Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1961
    Reference No: 5512
    Movement No: 36’700
    Case No: 693’860, inside caseback stamped “5512” “ II.61”
    Model Name: Submariner “Explorer Dial”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster expandable riveted bracelet, endlinks stamped “58”, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “4.60”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The introduction of the Rolex reference 5512 in 1959 was a significant transition in the history of Submariners, being the first diver’s wristwatch to feature the addition of crown guards, the Submariner lineage was made evermore robust and versatile. Aesthetically more or less of the Submariner we know today, the very first crown guards on the famed model were square-shaped of which estimated only very few exist. Under experimentation and constant iterating of its timepieces, Rolex quickly reshaped these crown guards into “eagle beak”, followed by pointed crown guards from 1959 to 1963 (sometimes abbreviated by collectors as PCG), as found on the present example. While these early specimens are no doubt elevated to a grail status, the present example bears an even rarer dial configuration, one of the most sought-after gems, the Submariner Explorer dial. Named after the Rolex Explorer design by its iconic 3-6-9 markers, these rarefied dials were produced in very low numbers and are known to have appeared on “Big Crown” Submariner ref. 6200, 6538, 5510, and during the early 60s on the ref. 5513 and 5512. Interestingly, being rarer than the 5513, most 5512 with this dial configuration were made for the UK market.

    Over the production of the references, the 5512 & 5513 went through many more design nuances with chronological significance, these details of subtlety that excites vintage Rolex collectors. In fact, when it comes to the Explorer dial, there are four types of explorer dial further divided by their use of radium or tritium luminescent material as follow:

    1961-1962 – Exclamation Mark dial with chapter ring, absence of “m” for meters and non-italic FT (present example)
    1962 – 1963 – Underline dial with white Swiss inscription, open chapter ring, meter first depth rating
    1963 – 1964 – Underline dial with gilt Swiss inscription, open chapter ring, meter first depth rating
    1963 – 1964 - Underline dial with gilt SWISS < T-25, open chapter ring, meter first depth rating

    The present Submariner Explorer dial ref. 5112 is undoubtedly part of the earliest production recognizable by its exceptional details such as the attractive two-liner gilt dial with chapter ring and pointed crown guards. Furthermore, the depth rating differs from later dials with the absence of “m” for 200 meters, as well as a capitalized, non-italic “FT” inscription for feet. Marked with the most desirable and important detail of all is the dot that sits at 6 o’clock which identified by collectors as the “Examination mark” dial. Such dials were in production only for a very short period between 1961 until 1962 to designate the transition of luminous material (tritium over radium) with lower radiation count due to health hazards during the era.

    According to research, not only is this the earliest known ref. 5512 with Explorer dial, but also an extraordinary fresh-to-the-market gem. Extremely well-preserved with wonderful patina, strong proportions and beautifully aged lumes. The bezel insert also belongs to the period correct “Long 5” insert which has also faded into a an attractive dark grey hue.

    A true treasure and an impressive well-preserved example, the present Explorer-dial Submariner is a highly unusual and extremely attractive version of one of the most beloved dive watches ever made, qualities that make it a must-have for collectors of important vintage watches.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 5512
An exceedingly rare and early stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with “exclamation mark” Explorer dial, center seconds, pointed crown guards and bracelet

Circa 1961
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$780,000 - 1,560,000 

Sold for HK$1,008,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022