Monthly Archives: September 2015

2015F1GPJapan

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Japan — Results & aftermath

Hamilton & Mercedes return to dominating ways at Suzuka with Rosberg runner up; Vettel 3rd for Ferrari

As predicted, Mercedes power returned to their winning ways at the high speed Suzuka track in Japan on Sunday after their hiccup at the low speed Marina Bay street circuit race in Singapore the week prior. And even with a desperate Nico Rosberg starting from pole, nothing could stop Lewis Hamilton from grabbing the lead on the first corner as he ruthlessly pushed his Silver Arrows teammate ever wider until his German rival had to relinquish the top spot or be run completely off the track. From there the reigning English Champion and this year’s points leader never looked back, dominating the Japanese Grand Prix in such a masterful fashion that the world television feed barely showed the leader until his last victorious lap. Which is a bit of a shame because not only did Hamilton glide home nearly 19 seconds ahead of Rosberg, whose championship dreams, such as they were, have now surely suffered another painful blow. But with the win Hamilton also tied his hero and F1 immortal Ayrton Senna with 41 career victories. It was also Hamilton’s 8th win out of 14 GP this season and coming after his only DNF in the previous race at Singapore it must have felt like the proper order had been restored with the fastest driver in the fastest car rightfully back on top. Hamilton now leads Rosberg, his closest pursuer, by a daunting 48 points with 5 races left on the calendar.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Despite the poor start, which shuffled him down to fourth position on Lap 1, Rosberg had a decent race, fighting back against the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and passing him on Lap 17. Rosberg later leapfrogging Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on pit strategy to secure the 1-2 finish for the factory Mercedes team. After Ferrari’s dream results in Singapore with a win for Vettel and a P3 for Kimi Raikonnen, the Prancing Horses came back to earth somewhat at a track where their lack of pure straight-line speed as compared to Mercedes power was made clear once again. In the end, Vettel made it close with Rosberg but could only manage to take the last step on the podium with a solid P3. Raikonnen fought hard and outshone his fellow Finn Bottas, P4 to P5. Bottas’ Williams teammate, Felipe Massa, had his race destroyed on the opening lap when Daniel Ricciaro tagged him while trying to overtake, cutting down his right front tire and forcing the Brazilian veteran to limp back to the pits for a premature tire change. Massa was then doomed to a lonely race at the back, where he would finish some 2 laps down in P17.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nico Hulkenberg had a very good race race for Force India after a poor qualifying and a 3-spot grid penalty saw the German starting form 13th. Continue reading

Rosberg-2015F1GPJapanQuali

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Japan — Qualifying results

Mercedes returns to dominance in Qualifying at Suzuka: Rosberg P1, Hamilton P2 & Bottas P3 — Kvyat suffers massive shunt in Q3

In Japan, Mercedes power was back on track at high speed Suzuka as expected after their subpar performance last week at the slow, narrow confines of Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit. Not only did the Silver Arrows take first & second in Saturday Qualifying but the Mercedes-powered Williams of Valtteri Bottas grabbed 3rd spot on the grid and his teammate Felipe Massa was able to come home P5. However, it wasn’t Championship leader Lewis Hamilton who took pole for Sunday’s race but rather his desperate teammate, Nico Rosberg. With the races dwindling and his opportunity to catch Hamilton slipping away, the German contender and closest pursuer beat out the Englishman for the fastest time by less than .08 seconds.

Kvyat-2015F1GPJapan

Q3 was brought to a premature end when Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat suffered a lurid, barrel roll shunt late in that final qualifying session after clipping the grass at the hairpin and losing control. Despite the frightening looking crash, the 21-year-old Russian exited his destroyed RB11 chassis under his own power. Assuming the team can put a car together for him by tomorrow’s race, Kvyat will now have to start from the pit lane. His Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo had a drama-free session but after his great run in Singapore where the Aussie ace finished second overall Ricciardo could only coax his underpowered Renault-engined car up to P7 on the grid.

