the red triangle and pearl intact. This current lot is a find that will pique the curiosity of collectors of notable rare and sporty watches due to its mix of rarity, historical significance, and condition.

  • 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
An extremely rare, highly important and early stainless-steel diver’s wristwatch with center seconds, square crown guards and bracelet, retailed by Serpico y Laino

Circa 1959
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

CHF100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for CHF126,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022