Submariner 6205 - “Blank Dial” ca. 1954
Case No. 21,354
Submariner 6205 sold by Phillips in New York, December 2019.
The model name was intentionally omitted from the dial on this Submariner 6205, but in all other respects, except aging, it has the same dial layout as the preceding Submariner 6204. It is difficult to know the precise reasoning why Rolex would omit the model name from dial. We can only guess that there may have been questions about the definition of the name or copyright issues surrounding "Submariner." It is also interesting to note the reference number changed to 6205 and the crown size increaed to 6mm, but in all other respects, the two models appear to be identical in terms of movement and case size.
This dial has a coating of lacquer applied, but it appears to be thinner than coatings applied on later Submariner models such as the 6536-1 and 5508. After many decades, most of the lacquer has gassed out or oxidized, losing much of its gloss. This natural aging leaves a unique matte textured finish that becomes discolored to varying degrees.
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 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 6205 is powered by the Rolex A260 Automatic Movement.
The case number is 21,354 which is lower than the previous Submariner 6204 because it was numbered after the 'reset' to 10000 that occurred after 999,999, circa 1954. The stainless steel case measures approximately 37.5mm wide sans crown, and is the same shape and size as the Submariner 6204. The sides have a light satin finish as well as the tops of lugs. The crown size is 6mm which is larger than the Submariner 6204. It has the well known "+" symbol ("Swiss Made") below the crown logo. 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 bezel has also developed some greenish corrosion where it meets the case. The early "no-hash" inlay has a divot to accommodate a small dollop of luminous material that would typically fall away.
The original crystal has developed some natural stress fractures over the decades. They are most visible when viewing from the side at a steep angle.
The 6205 was fitted with a spring loaded Swiss rivet bracelet was made for Rolex by world renowned Gay Frères. The 20mm fixed end links are typically marked "65" or "64" and the clasp has a stamped quality control date code.
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