Case No. 988,6xx
This Submariner 6204 produced as part of the second earliest batch that is known. Similar to the preceding batch of 6204s, this example has an early version of the dial with a "Split Logo" printed above the center post. This dial layout is known as the "Split Logo" design because of the gap between the words "Submariner" and "Perpetual" just above the center post. Unlike its preceding example, which had a "Waffle" texture, this dial has a matte black surface. As a result, the writing on the dial is crisper and easier to read and has an optical illusion which makes the writing above the center post appear larger.
Unlike all other Gilt era Submariners, this early dial variant also appears to have no lacquer applied. In its absence, there is also no lacquer oxidation or "matting" that we typically see on dials from the 1950s.
Also known as a "Gilt" dial because of the gold writing, the lettering and graphics are actually a stencil of the brass dial plate underneath the paint layer (see illustration below). Another interesting dial characteristic on this model is the shape of the dial plate whose outer rim is rounded like a bull nose. This gives the dial a more dimensional appearance, especially under the domed crystal, reminiscent of a ship porthole.
The luminous material, or "Lume," is Radium was hand applied. Although, it no longer glows in the dark, the Lume still reacts to UV light with a unique speckled glow that collectors have learned to recognize. Once the UV light is removed, the Lume stops glowing immediately. Radium also has a much stronger Geiger counter reading than any other luminous marterial.
The earliest Submariners references 6204 and 6205 hands are affectionately called "pencil hands" by collectors due to their shape. Made from a metal alloy that was gold-plated, they are flat on top, a design that also came to be known as "Gilt Hands." When the hands move about the face of the dial, the "Lollipop" sweep-seconds hand appears to lightly graze the "Chapter" ring of the minute track. When it briefly glides over the minute hand, they are perfectly aligned.
The case number is 9491xx (last 2 digits xx for privacy), one of the earliest batches of Submariner known. It was numbered prior to the 'reset'" to 10000 that occurred after 999,999, circa 1954. The stainless steel case measures approximately 37.5mm wide sans crown. The sides have a light satin finish as well as the tops of lugs. The small crown measures only 5.2mm and has the well known "+" symbol which stands for "Swiss Made." The screw-on case back is rounded like a "bubble" to accommodate the A260 movement and its rotor. The case uses a domed #16 acrylic crystal that fits all other Small Crowns, with the exception of the 6536/8.
The brass bezel once had nickel plating that has oxidized or worn away with usage. The early bezel has smaller knurling compared to later years. The early "no-hash" inlay has a very small divot to accommodate a small dollop of luminous material that would typically fall away.
The 6204 is powered by the Rolex A260 Automatic Movement.
The 6204 is fitted with a spring loaded Swiss rivet bracelet was made for Rolex by world renowned Gay Frères. The 20mm fixed end links are marked "65" and the clasp has a stamped quality control date code.
When the Submariner model was first introduced, Rolex commissioned two distinct dial variants, one had the "Waffle" pattern and subsequently a flat dial, or regular dial. In addition, some of these two dial versions also had "Officially Certified Chronometer" printed above the 6:00 marker on Chronometer rated watches.
6204 - “Split Logo OCC”
6204 - “Split Logo Waffle OCC”
6204 with "Split Logo" flat dial (not "Waffle") with "Officially Certified Chronometer" (OCC) writing above 6:00 marker.
6204 with "Split Logo" and "Waffle" textured dial and "Officially Certified Chronometer" (OCC) writing above 6:00 marker.
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