CARTIER VARIANT UNUSUAL, DESIRABLE AND EXTREMELY COLLECTIBLE
The peculiarities of vintage Rolex watch collecting can be hard to explain to the uninitiated. Prices for similar models can vary by at least 100 percent due to minute and specific details on the case, movement and dial. For a watch being offered at Heritage’s upcoming timepieces auction, the rarity and exclusiveness is not hidden from view, but staring right at you in the center of the dial.
For a limited time in the 1970s, Rolex watches were available from the Cartier flagship boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York City. These exceedingly rare variants of each model are designated by the famous Cartier logo stamped to the dial below the hands.
Retailer-stamped dials are certainly unusual, desirable and collectable, with the most well-known examples bearing the Tiffany & Co text. Cartier variants are incredibly rare in comparison and thus, highly desirable and much sought-after, says Jonathon Burford, timepieces consignment director at Heritage.
The sample being offered in June, a Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513, is one such piece. “It has been in the same owner’s possession since he purchased the watch new in New York,” Burford says. “Meticulous as he was, it is accompanied by multiple service receipts from the Rolex service department for its entire life.”
Originally designed and manufactured by Rolex as a “tool” for divers, the Submariner had an underwater depth rating of 200m, something the owner used full, completing hundreds of hours of diving, often in the most inhospitable environments with his Rolex strapped to the outside of his wetsuit. “This may well be the only Cartier stamped Rolex Submariner to have been used exactly as Rolex had intended,” Burford says, “but perhaps not how Cartier expected.”
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2019 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.