Ferrari care back to earth after last week’s delirious double-podium result, with Singapore winner Sebastian Vettel able to split the Williams for a P4 start but Kimi Raikkonen only good enough for the 6th fastest time after finishing 3rd last race. Team Lotus’ talented Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who is rumored to be heading to the Haas F1 team next year for their maiden season, was P8. Rounding out the top 10, Sergio Perez continued his hot second half for Force India with a solid P9.

Top 10 Qualifiers for the Japanese Grand Prix:

POS. NO. DRIVER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 6 NICO ROSBERG  MERCEDES 1:33.015 1:32.632 1:32.584 16
2 44 LEWIS HAMILTON  MERCEDES 1:32.844 1:32.789 1:32.660 15
3 77 VALTTERI  BOTTAS  WILLIAMS 1:34.326 1:33.416 1:33.024 11
4 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL  FERRARI 1:34.431 1:33.844 1:33.245 11
5 19 FELIPE MASSA  WILLIAMS 1:34.744 1:33.377 1:33.337 12
6 7 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN  FERRARI 1:34.171 1:33.361 1:33.347 10
7 3 DANIEL RICCIARDO  RED BULL RACING 1:34.399 1:34.153 1:33.497 17
8 8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN  LOTUS 1:34.398 1:34.278 1:33.967 19
9 11 SERGIO PEREZ  FORCE INDIA 1:35.001 1:34.174 16
10 26 DANIIL KVYAT  RED BULL RACING 1:34.646 1:34.201 15

Complete Qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race from the Land of the Rising Sun airs live in the States at 1 AM Eastern on NBC Sports Network. With only 5 races to go after Japan, a win by Hamilton would give him a stranglehold on the Championship. But he’ll have to overtake his hard caring teammate Rosberg to make that happen. Hope to see you then as the drama unfolds from Suzuka!

APROOTriple-5 copy

tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — September selection

On offer this month is this wonderful consignment piece, a beautiful and rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Triple Date full calendar automatic. One of the earliest of these model 25807STs produced circa 1996 and still mounted on its original long bracelet with butterfly clasp, this neo-vintage AP ROO is unique not only because of the complications but also due to is size. Whereas nearly all Offshores are 44mm or larger, this Triple Date model measures only around 40mm across to the crown guards and 37mm across the bezel. That means you don’t have to have a wrist like an NBA power forward to pull it off.

APROOTriple-angl copy

Featuring the tank-like construction that you’d expect from an Offshore with those cool visible gaskets, this all steel midsize version has the very highly regarded Jaeger-LeCoultre derived automatic Triple Date caliber 2127/2827 purring away under the hood. It was recently fully overhauled in May of 2014 so the new owner will know it’s good to go for years to come and comes with the documentation to prove it.

APROOTriple-bk copy

No safe queen, this AP ROO is decidedly unpolished, charmingly showing its nearly 20 years of consistent use, and suits the collector who simply wants to strap on his watch and get out amongst it, no babying required. Of course, with all that untouched metal a fresh polish would also look great if that’s what’s desired — it really depends upon personal aesthetics and AP do a killer job of refinishing if that’s the choice you make.

APROOTriple-crwn2 copy

With a minty Tritium dial highlighted by the Royal Oak’s patented “grand tapisserie” (aka “waffle iron”) gullioché finish in stunning triple calendar layout this is a robust, super cool but not gigantic Sports watch you won’t see on many other wrists. And with legendary Audemars Piguet style and quality, you’re guaranteed to make an impact wherever you go while wearing this beautiful timepiece. Priced attractively for such an elite piece, I don’t think it’ll last. Grab it while you can and join the Royal Oak Offshore club!

