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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1954
    Reference No: 6204; inside caseback stamped 6204
    Movement No: 90’251
    Case No: 988’923
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. A260, 19 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet, endlinks stamped no. 65, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped 2.53
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet, and clasp signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    As the earliest Submariner reference introduced by Rolex, the reference 6204 is the seminal reference for one of the most iconic timepieces of the modern era. Even in 1953, it displayed the characteristics of the same Submariner that is beloved to this day, with the rotating, 60-minute graduated bezel, luminous hour markers, wide and curvaceous bevels running through the length of the case, and durable Oyster bracelet.

    Early examples of the reference bore cases engraved with the 900’XXX serial range, dating them to the beginning of 1953. Water resistant to 100 meters, they were fitted with a “small crown,” engraved with a Rolex coronet above the brevet cross. Powered the automatic caliber A260, it leveraged design features from the “bubblebacks” of the era, sharing the same caliber and slightly bulging casebacks. Secured under an acrylic, domed “Tropic 16”, lies a beautiful gilt dial without depth rating, adorned with luminous hour markers and crowned by rare and early pencil hands.

    The present example of the reference 6204 bears all of the above attributes in splendid original condition, down to the original crystal and riveted Oyster bracelet stamped with the date code 2.53. Rarely has a more completely original example, with each component in a superb state of preservation, been offered publicly. From the perfectly intact luminous hour markers and hands, impressively crisp bezel, fully unpolished case, and even original crystal, this watch is truly a mid-century time capsule. Coming from the collection of an important European collector, it is sure to impress the most discerning of Rolex scholars and enthusiasts.

  • 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. 6204; inside caseback stamped 6204
An early and magnificently preserved stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with rotating bezel and bracelet

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

$80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for $233,100

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