Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: SIX New York Saturday, June 11, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Condition Report

  • Description

    View our Conditions of Sale.

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1975
    Reference No: 5514; stamped 5513 and 1.72 to the inside caseback
    Case No: 4’089’919 ; 4’089’919 repeated to the inside caseback; 377 to the outer caseback
    Model Name: Submariner “COMEX”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1520, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet with diver’s extension, reference 9315, endlinks stamped 385, with diver extension stamped "PATETED", max length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet, and clasp signed. Dial additionally stamped COMEX. Outer caseback engraved ROLEX COMEX 377.
    Accessories: Accompanied by signed Henry Hudson letter dated 24th September 2002 and Rolex service guarantee dated 29th October 2002.

  • Catalogue Essay

    COMEX models have a treasured place in the hearts and collections of vintage sports Rolex aficionados. During the early days of deep sea exploration, Rolex worked with a number of experts in the field, including the Marseille-based maritime company, COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises) - a pioneer diving company for the oil industry. These efforts resulted in a number of modified Submariners - some of them featuring Helium Escape Valves, issued in the mid-to-late 1960s and designed to prevent damage from an accumulation of helium after full-saturation diving.

    These first experiments would eventually lead to two different timepieces: the Sea-Dweller, featuring a thicker case for improved water resistance and which would eventually be released to the public, and the Submariner reference 5514, featuring the thinner case construction typical of the Submariner, but fitted with a Helium Escape Valve.
    Comex divers were allocated a Rolex-stamped watch for their missions, but 5514 watches, however, were uniquely special in that they were created exclusively for the Comex organization and never sold by retailers nor made available to the public for commercial use.

    Accordingly, the reference 5514 has today become one of the most sought-after “grail” Submariner models. The COMEX name was prominently placed on the dial, as well as engraved to the caseback, along with the COMEX issue number, in this case 377. In addition, 5514 casebacks are known with two different variations, and early versions feature COMEX straight across the caseback, such as the present example. Furthermore, three different sizes are known to have been used for the engraved COMEX issue number, with this example featuring the mid-size, “medium number”.

    From the collection of a highly-regarded collector of issued watches from Rolex, the present example stands out for its outstanding overall condition and stunning vibrant patina. The case is superbly crisp and sharp, while the dial has a flawless matte-black surface. The luminous hour markers have developed a striking bold tone, perfectly matching its original hands. The bracelet, reference 9315, fitted to the watch is also correct for the reference 5514.
    Perhaps most importantly, the watch is accompanied by a coveted “Henry Hudson letter” from Rolex Bexley in the UK, confirming not only its issue to the Comex organization in 1975, but also that its caseback engraving is correct. Notably, “Hudson letters” are no longer available from Rolex and haven’t been issued in many years. The watch is further complemented by a Rolex Service Guarantee from 2002 referencing the model 5514 and its specific case number dating to 1975.

    It is exceedingly rare to find such a well-preserved COMEX model with confirmation from Rolex, making it a unique opportunity for any collector of issued watches from Rolex.

  • 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.

    View More Works

153

Ref. 5514; stamped 5513 and 1.72 to the inside caseback
A superb, sought-after, and highly rare stainless steel military wristwatch made for COMEX, with Henry Hudson letter and Rolex service guarantee

Circa 1975
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet, and clasp signed. Dial additionally stamped COMEX. Outer caseback engraved ROLEX COMEX 377.

Estimate
$60,000 - 120,000 
CHF59,700-119,000
€57,500-115,000
HK$471,000-942,000
S$83,700-167,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293

[email protected]

 

Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285

[email protected]

The New York Watch Auction: SIX

New York Auction 11-12 June 2022