Check out the full ad with many more pictures and complete description & condition report over at Timezone.com’s TZ Showcase.  SOLD 

F1GPSingapore2015

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Results & aftermath

Ferrari lights up the night Singapore with Vettel victorious and Raikkonen 3rd; Ricciardo runner up for Red Bull; Hamilton DNFs

Sebastian Vettel ruled the race in Singapore for Ferrari in throwback fashion, running away at the start and then controlling the Grand Prix from the front, the patented style that served him so well in winning 4 consecutive World Championships. Vettel showed again just how good a pilot he can be, dominating the beautifully illuminated night race from pole to checkers. His nearest pursuer, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricicardo, never seriously threatened the unflappable German. In fact, the top 3 finished exactly where they started: Vettel 1st, Ricciardo 2nd and the other Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in 3rd. With both Scuderia drivers on the podium for the first time this year it was a banner day for the storied team from Maranello. Even better, both cars finished ahead of previously unstoppable Mercedes. That meant that Vettel closed the gap on Nico Rosberg for second in the Drivers’ Championship to a mere 8 points and Raikkonen jumped Williams’ Valtteri Bottas to take over fourth position with 6 races to go.

For Mercedes, it was an uncharacteristic lost weekend. After qualifying a lowly P5 on Saturday, Championship points leader Lewis Hamilton appeared to be biding his time early in the race, running in 4th with an alternate tire strategy and playing for a late charge. But his best laid plans were derailed, first by a bizarre mid-race caution for a spectator walking the track and then an electronic failure in his car that prevented him from applying full throttle power. The Englishman was forced to retire his Silver Arrow on Lap 33 so we’ll never know if he really had anything for the finish. My money would have been on the ultra-competitive Englishman to catch up to Raikkonen and at least make it a fight for the podium. Teammate Nico Rosberg fared better after his own engine failure two weeks ago at Monza and brought the car home for a solid if unspectacular P4. That reduced Rosberg’s deficit to Hamilton to 41 Championship points, although the German contender may have to worry more about being overtaken by his countryman Vettel than actually catching Hamilton. Chances are, though, with all the remaining races being at high speed, low downforce tracks, Mercedes’ bad, streak-snapping weekend at Marina Bay will end up being a one-off disappointment during an otherwise uninterrupted march to another Constructors’ Championship.

HulkenbergF1GPSingapore2015

Valtteri Bottas had a very strong P5 for Williams, especially considering that the FW37 really struggles in high downforce configuration. His teammate Felipe Massa, however, had his race ruined when Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg crashed into him as Massa exited the pits on Lap 14. Hulkenberg, who was found culpable and penalized 3 grid spots for the next race, was out on impact and the Brazilian veteran was forced to retire with gearbox issues on Lap 31. Continue reading

Vettel2015F1GPSingaporeQuali

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore — Qualifying results

Ferrari ascendent in Singapore as Vettel takes Pole, Raikonnen 3rd; Ricciardo P2 for Red Bull — Hamilton & Mercedes’ Qualifying streaks snapped

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

The Mercedes Silver Arrows experienced a rare stumble in Saturday Qualifying at the tight, twisty Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore. With the team going for a record-tying 24th consecutive pole position and their star driver Lewis Hamilton attempting to tie Ayrton Senna’s individual diver record of 8 consecutive poles, both were denied by the blistering pace of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Vettel, who like many suspected Mercedes of hiding their pace in practice, instead dominated the field, coming home a full half second ahead of the charging Red Bull of Aussie Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, making it avery good day for the Scuderia in Singapore. Ricciardo’s teammate Daniil Kvyat was able to come home in P4, so even as Red Bull and engine supplier Renault enter the final phase of a messy divorce, the union experienced its best qualifying performance of the season. Go figure.

For the Mercedes factory team, things were just as mixed up if not more so. With the previously supreme Hamilton able to muster a time only good enough for 5th on the grid and his lesser half Nico Rosberg taking a modest P6, this was Mercedes’ worst Quali performance since the Schumacher/Ross Brawn days. And with their record-breaking efforts and aura of dominance dented, it’s definitely hard to see them pulling out a victory come race day tomorrow. The team simply has not been able to get their rear tires to perform in practice or qualifying so far this weekend and there’s no reason to believe they can cure that problem before the lights go out on Sunday. However, taking the long view, it could simply be that the high downforce nature of Marina Bay does not play to their massive horsepower advantage, enabling the slower but more planted Ferraris and Red Bulls to equal and even surpass the Silver Arrows’ normal advantages. With nothing but high speed purpose built tracks remaining on the calendar after this race, it’s more than likely that Mercedes and Hamilton will just write off Singapore as that one time all year they could not quite get to grips with the circuit, redouble their efforts going forward and then begin stomping everyone again for the last six races of the season.

