Rolex - The 2021 New York Watch Auction New York Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1958
    Reference No: 5510
    Movement No: 50'558
    Case No: 361'913
    Model Name: Submariner, Big Crown
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1530, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped 65, overall max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 2.58
    Dimensions: 38mm 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.

    Amongst the rarest of all Rolex Submariner models, the reference 5510 was introduced in the late 1950s and was manufactured for a very short period of time. Accordingly, research indicates less than 300 examples were manufactured. The present “Big Crown” Submariner combines the characteristics any vintage Rolex collector aspires to find. Some examples were chronometer certified, while others, like the present model displayed "Submariner" along with the depth rating, variants are known as "Two Liners". The reference 5510 is recognizable and characterized by its black lacquer “Swiss’ dial”, lack of crown guards and 8 millimeter Brevet ‘big’ crown.
    A two-owner watch, it has remained in the “Ride the Wave” collection since it first appeared at auction in 2010 when it was consigned by the original owner. The present example is preserved in excellent condition, with the original factory “Rolex Oyster Case” engraving still visible on the caseback. The black lacquered dial is vibrant and especially glossy, with the gilt writing and outer minute calibration shining through in negative relief. The “200=660ft” depth rating is superimposed and printed on the black background. The luminous hour markers are perfectly intact and the hands have aged evenly and taken on a yellowish brown hue.
    The Submariner is an icon in the world of horology, and the present reference 5510 is a rare model highly sought after by collectors. The present example is sure to please any enthusiast of Rolex sports watches.

    Please note, if a period-correct bezel insert is desired by the winning bidder, Phillips would be delighted to assist in its sourcing at additional cost.

  • 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. 5510
A rare and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with black lacquer dial, "Big Crown", and bracelet

Circa 1958
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

$50,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $144,900

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021