ROLEX SUBMARINER 5513/5514 COMEX Men's wristwatch... - Lot 33 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés

Lot 33
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Estimation :
30000 - 50000 EUR
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Result : 72 000EUR
ROLEX SUBMARINER 5513/5514 COMEX Men's wristwatch... - Lot 33 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés
ROLEX SUBMARINER 5513/5514 COMEX Men's wristwatch in steel, black dial, painted indexes with luminescent material, "Mercedes" hands, COMEX inscription at six o'clock. Black aluminum bezel insert. Helium valve on the case middle. Steel caseback signed ROLEX COMEX 8**, inside signed Rolex, reference 5513, numbered 5228***. Case reference 5514 and numbered 5228*** between the lugs. Mechanical self-winding Rolex calibre 1520 movement. Steel Oyster bracelet reference 93150, code B, end pieces 580, two diving extensions. Watch functional at time of appraisal, with no guarantee of future operation or condition of parts. Watch in service at Rolex in 2013, with service card, service hands and insert, tube, crown and helium valve replaced. Accompanied by a second bracelet signed Rolex type Oyster 93250 code CL1 and its three additional links. Accompanied by a rare Comex key ring given to the current owner by a former Comex diver. Also accompanied by owner Daniel Commine's diver's card. Circa 1978 Diameter 40 mm This example of Rolex 5514, which comes to us from its first COMEX employee owner, is remarkable, not least because the only revision signature on the caseback dates from 2013 when Rolex had it in its hands. This suggests that, between 1978 and the present day, the watch has remained in near-original condition and has been little worn. This is evidenced by the superb condition of the dial and case, which has undergone little or no polishing, as evidenced by the highly embossed writing on the case back. It also comes with its original bracelet, as evidenced by the buckle code. The Rolex service included changing the hands and insert, as well as replacing the crown/crown tube system and helium valve for water-resistance reasons. The Rolex Submariner reference 5513/5514 has a special significance in the history of the links between the brand with the crown and the marine operating company. COMEX's work in saturation diving and its exchanges with Rolex led to the development of the helium valve on a diver's watch. This valve, located on the caseband of the watch, allows the evacuation of excess helium accumulated within the watch during exercise in hyperbaric chambers, where the gas mixture was very different from natural air, enabling divers to adapt their bodies to great depths. Helium, as a gas with finer molecules than oxygen, would find its way into the watch, potentially damaging the running of the watch and its main components. When the helium pressure became too high, the valve activated, releasing the excess gas. The first watch to see this evolution was none other than Rolex's reference 5513, and since the brand would produce watches specifically for the COMEX, these would take the reference 5514. Hence the presence of reference 5514 on the case, and reference 5513 on the caseback. Like the other references in the Rolex COMEX family, the caseback bears the COMEX engraving, as well as an attribution number, in this case 8**. Unlike the other references delivered to COMEX, the Submariner 5514 will not have its dial signed COMEX on the first occurrences. The COMEX mention will appear following a dial change after a service at Rolex or at the diver's request. While the first COMEX numbers engraved on the back were small, notably the 2XX series, other series came in medium size, and later series in larger "big numbers", like our 8** example. COMEX, or Compagnie d'Exploitation Maritime, is inseparable from the great men who made it famous worldwide. Founded by Henri Germain Delauze in 1962, the company specializes in underwater engineering. In the early 1960s, so-called "professional" diving was limited to unadventurous public works at depths of no more than 30 metres. But the 1960s, known for the search for major offshore deposits, would need the brains and arms of men, professional divers, to support this development at depths well beyond 50 meters. We owe all the major developments that followed to COMEX between 1965 and 1975. From chambers to special diving vessels, not forgetting decompression tables to rely on. To develop
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