View full screen - View 1 of Lot 118. Reference 6536/1 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond', A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1959  勞力士 6536/1 型號 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond' 精鋼自動上鏈鍊帶腕錶備鍍金錶盤,約1959年製.
118

Rolex

Reference 6536/1 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond', A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1959 勞力士 6536/1 型號 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond' 精鋼自動上鏈鍊帶腕錶備鍍金錶盤,約1959年製

Property From The Original, William Gray

Rolex

Rolex

Reference 6536/1 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond', A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1959 勞力士 6536/1 型號 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond' 精鋼自動上鏈鍊帶腕錶備鍍金錶盤,約1959年製

Reference 6536/1 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond', A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1959 勞力士 6536/1 型號 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond' 精鋼自動上鏈鍊帶腕錶備鍍金錶盤,約1959年製

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Reference 6536/1 Submariner 'Small Crown James Bond'

A stainless steel automatic wristwatch with gilt dial and bracelet, Circa 1959


Dial: glossy black, gilt dial 

Caliber: cal. 1030 automatic, 25 jewels

Movement number: N'826'716

Case: stainless steel, screw down case back

Case number: 399'327

Closure: stainless steel Rolex Oyster rivet bracelet with folding clasp

Size: 38 mm diameter, bracelet circumference is approximately 190 mm

Signed: case, dial and movement

Box: no

Papers: no

Case: The case with visible signs of wear throughout. Previous polish. The bezel is later. The bead is missing from the insert. The bracelet is later with signs of stretch and the clasp is stamped '79'.


Dial: The dial with surface scratches and spotting throughout. The plots have been relumed but there is a reaction under the geiger counter. The 6 o'clock plot reacts under UV. Service hands.


Movement: All functions operating. The movement is running at time of cataloging, however it was not tested for the accuracy of time or duration of the power reserve and may need service at the buyer's discretion. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports 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. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."


**Please be advised that bands 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."

Please notat that the new estimate is $48,000-80,000.
The Rolex Submariner 6536 stands among some of the most important and desirable Rolex models ever produced.

Like the Reference 6538, both models are often nicknamed the ‘James Bond’ although, strictly speaking, the 6536 never appeared in the film. Pre-dating the introduction of crown guards, the 6536 is characterized by its thinner profile, no crown guard case, and small crown. The 6536 was only produced for about two years between 1956 and 1958, making this model one of the most captivating opportunities for collectors of early Rolex wristwatches.   

At first glance, one will immediately be drawn to the gilt dial, worn to a subtle warm tone under natural light.  It has been well loved, and equally well preserved, retaining its strong case profile and original lumes and hands. Indeed, the dial is original, and the gilt lettering remains vibrant on the rich glossy black with the 6 o'clock lume remaining slightly lighter than the rest of the plots.

The present lot is offered from the original owner, Mr William Gray, a venerable Renaissance man whose service and cultural endeavors have taken him around the world with this trusted chronometer.

William Gray began active duty in 1957 as member of the US Air Force. Gray was assigned as a Navigator to the 421st Aerial Refusing Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and there he sought out a watch that would keep better time than his Air Force issued timepiece. At the Base Exchange, this 6536 caught his eye and he paid a hefty price of $85.00 USD for it in 1958. Today’s adjusted inflation value would be just over $800.00 USD, a large sum to commit for a young 1st Lieutenant.  

Mr Gray’s service flew him across the Pacific, from the islands of Midway, Wake and Guam to the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. As a civilian, the watch and owner journeyed further from Hong Kong and India, through the Suez Canal and all over Europe. Retired today, Mr Gray’s CV includes not only his military service, but also acumen in industry, theology, and fine arts. Today he engages in woodworking, writing, teaching and more.

Sotheby’s is pleased to offer this timepiece on behalf of the original owner. It is an excellent early example of the Rolex Submariner and has been lovingly preserved through perilous journeys, vibrant travels, quiet days at the writer’s desk.