Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE Hong Kong Monday, November 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1959
    Reference No: 5512, inside caseback stamped III.59
    Movement No: 59’574
    Case No: 478’414
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped 64, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “2,66”
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Dial, case, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 was first introduced to the public in 1959, as the first Submariner featuring crown guards. An important aesthetical upgrade, the crown guards provide enhanced protection to the crown whilst diving. The earliest batch were square-shaped crown, of which it is extremely rare. The subsequent generation featured crown guards that are also sometimes known as “eagle beak” due to their resemblance to the mandibles of the bird of prey like the present lot. Since the introduction of the reference, the practical feature has remained in all Submariner wristwatches produced till date. The rarest examples of the reference are of variants fitted with a bezel insert featuring the iconic “red” triangle derived from early examples of the Submariner featuring no crown guards, such as the ref. 6538 “Big Crown”. Furthermore, early examples of the reference were fitted with chronometer certified cal. 1530, which was only featured in the reference for one year until it was replaced by the upgraded cal. 1560.

    Glossy gilt dials are one of the most sought after and beautiful dials ever to be featured in vintage Rolex wristwatches due to its unique characteristics developed through age. With an interesting construction method, the gilt dials were manufactured with a brass base plate with a glossy surface applied on top revealing its necessary text in “brass” colored text and the depth rating applied on top of the glossy surface after. Early examples were deemed the Mark I with features such as chapter ring, a distinctive coronet with a “flat” bottom and with a meters first two-liner dial with “Submariner” in silver text.

    The present specimen is an extraordinary and very well-preserved Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 “tropical” 2-liner 'Eagle-beak' crown guard. The dial has been preserved in immaculate condition with a highly attractive “tobacco-like” tropicalization that transcends a unique identity for this particular example. Furthermore, featuring a 478’XXX serial, it is one of the earliest examples of the reference from 1959 and its rarity is further exemplified by the presence of the “red” triangle on the bezel insert. This is with no argument a true piece of horological artistry that depicts the history and transition of one of the most renowned wristwatches ever produced.

  • 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, inside caseback stamped III.59
An extremely fine, rare, early and well-preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with sweep center seconds, glossy “two-liner, tropical” dial, chapter ring, "Eagle Beak" crown guards and bracelet

Circa 1959
40mm Diameter
Dial, case, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$470,000 - 785,000 

Sold for HK$1,937,500

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE

Hong Kong Auction 25-26 November 2019