An early, extremely rare, and exceptionally well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1954
    Reference No: 6205
    Movement No: 20'499
    Case No: 21'354
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 65, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped 4.54
    Dimensions: 37.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The 6204, 6205, and 6200 were the earliest iterations of Rolex’s iconic Submariner, all launched in 1954. The first reference 6204 was quickly followed that year by the models 6205 and 6200, and while the other references remained in production, the reference 6205 was only manufactured between 1954 and 1955, making it one of the rarest Submariners to exist. References 6204 and 6205 were considered “small crown” models (6mm), while the reference 6200 today is known as the “big crown” for its oversized crown at 8mm.

    The present reference 6205 is an exceptionally early example – so early in fact, it pre-dates the introduction of the name “Submariner” as its dial does not include the designation. Furthermore, its fitted with extremely rare and highly sought after pencil-style hands. The ref. 6205 would later introduce one of the most distinguishing features on Rolex’s sports model – the Mercedes-style hour hand. This reference 6205 is offered here for the first time publicly, and is amongst the best preserved examples of the reference known to exist. Retaining all of its original parts as it left Rolex’s factory 65 years ago, it remains extremely well preserved without any previous case polishing or restorations. The definition of the case is exemplary, with fully preserved and crisp lug bevels, and sharp angles to the lug tips. The extraordinary and hardly ever seen “Stainless Steel” engraving found on the caseback is perfectly preserved. The dial has aged beautifully with a pleasing patina uniformly present throughout. The luminous hour markers are original and perfectly intact, along with the original luminous hands – all correctly matching in hue and tone. The early bezel lacks any minute sub-divisions from the 0 to the 15 minute marker as would be found on future Submariner references. The watch is made even more appealing with its original riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 4.54.

    This example is not only extremely rare due to its limited production, but also due to its early dial lacking the word ‘Submariner’ as well as its coveted pencil-style hands. A distinguished treasure in the world of collectors’ watches, the reference 6205 is an iconic sports watch, and a very rare, highly sought after model. This example presents a rare opportunity for the discerning collector of exceptional sports watches.

  • 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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54

Rolex

Ref. 6205
An early, extremely rare, and exceptionally well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds and bracelet

1954
37.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed

Estimate
$100,000 - 200,000 
CHF99,500-199,000
€90,600-181,000
HK$782,000-1,560,000

sold for $162,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019