02 May Rolex Submariner Square Guard & Little Pointed Guard 1959 by Stefano Mazzariol
Stefano Mazzariol: A Vintage Rolex Researcher of Our Time
A Re-Introduction by Alan Koh
A research on the Rolex Submariner square crown guard, and little pointed crown guard of production year 1959 is critical to understanding vintage Rolex watches of the 1950s era. Originally posted by Stefano Mazzariol in October 2012 with contributing support from respected collector (in his own right), Mr. Marco Di Falco, this visual study outlines key differences such as dial, case, and serial numbers specific to the 1959 Submariner in the midst of Rolex’s transitional periods.
May 2013 is especially significant to me, as one year has passed after since Stefano Mazzariol and I exchanged endless waves of vintage Rolex watch topics in person. Learning from Stefano about antique objects of desires was like learning to see for the very first time; and I am very gratified for this golden-gilt opportunity of a lifetime – and his then wristed Submariner ref. 5508 is an immaculate piece of original art.
Every statement, broad or detailed, that Stefano spoke of, I reciprocated with countless questions in succession. With over 20 years of collecting vintage Rolex watches, Stefano has acquired a unique set of perceptual abilities. Just like an architect who walks into a building, “they see through the walls, and they understand the building as a four-dimensional space-time continuum.” (Oliver Reichenstein) In short, we are strongly influenced by what we know; and active information processes [over time] are responsible for our discerning abilities on vintage Rolex watches.
After my exclusive interview with Stefano Mazzariol (read interview here), his ability to communicate vast amounts of invaluable information on vintage Rolex is unquestionable. Stefano’s documented insights, experiences, images on his blog at http://stefanomazzariol.blogspot.com (one of the most widely read vintage Rolex websites) has been responsible for the collective growth and state of the present vintage Rolex market. A knowledge-based initiative of such scale is a reflection of Stefano’s unparalleled levels of commitment and devotion to Rolex – of the vintage era.
As he once said to me, “I am a vintage Rolex guy, right from the beginning.” With this statement, I would like to re-introduce Stefano Mazzariol as a vintage Rolex researcher of our time – as we dive into his latest research on the Rolex Submariner square crown guard, and pointed crown guard specific to the year 1959.
Rolex Submariner Square Guard & Little Pointed Guard 1959
by Stefano Mazzariol
I feel free to say that almost all the production of those years represent today must of collecting. In 1954 the Rolex stand in Basilea was the richest of innovations, with the presentation of the first models of sports collection, without the protection of the crown, the Turn’o graph and the Submariner. During the following five years Rolex goes on modifying its modeling, in 1959 totally changes its most sportive production: the Submariner and the Gmt, and gives them protective shoulders to the charge crown. This one, being sticked out, was easy to hurt and so, to break. Rolex production, in that year, counted from the 450.000 to the 549.999 serial, that means 99.999 watches for all the models in the catalogue.
The most important sportive underwater Rolex changes its shape and in the catalogue goes with the version without guard ref.5508: the 5512 Rolex square pointed arises . The ref.5512 represents the first Submariner that is guaranteed as waterproof until 200 meters depth with protective shoulders of the charge crown. As I could noticed, according to the few models I could see, the serial number belonging these extremely rare watches starts from about 478000.
At that time, the Submariner was thought for professional and/or sportive customers, we think that just 1000 models were made in that year, only few of them with the square guard, as the others, as we will see later they will be modified with short end guard. They also printed an advertisement brochure of this rare square shoulders version, even if, as an esteem for the fans, they made not more than an hundred of them.
Furthermore the modification of the protection guard of the charge crown, if compared with the previous series, the Submariner 5512 had a graduated insert with a steel ring with a more evident knurling, this to make the rotation easier with or without gloves. Another rare particularity is the color insert with the red triangle at the 12 o’clock, also this one inherited in its look from the ref 6536/6538 and 5510; this choice was immediately forsaken, probably because it was useless, as red is one of the first colours that is less perceived when the depth increases, according to the refraction of the light in the water.
The charge crown is the result of past experiences, on the previous models they applied crowns of about 6mm and 8mm diameters, the final choice for the new 5512 will be the unknown oyster twin lock crown of 7 mm. This modification gives even more performance and security to the capacity of impermeability, it’s enough to say that, in order to realize this crown, they need not less than 32 operations.
Inside we can find the cal 1530 25 rubies, as its predecessors ref. 5508 and 5510. This caliber, created by Rolex in 1957, has the same diameter (28,5mm) and alternations number (18000) of its predecessor cal. 1030, while high is different and becomes 5,75 mm. The movement, thanks to the good project and to the great tolerances, is a very reliable movement, precise and with easy maintenance. The charge spring alimentation was due to a perforated rotator named Butterfly. The one dedicated to the fist versions, as the sqare shoulders, without the chronometer certificate, was immediately recognizable from its central round pivot, that is different from the one placed on the following models, that will have chronometer certificate, that will be squared.
The balancer didn’t have the micro-stella regulation. The dials, that I consider as the best ever made, are made with galvanic process with the minute and the writes at 12 o’clock realized in “negative” that means on a level lower than the black base. Some models, above all of the first ones realized, have depth (in positive, so on the black base) silver printed.
Always in 1959 they built a dial with the Rolex logo crown called “tulip” very similar to the one of the previous model ref. 6200 with depth and the Submariner write realized in “negative “. The clock hands were in golden metal and had a flat profile. The luminescent was obtained with the radio.
The bracelet dedicated to this reference could be the oyster model 7260 but more easily the elastic version 6636, with final 65. The bracelet is characterized, more than this, by the presence of ROLEX logo for the entire length of the laminas of the closure box, the so-called Big Logo.Always in the 1959 production, non completely persuaded about boxes with square protection shoulders, modifies this model sharpening the sides and realizing the first Submariner called, by the collectors, “cornino” and emulating in some way, the one already realized with the GMT master 1675 model of the same year.These point guards, if relate to the models we will see in the following years, were littler than the normal ones, because they derive from the box thought for the “square guard”. We are in a period of evolution and exams, they made few models of these Submariner to test ergonomics and the charge crown protection. We can find the usual characteristics even in the Submariner Tudor. Rolex in one of the first advertisement proposed the Submariner in this way : “Divers dream finally realized” , today this watch represents the collectors dream of the of the crowned home.I thank Marco Di Falco for his collaboration.
The Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 Square Crown Guard (SCG) is an enigma attributed by the scarcity of this particular model. As much as I accept that change is inevitable, this was a time of transition which I wished Rolex would have extended – just a little longer. Tudor Submariner ref. 7928 was part of the “square crown guard” era in 1959, produced in very limited quantity.
It was about 2 years back on eBay that a dealer in Hong Kong listed a Tudor Square Crown Guard for USD $ 60,000. Currently, there is a listing on VRF for a Tudor Submariner M.N. case back for Square Crown Guard type for 3000 euros. It is evident that the prices of square crown guard Submariners, Rolex or Tudor, are an indication of how sought-after this particular type. After all, this is the Mark 1 (mk1) version of the Submariner, since the introduction of crown guards as Rolex departed from the no-crown guard model references.
Admist the current internet politics faced by greater parts of Asia, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Stefano Mazzariol, a lifelong friend and mentor, for his approval on publishing his research work. Please check out Stefano’s online shop for vintage Rolex watches, top-notch Italian crafted Limited Edition straps, and original accessories at: www.VintageWatches.it