Tropical Dial, Square Crown Guard 7928 Tudor Submariner
Minutia in Rolex is really the name of the game, it’s a lifetime’s learning. The dial on this 7928 is spectacular, but it’s not even the most impressive part of this Sub and that’s where the minutia comes in. The very earliest Submariners, big crown and small, lacked crown guards. We will all be familiar with that fact, courtesy of Sean Connery. However, as soon as crown guards were introduced, they evolved. Collectors will be aware of ‘PCG’ or early pointed crown guards (sometimes known as cornino) cases. Enthusiasts may be familiar with eagle beak crown guards, produced for just over a year with a distinct pointed edge. However, before either and for one year only, the style of crown guards was far more rectilinear.
Historic significance is a matter of perspective, but this slight distinction of the manner in which the crown guards present marks this case as amongst the very earliest 1959 production cases with a guarded crown. It seems near laughable in 2022 to consider this protection a technical innovation, but in 1959 it was. Divers complained with all earlier ‘NCG’ Subs that hard bashes would break the crown stem, possibly even causing water entry. A solution was needed. And so in the 5512, 5513, and the 7928 alike, the case grew these first-ever crown guards.
It is widely reported that Rolex made fewer than 100 examples of these SCG cases including Tudors, with some saying fewer than 50 still surviving. The latter eagle beak crown guards evolved from ergonomic considerations and were quickly considered more attractive. Many consider this the rarest Tudor Submariner made, full stop. This is, however, an impossible statement to substantiate, so take it with a grain of salt. Definitely extremely rare, maybe the rarest. And definitely an interesting marker in the evolution of the Submariner formula we know today. This might be the one time in history that a Sub’s case is more special than a dial this evenly and beautifully tropical, which almost deserves more ink spilled on its behalf. This is probably the rarest and most lovely Tudor Sub you’ll see in the market this year. And those are big words.
There’s really nothing I can hold against this example. The case is robust, strong chamfers and light patina everywhere. The dial is an even caramel tone, with a bit of coffee in it. The whole aesthetic is very cohesive. It’s on an original rivet bracelet and really is a grail Sub for even the most serious Rolex collectors. It comes from a well-regarded Parisian retailer.