Less surprising, the nearly as powerful Mercedes-powered Williams chassis also struggled with their high downforce configuration, as they always seem to do. Valtteri Bottas could do no better than P7 on the grid and Felipe Massa, two weeks removed from a sparkling podium at mega-fast Monza, found himself mired back in P9. Rounding out the top ten, rookie Max Verstappen was an impressive P8 for Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean was 10th fastest for Lotus.

Top 10 Qualifiers in Singapore:

POS. NO. DRIVER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL  FERRARI 1:46.017 1:44.743 1:43.885 14
2 3 DANIEL RICCIARDO  RED BULL RACING 1:46.166 1:45.291 1:44.428 17
3 7 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN  FERRARI 1:46.467 1:45.140 1:44.667 17
4 26 DANIIL KVYAT  RED BULL RACING 1:45.340 1:44.979 1:44.745 15
5 44 LEWIS HAMILTON  MERCEDES 1:45.765 1:45.650 1:45.300 16
6 6 NICO ROSBERG  MERCEDES 1:46.201 1:45.653 1:45.415 17
7 77 VALTTERI  BOTTAS  WILLIAMS 1:46.231 1:45.887 1:45.676 20
8 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN  TORO ROSSO 1:46.483 1:45.635 1:45.798 16
9 19 FELIPE MASSA  WILLIAMS 1:46.879 1:45.701 1:46.077 19
10 8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN  LOTUS 1:46.860 1:45.805 1:46.413 18

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix airs live on NBC Sports Network at 8AM Eastern. Look for a throwback Ferrari-Red Bull duel with Mercedes in the uncharacteristic position of fighting for good points rather than the win. But then this beautifully lit but narrow street race has a history of crashes and bizarre events that turn predictions on their head. So best to tune in and see how it all plays out for yourself!

TheBigHeat

Classic movie watch — The Big Heat (1953)

If you’re looking for the precursor to Dirty Harry and a thousand other righteous vigilante cops in the cinema look no further than Fritz Lang‘s 1953 film noir masterpiece, The Big Heat. Starring the underrated Glenn Ford as crusading homicide detective Dave Bannion, The Big Heat unspools like an Eisenhower-era nightmare, peeling away the veneer of wholesomeness from a mid-sized metropolis to reveal the festering corruption beneath. With bracingly modern use of brutal violence, Heat is one of Lang’s top crime masterpieces in a career filled with them, and the film still retains its power to shock and disturb today. Like so much of the Austrian genius’ output, which includes genre-defining classics like Metropolis, M, Fury and Scarlet Street, the phrase “ahead of its time” sticks to the The Big Heat. No matter how many times you’ve viewed it, you’ll come away astonished at the remarkable moral distance the film has traveled from start to finish.

While investigating a colleague’s alleged suicide and after talking to the seemingly bereaved widow, Ford’s Detective Bannion is contacted by the dead man’s mistress who reveals that not only was he keeping her on the side but that he was living far beyond the means of a policeman’s salary. After returning to push for answers from the now chilly dead cop’s wife, Bannion is then told to back off by his lieutenant. But when the mistress is found murdered, her body covered with cigarette burns, and O’Bannion begins receiving threatening calls at his home, he goes to the house of the local organized crime figure and Mr. Big, Mike Laguna (played by legendary voice actor Alexander Scourby), to confront him. Laguna offers to buy Bannion off but the straight arrow cop will have none of it. Seeing that Bannion cannot be deterred by the usual methods, the mob plans to murder Bannion by rigging his car to blow up. But when his wife ends up turning the ignition instead and his department continues to stonewall him, Bannion resigns from the force to begin a one-man crusade against Laguna and his fellow “thieves”.

