Important Watches

Important Watches

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 63. Reference 5512 Submariner | A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with tropical gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1966.


Reference 5512 Submariner | A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with tropical gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1966

Auction Closed

December 7, 07:12 PM GMT


50,000 - 100,000 USD

Lot Details


Dial: black, tropical gilt

Caliber: cal. 1560 automatic, 26 jewels

Movement number: 68'866

Case: stainless steel, screw down case back 

Case number: 1’316’824

Closure: stainless steel Rolex Jubilee bracelet with folding clasp

Size: 40 mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 165 mm

Signed: case, dial and movement

Box: yes

Papers: yes

Accessories: Rolex presentation box, Official Chronometer Certification booklet dated February 9, 1966 (punched), COSC dated February 9, 1966, and Submariner brochure

Please note that this lot is accompanied by the presentation box and the Official Chronometer Certification booklet, COSC, and booklet.

The Rolex Submariner is a watch that needs no introduction, having been in constant production since 1954. To this day, it is representative of the evolutionary approach to watchmaking and design that Rolex is known for. In the early years of the Submariner, Rolex was still working on getting the formula for its iconic dive watch properly dialed in. As such, collectors love to focus on those early '50s and '60s years where the case went from no crown guards, to pointed crown guards, to square crown guards, and the dials underwent a series of small changes as well.

One of the most interesting models from these early years comes in the 1960s with the advent of the 5513 and the 5512. While the 5513 Submariner is well known to all collectors – having been a mainstay for over 20 years in the Rolex category – the 5512 is far less understood.

Upon its introduction, the difference between the 5513 and the 5512 was the chronometer-grade calibre 1560 inside the 5512. The COSC testing and certificate made the 5512 more expensive to produce and sell, making it an ‘upmarket’ Submariner as compared to the 5513. In accordance with that COSC treatment, however, the 5512 received 4 lines of text on the dial, proudly proclaiming ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’. Eventually, all Submariners would become COSC certified, and the 5512 disappeared from the catalog in the late 1960s. Suffice to say, finding an early 5512 is no small feat.

The present 5512 is distinguished not only by its reference and ‘4-liner’ dial, but by its truly spectacular ‘tropical’ dial. Thought to be a reaction to heat and the sun, tropical dials are highly prized for their uniqueness and rarity. Rarely do early gilt dials age to such an even coloring and without any damage or fading of the text on the dial. Interestingly, and rather attractively, the outer rail scale is still a dark black color creating an almost vignette-like effect on this highly attractive wristwatch.