A very fine, early and well-preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with center seconds, “gilt” dial and bracelet

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  • Condition Report

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1954
    Reference No: 6204, repeated inside caseback
    Movement No: 69’745
    Case No: 988’825
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260, 2 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped “65”, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “4,53”
    Dimensions: 37mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The 1950’s was an interesting period of Rolex and perhaps the most crucial time as the first Submariner was introduced in 1953. Regarded as the best professional diver’s wristwatch in the market, the first Submariner had waterproof capabilities of up to 100 meters. Whilst many may argue that the ref. 6200 was the first Submariner introduced, which would be chronologically correct, however the serial numbers proved otherwise that the ref. 6204 was the first to be sold publically. Featuring a bi-directional rotating bezel with a black insert, it allowed divers to keep track of their elapsed time underwater and also a way to determine how much oxygen they had left in the tank. Furthermore, radium luminous plots played a pivotal role for the watch as it enabled diver’s to tell time under the dark waters.

    Early examples of the reference were encased with cases bearing 900 thousand serial range and were released in 1953. Furthermore, a “small crown” was fitted with a Rolex crown and a Brevet cross below. Powered by self-winding cal. A260, it was inspired by the “Bubblebacks” era as they shared the same calibers with a slightly bulged caseback. Secured under an acrylic crystal “Tropic 16”, lies a beautiful gilt dial with radium luminous plots and hands without depth rating. Regarded as a major breakthrough in the 1950’s, the Rolex Submariner continued to become the most iconic wristwatch in the world.

    The present example of a Rolex ref. 6204 is presented in excellent overall condition and boasts many attractive elements that a collector seeks. It is often hard to find original examples of the reference as many were sent back for servicing during the 1960’s, where Rolex would replace the hands as well as any other part of the watch that needed replacement. The present example bears a period correct black bezel insert, with a well-preserved first generation riveted bracelet with excellent elasticity and a clasp stamped “4,53” indicating its production to be in the fourth quarter of 1953. The dial for the present example screams originality with high radium readings with a Geiger counter indicating that the dial has never been touched before. Extremely attractive, this present example will certainly impress discerned collectors of vintage timepieces and a fantastic opportunity for collectors to acquire an early example of the first Submariner reference.

  • 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. 6204, repeated inside caseback
A very fine, early and well-preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with center seconds, “gilt” dial and bracelet

勞力士,「Submariner」型號6204,非常精細,精鋼自動上弦鏈帶腕錶,備金字亮面錶盤,約1954年製

Circa 1954
37mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$780,000 - 1,560,000 
€88,500-177,000
$100,000-200,000

sold for HK$1,375,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031

WatchesHK@phillips.com

 

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: X

Hong Kong Auction 10 July 2020