TheBigHeat-3

Chief among those accomplices is Laguna’s enforcer, Vince Stone. Played to vicious perfection by the great Lee Marvin, at the peak of his early career powers when he was one of the most badass “heavies” in the movies, Marvin’s Stone is a pure psychopath capable of truly terrifying acts of sudden violence, especially against women. Continue reading

2015F1GPItaly

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Italy — Results & aftermath

Hamilton marches to victory at Monza for Mercedes; Vettel a joyful 2nd for Ferrari and Williams’ Massa joins the party in P3

After eprecisely the fast getaway he was looking for when the lights went out to start the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the only question left for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes seemed to be whether a minuscule post-race tire pressure measurement could keep them from victory. But the stewards determined that the scant 0.3 psi under the regualtions had been caused by the natural cooling of the tires and not deliberately executed by Mercedes for unfair competitive advantage. And so, after some tense and mysterious moments late in the race with Hamilton’s engineer cryptically telling the Englishman to push for time but not ask questions, which naturally led to speculation that there could be a problem with his new 2016-spec engine, all came good for the Drivers’ Championship leader with yet another dominant victory. Better still for Hamilton, his closest pursuer and teammate, Nico Rosberg, suffered catastrophic engine failure in the waning laps after Mercedes had turned up the wick on his well used 2015-spec power plant in an effort to take the fight to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for P2. So the German contender might be forgiven for thinking that the stars were aligned against him in these last several races, as he now finds himself not just 53 points adrift of Hamilton with only seven races remaining but also under pressure from the hyper-competitive Vettel in his rapidly improving SF15-T chassis. At least Rosberg can console himself with some big picture thinking after becoming a new father to a healthy baby girl between Spa & Monza.

Pix courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Pix courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Vettel not only celebrated a new family addition of his own with the recent birth of his second daughter but also a well-earned P2 for Ferrari at the Scuderia’s home circuit. While he never really had anything for Hamilton’s Mercedes, the German former 4-time World Champ was definitely the best of the rest. Even if Rosberg’s engine had not blown Vettel did not look likely to relinquish his precious second step on the podium. But his teammate Kimi Raikkonen had yet another day that must have left the tifosi tearing their hair out and wondering why the veteran Finn was retained by Maranello for next season. Raikonnen became the most high profile victim of the new “no clutch coaching” rules when he bogged down on the grid at the start. He almost proved all the warnings about the danger of that sort of stall, as well, when Rosberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas nearly ran into his backside. But the two pilots showed excellent car control and got away cleanly from the stationary Ferrari. By the time Riakkonen got it in gear the entire field had passed him and he was forced to battle from behind all day long. He did show good mental toughness in recovering from his self-inflicted wound, using aggressive driving and his car’s superior performance, as well as a superlative pit stop by his crew, to re-pass much of the field and take valuable points with a hard-earned P5.

VettelF1GPItaly-2015

Williams’ Felipe Massa, the Brazilian veteran and longtime Ferrari driver, held off his rapidly closing teammate to capture an emotional P3 at a track he called home for so many years. The hard-charging Bottas finished right behind Massa in 4th place, making it a tremendous points scoring day for Williams. The ultra-fast Monza circuit rewarded their excellent straightline speed while not punishing their usual lack of downforce. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished P6 and P7 respectively for Force India, another fine result for the little team that could, while Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat took P8 and P10 for Red Bull despite starting near the rear after a passel of engine-change grid penalties. Marcus Ericsson of Sauber grabbed a very strong 9th place after after he was also penalized, in his case for impeding Hulkenberg in Saturday qualifying, and dropped to 12th on the grid. The young Swede has quietly put together an excellent second half of the season with points in his last three races and frankly outdriven his more heralded teammate Felipe Nasr.

