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Vintage of the Week: Rolex Submariner Reference 6538

February 26, 2015

BY Paul Altieri

Rolex Submariner 6538

Rolex Submariner 6538

The vintage Rolex Submariner 6538 has a special place in Rolex history as the original “Bond Submariner” watch. Though several other Submariner versions, including references 5508 and 6205, have also received the nickname, ref 6538 is the original Submariner to be featured in James Bond/007 films. Produced between 1954 and 1959, ref 6538 has appeared in several Bond films, including Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball. In each film actor Sean Connery wears ref 6538 with several different strap combinations and utilizes it to achieve his mission. Perhaps the most iconic shot of Connery wearing the Rolex dive watch is in the film Goldfinger where he illuminates the watch’s dial with his lighter.

One of the most prominent and recognizable features of Submariner 6538 is its over-sized crown and lack of crown guards. This “big crown” certainly distinguishes this reference from others in the Submariner family and is a feature collectors look for. Ref 6538 utilizes a caliber 1030 nickel-finished lever 25 jewels movement. The brown or black gloss dial prominently features luminous dot, baton and dagger markers as well as luminous Mercedes hands and sweep center seconds. The dial and case are topped with a revolving black bezel calibrated for 60 units. Despite ref 6538 being designated as the “Bond Submariner,” it is more than a movie prop. Rather, it was made in the spirit of the Submariner family and with divers or other water adventurers in mind. The 38 mm tonneau shaped Oyster case features a screw back and large screw down crown, giving it the ability to resist water pressure up to an impressive 300 meters or 1000 feet.

Submariner 6538

Submariner 6538

Submariner 6538 is a highly sought after Rolex reference, and occasionally appears on the auction block. In 2012, mint condition ref 6538 sold for $92,000 at an auction at Christies while a Tiffany-signed Submariner 6538 went for $284,500 later that year. Another rare version, featuring the sought after tropical dial with four lines of text, sold for $544,939 at auction in 2013.

submariner 6538

submariner 6538

The Rolex Submariner 6538 is the ideal watch for a character like super spy James Bond. Not only is it durable and precise, but it looks great with a tuxedo or a swim suit. This versatility is certainly highlighted by Bond, but it can be utilized by any Rolex collector. With such a rich history and innovative offerings, the Rolex Submariner 6538 truly lives up to its nickname as the “Bond Submariner.” To find similar vintage Rolex watches please browse our new arrivals.




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