An early, very attractive and well-preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with glossy gilt dial, bracelet, and pointed crown guards

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1961
    Reference No: 5512, inside caseback stamped III.61
    Movement No: 94’195
    Case No: 693’224
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet, max length 230mm, end links stamped 80
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 2.61
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied with its original Rolex box, original crystal and gasket.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Though the first Rolex Submariners were produced in 1953, and released after their debut at Basel in 1954 with the references 6200, 6204, and 6205 (differences in movements used and water resistance differentiated each), the reference 5512 was the first Submariner reference to feature now-ubiquitous crown guards. Developed as a tool watch, the Submariner was marketed to commercial and recreational divers. The addition of the crown guards made the watch more robust, protecting the watch crown from unintentional damage.

    Like many intricacies of collecting vintage Rolex wristwatches, the various iterations of crown guards have developed their own nicknames and followings as the design evolved. The earliest were square-shaped, of which it is estimated very few exist. 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. They were quickly replaced by less beak-like crown guards, known simply as pointed crown guards (sometimes abbreviated by collectors as PCG), as found on the present example. These early Submariners were fitted with stunning black glossy dials and featured either two or four lines of text at 6 o’clock with gilt printing in either silver or gold (or both). By the late-1960s, the crown guards were changed to a rounder design that is still in use today.

    Exceptional details present on this example make it a highly coveted reference 5512 – especially its stunning, nearly perfectly preserved glossy dial. The silver gilt outer seconds track, referred to as a “chapter ring” by collectors, is emblematic of these early examples, matching the correct silver gilt two-lines of text found at 6 o’clock. Considering the strong case with beautiful, factory-original bevels still seen on the lugs, completed with its original and well preserved Rolex riveted Oyster bracelet stamped from the second quarter of 1961, it is safe to say that this reference 5512 has spent the past half century sitting mostly unused in a drawer rather than seeing frequent wear.

  • 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. 5512, inside caseback stamped III.61
An early, very attractive and well-preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with glossy gilt dial, bracelet, and pointed crown guards

1961
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$20,000 - 30,000 
CHF19,900-29,900
€17,400-26,100
HK$157,000-235,000

sold for $68,750

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

STYLED. Timeless Watches & How to Wear Them

New York Auction 5 December 2018