Aside from Rosberg’s misfortune, the other DNFs in this full course yellow-free Grand Prix were both unlucky Lotuses within the first 4 laps and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, which expired late in the race. Continue reading

F1GPItalyQuali-2015

2015 F1 Grand Prix of Italy — Qualifying results

Mercedes’ Hamilton still top dog in Italy but tifosi thrilled to see Raikonnen & Vettel relegate Rosberg to 4th

At the festival of pure speed and racing passion embodied by the legendary Monza track in northern Italy, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton proved once again that he is the fastest man in the fastest machine. Debuting 2016’s advanced engine spec for the factory Mercedes team, Hamilton grabbed yet another pole in Saturday qualifying, his astonishing 15th P1 out of 16 sessions this season. But the Silver Arrows’ overall dominance was upended by Scuderia Ferrari on their home turf, with the recently re-signed Kimi Raikkonen taking a very strong P2 and his more vaunted teammate Sebastian Vettel coming home just a few tenths behind in P3. When Nico Rosberg, running this year’s standard Mercedes engine, could do no better than 4th fastest, the tifosi erupted in unbridled, typically Italian joy. If the two Prancing Horses can make a dynamic duo-type getaway like we saw in Hungary and swamp Hamilton at the start of the race, they may be able to pull off the upset and send all of Italy into paroxysms of joy. However, with an average lap speed somewhere north of 150mph, It could be quite difficult to keep Hamilton down for long at this circuit even assuming that the two blood red Ferraris can get away from him when the lights go out. The other possibility, of course, is that the new Mercedes engine is not quite ready to last an entire race flat out. As the old saying goes, we shall see come Sunday.

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

Pictures via GrandPrix247.com

Mercedes-powered Williams had a decent day, with veteran Felipe Massa slightly outpacing his younger Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, P5 to P6. Force India continued to impress with Sergio Perez grabbing the 7th fastest time, while Nico Huldenberg, who just had his contract extended by the team for two more years, ran out of fuel in the middle of Q3 and had to settle for 9th on the grid. Coming off his best race of the year at Spa two weeks ago, Romain Grosjean rode that momentum and was excellent for Lotus, just snatching P8 as the seconds wound down in Q3. Marcus Ericsson would have again found himself rounding out the top 10 for Sauber but he was judged to have impeded Hulkenberg during Q1 and penalized 2 spots on the grid, so Grosjean’s teammate Pastor Maldonado was elevated to 10th position.

Teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso were also penalized for exceeding their engine change limits and so all their cars will start from the back of the field tomorrow. Continue reading

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The Gilt-Gloss 5512 Submariner– a Review by Beaumont Miller II

Introduction

The 1950s to the mid 1960s was a golden era for Rolex. Watches produced by the company during this time have captivated the hearts and minds of Rolex collectors for many years. The passion that drives many watch collectors is the desire to find not just older watches, but to search for vintage watches whose dials have been well preserved and protected from the elements and at the same time, have aged in a way that each has taken on a unique patina. Thanks to the introduction by Rolex of it’s patented Oyster case with its improved screw down case back and winding crown, many of these dials have survived today giving collectors much to be happy about.

The dials produced for the Rolex Submariner and GMT during this time are known by collectors as gilt-gloss or gilt/gloss dials.  The term gilt, as applied to these early Rolex dials, refers to both the gold tone of the text as well as other features of the dial.  While many collectors may not feel that the term gilt is appropriate when used in this context, it has stood the test of time, and as any collector with a passion for Rolex dials can tell you, it is a far better description than the names given to identify some other dials. The term gloss describes the mirror like black glossy surface of these dials, which is in contrast to the matte finish which was introduced by dial manufacturers for Rolex watches in the mid 1960s.

5512-61,4line-2  5512-61,4line-3

The manner in which these gilt-gloss dials were produced is very interesting. While some dial manufacturers might paint the text on the colored surface of the dial, those making the dials for the Rolex Submariner and the GMT did so in a way that the gold colored text and features are in relief or below the surface instead of on top. These gold aspects of the dial are actually the brass dial plate and lie underneath a coat of black glossy paint. On top of the black layer of paint, a clear coat of lacquer was then applied . In the case of the very early gilt-gloss dials, it was not uncommon to have lines of silver colored text in addition to the gold colored text. The silver colored text was applied on top of the final clear lacquer coat. Finally, the luminous material that allowed the watch to be read in the dark was applied. The more radioactive radium used for the dial and hands in the 1950s to make them glow was swapped for the less radioactive tritium in the early 1960s.

