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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1954
    Reference No: 6205
    Movement No: 95’680
    Case No: 21’638
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet, end links stamped 80, max length 225mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped 1.68
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The study of the iconic Rolex Submariner can be divided and sub-divided into several categories: glossy or matte dials, silver, gold, or white print, crown guards or no crown guards, small crown or big crown, red lettering, date or no date. There is a plethora of characteristics to examine and quantify. The earliest Submariners – the references 6200, 6204, and 6205 – have significant architectural differences when compared even to the generation of Submariner that immediately followed. Yet they are the archetype of a line of watches whose popularity has only grown in the five decades since and therefore have developed a revered place in the hearts and minds of watch collectors and scholars.

    Introduced in 1954 and only produced for a two year period, the reference 6205 is one of the first watches to bear the name Submariner on the dial. Furthermore, it’s fitted with extremely rare and highly sought-after pencil-style hands, which would later be replaced by one of the most distinguishing features on Rolex’s sports model – the Mercedes-style hour hand. 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.

    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 remarkable, with fully preserved and crisp lug bevels, and sharp angles to the lug tips. The caseback bears the rarely-seen engraving of “ROLEX OYSTER CASE”. Thinly engraved, its perfectly preserved crispness illustrates the watch’s exceptional overall quality. This example is extremely rare due to its limited production and bears the coveted pencil-style hands. A distinguished treasure even in the rarified world of collectible Submariners, the reference 6205 is an early icon, highly sought after by the most discerning of collectors.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Ref. 6205
An extremely rare, well-preserved, and early stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with bracelet

Circa 1954
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

Estimate
$80,000 - 160,000 
CHF71,100-142,000
€66,100-132,000
HK$620,000-1,240,000

Sold for $126,000

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020