Rolex - Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS Hong Kong Sunday, May 26, 2019 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1978
    Reference No: 5514, inner caseback stamped 5513
    Case No: 5’228’358, Comex issue number: 897
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1520, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped 9315, endlinks stamped 285, max length 190 mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39 mm diameter
    Signed: Dial, case, movement and bracelet signed; Outer caseback stamped Rolex Comex 897
    Accessories: Further delivered with additional stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet
    Literature: Examples of Rolex COMEX references 5513 and 5514 see 100 Years of Rolex, 1908-2008 by Franca and Guido Mondani, p. 131

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1960s, Rolex supplied diver’s watches to COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise), a firm specializing in deep diving operations in Marseilles. Unfortunately, the Submariner reference 5513 encountered difficulties when exposed to the extreme depths at which the COMEX divers worked. In particular, the helium molecules would lead to a build-up of pressure inside the watch that would blow off the crystals of their watches in helium-rich subaquatic habitats. COMEX approached Rolex with this problem, and Rolex came up with an ingenious solution — to install a helium escape valve on the case at nine o’clock.

    Later Rolex issued a new reference number, 5514, for COMEX. These watches were usually issued to their specialist divers of the company, and feature the COMEX logo on the dial and engraved COMEX issue numbers to the back. The back is engraved with the issue number, in this instance 897, preserved in similarly excellent condition. In 1997, the COMEX company was sold and the hitherto ongoing policy of using Rolex watches for their divers was discontinued. Accompanied by an additional bracelet, the present watch will be a great addition to any collection.

  • 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. 5514, inner caseback stamped 5513
A highly attractive and rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep center seconds, helium escape valve, bracelet, ghost bezel and additional bracelet, made for COMEX

Circa 1978
39 mm diameter
Dial, case, movement and bracelet signed; Outer caseback stamped Rolex Comex 897

HK$620,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,000,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2019