Submariner, Ref. 6538
A Stainless Steel Wristwatch with 4-Line “Tropical” Dial and Bracelet, Circa 1958
Caliber: Cal. 1030 automatic, 25 jewels
Case: stainless steel, screw-down back
Closure: stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and folding clasp
Dimensions: 37 mm, bracelet circumference approx. 180 mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Case numbers: ref. 6538 / serial: 383796
Introduced in 1955, the Submariner 6538 brought with it a new Caliber 1030 movement, a slightly thinner case, more beveled lugs, and a larger 8mm winding crown. Due to the oversized crown, the 6538 is known as a “Big Crown” Submariner. Another important nickname of the Submariner 6538 is the “James Bond Submariner” thanks to its appearance on Sean Connery’s wrist in the 1962 film, Dr. No. While all Submariner 6538 watches are highly sought-after by vintage watch collectors, this particular version is especially rare because of the four lines of text on its remarkably “Tropical” dial, which indicates that this version is COSC-certified (compared to the two-line Submariner 6538 models which are not). In fact, the 6538 was the first Submariner to feature the chronometer certification on the dial, making 4-line variants - particularly those like this example with different color printing - extremely sought-after among collectors. The dial on this ref. 6538 has faded to a bright warm brown color, and the watch still has its original “Red Triangle” bezel insert. Rolex ceased production of the 6538 in 1959, and this breathtaking example is an incredibly rare variation of an already highly collectable vintage Rolex Submariner reference.
This ref. 6538 “Big Crown” Submariner dates back to approximately 1958. The original 4-Line dial with chronometer certification text has faded to a bright “Tropical” brown color and displays slight crazing and minor signs of age; however all luminous hour markers remain intact. The case of the watch is free from significant marks and scratches. S
otheby’s Watches Department is pleased to offer Condition Reports to potential purchasers. A Condition Report is an opinion describing the lot in more detail with regard to, but not limited to the general condition, quality of the watches and/or other relevant information.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome). Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species. Please be advised that wristbands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS (ONLINE ONLY).