For half of decade, Rolex's sports watches did not feature any crown guards. In 1959, Rolex introduced a new generation of Submariner, reference 5512. For the first time, a Rolex enjoyed the benefits of crown guards.re fitted with a glossy black dial and protective crown guards with square ends in profile.
During the first years, these crown guards have seen numerous changes and developments until, eventually, finding the definitive shape in a rounded form. Prior to that, the crown guards were pointed, only made during a very short time and today very sought after by collectors. Submariners with pointed crown guards are also nicknamed "cornino" (see lot 284). The rarest version however are examples with the square crown guards, the very first batch from 1959. According to research, until today there are just a handful of these ultra-rare variants having been offered at public auction. Interestingly, all of them boast serial numbers in the very low 478000 serial sequence the examples we were able to locate are all within a sequence of 20 numbers. One probably mustn't go any further to conclude the extreme rarity of these historical variants.
The present watch, featuring the correct case back date code III.59, is a spectacular example of this small series. It comes with a most fascinating black gloss dial with "gilt printing". On top of that, the depth rating is applied in silver. Most fascinating is the retailer signature of Serpico y Laino, Rolex's important retailer in Caracas Venezuela. The luminous hour markers display a near perfect beige tone, wonderfully matching the hands which are the correct gilt version.
Much to the delight of the demanding collector, the retailer signature can again be found outside the case back (S&L ACERO), proof that the dial and case were indeed born together but also, very importantly, how little wear and polish the watch has seen during its life. The bezel is featuring the red triangle, a reminiscence of earlier James Bond Big Crown Submariners. The package is completed with the correct 1959 elastic Oyster bracelet featuring the big logo clasp.
Few Submariners provide so much history, looks, originality and exclusivity as the present "square-guard fifty-five-twelve Serpico y Laino"-Submariner. No other example, in fact, is known to exist in this constellation.