The way these dials have aged is at the heart of why these watches are so favored by vintage Rolex collectors. Just as no two fingerprints are the same, the same can be said of these early Rolex dials. It is not uncommon for the dials produced in the 1950s to have a darker more orange color to the text on the dial, while many others that were produced later tend to have acquired more lighter shades of gold tone. The difference between the two is likely due to the radium versus tritium used for the luminous material and how the brass dial plate reacted with the chemicals used to prevent corrosion during the manufacturing process. Another beautiful feature of these rare watches is the appearance of the glossy dial in different lighting conditions. The richness of the black high gloss finish of many dials can be readily seen in the sunlight, while other dials exhibit different shades of brown.

photo  photo

Another reason these early Rolex models are sought after by enthusiasts is because of the attractive styling of the watch case. As hobbies evolve and collectors become more knowledgeable, it’s common for the emphasis placed on certain aspects of the objects collected to change over time. Vintage watch collecting is no exception. Within the last five or six years, collectors have moved away from the mantra, “It’s all about the dial” and adopted a more progressive maxim, “A great watch starts with a great dial, but doesn’t end there”. Both the Rolex Submariner reference 5512 and its predecessor, the Submariner 6538, share the large chamfers or beveled edge on the lugs of the watch case that are prized by collectors. In recent years collectors have realized that unmolested examples with their sharp cases nearly intact are rare treasures.

photo   IMG_0109                                                                         

The Rolex Submariner reference 5512 was introduced in 1959 and was likely produced until 1980. Early examples were fitted with the calibre 1530 movement, and the improved chronometer rated 1560 movement was introduced a year or so later. The 5512 shared some of the styling features of the earlier Submariners like the outer rotating black bezel that helps to keep track of elapsed time. However, unlike the earlier Submariners, the watch case produced for the 5512 featured crown guards on either side of the winding crown, a feature that remains on the Submariner to this day. The many different gilt-gloss dials combined with the different shaped crown guards are some of the unique features of the 5512 that make this sporty and elegant reference a favorite of vintage Rolex collectors. Understanding the chronology and significance of these early dials is a passion of mine. From a collector’s perspective it is important to be able to evaluate a vintage watch based on its originality and period correctness. Unfortunately, not many collectors have the ability to locate vintage watches from original owners, and because the provenance of other watches is not always clear, understanding the significant changes in the evolution of this Submariner is critical in making sure that the watch has the correct movement and dial.

The following is a brief overview of the 5512 discussing some of the more common and rare gilt-gloss dials and their characteristics as well as a short summary of the different types of crown guards and movements from 1959 to 1966. There are few hard and concrete rules with Rolex during this period, and as such, this overview should NOT be seen as a conclusive authority to check the correctness of your vintage Rolex, but rather a guide to help collectors appreciate the many subtle nuances of the 5512 from the early to mid 60’s.

A warm thank you to Andrew Shear for allowing the pictures from his dial archive for this 5512 review.  Click on each pic for a higher resolution photo in a new window.  

 

1959-1960

photo-17  photo-18

The earliest dials for the 5512 are often called MK1 dials and can be easily recognized by the shape of the coronet, typically with the last spike on the right extending a bit further down than the other four. The phrase “Old Font” dial, a term often used by Marcello Pisani, was an appropriate description based on the observation that the Mk1 coronet was reminiscent of some of the previous coronets seen on the “Big Crown” Submariners from the 1950s.

During this period there are two different types of dial configurations for the 5512. There is the 2 line version with only the depth rating and “SUBMARINER” printed below it and the 4 line version with

“SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER
“OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED”

aka SCOC text , printed below the depth rating and “SUBMARINER”.

The early 5512 Submariner dials have different combinations of silver and gold text ranging from one line of silver and one line gold to three lines of silver and one line gold. Continue reading