Rolex. An exceptional stainless steel automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, bracelet, original letter and red "200/660" printing
Prospective buyers should be aware that the import… Read more VARIOUS PROPERTIES
Rolex. An exceptional stainless steel automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, bracelet, original letter and red "200/660" printing


Rolex. An exceptional stainless steel automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, bracelet, original letter and red "200/660" printing
Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, 200/660, Submariner, ref. 6538, case no. 140'141, manufactured in 1956
Cal. 1030 automatic movement, 25 jewels, black lacquer dial, luminous dot, baton and dagger numerals, luminous hands, sweep centre seconds, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, revolving black bezel calibrated for 60 units, large screw down Brevet crown, screw back with engraved initials GW, inside numbered I.56, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, deployant clasp stamped 3.56 and engraved with the initials IS surmounted by a crown, case, dial and movement signed
37 mm. diam.; overall length of bracelet approx. 190 mm.
Special notice
Prospective buyers should be aware that the importation of Rolex watches into the United States is highly restricted. Rolex watches may not be shipped into the USA and can only be imported personally. Generally a buyer may import only one watch into the USA. For further information please contact our specialists in charge of the sale. Please note other countries may have comparable import restrictions for luxury watches. On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

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Lot Essay

With original letter dated 26 October 1956 and signed by Major General H.H. Sir Ibrahim, Sultan of Johore, addressed to Dr. G. William, reading:

Dear Dr. William,

Herewith stainless steel wristlet watch "Rolex" which I promised you. I hope you can use it and can see better and easy and for certain it keeps good time, for rough work.

I hope you accept this small present from me and be useful to you.

With kind regards.

Sincerely yours,

Major General H.H. Sir Ibrahim, Sultan of Johore

Made in 1956, the present "big crown" reference 6538 is one of the rarest and earliest Submariner models ever produced, distinguished by the red printed depth indication "200/660" on the dial. In production during a very short period of time only, it can safely be assumed that Rolex tested a rating indication in red without mentioning feet or meters before finally settling on the white "200m=660ft" found on later models.

An absolute highlight for the connoisseur of rare timepieces, this Submariner is furthermore preserved in extremely appealing original overall condition, retaining the correct dial, bezel, crown, bracelet and deployant clasp. Its black lacquer dial shows an incredibly charismatic grainy patina which has formed naturally over the years, most probably due to various atmospheric influences and sunlight. The attractively discoloured luminous material to numerals and hands display a fascinating sand tone with the 6 o'clock hour marker showing a lighter tone, a particularity often seen on early Rolex sports watches. Most likely opened for the first time on our premises for inspection, the movement has evidently not been touched since it has left the Rolex factory, underlined by the impeccable condition of the screw heads and the bridges, not showing any wear or scratches, as well as the overall cleanness. The case, never exposed to careless polishing or possibly to any polishing at all, impresses any beholder with its full body and sharp angles to the facets of the lugs.

Its provenance further adds to the appeal of this rare timepiece: according to the original letter dated 26 October 1956, year of production of the watch, it was bequeathed by Major General Sir Ibrahim, Sultan of Johore, to Dr. G. William. The case back is engraved with the initials GW and 1956, the deployant clasp with the Sultan's initials IS surmounted by a crown.

Sultan Ibrahim Al-Masyhur ibni Almarhum Sulyan Abu Bakar or Sultan Ibrahim II, GCMG, GBE, (17 September 1873 - 8 May 1959), 22nd Sultan of Johor, in Malaysia
He was known as one of the richest men in the world during his reign. An Anglophile, he spent much of his time residing in England, often dealing with the colonial office in London over state affairs. From the mid-1930s onwards, Sultan Ibrahim fostered personal friendship ties with the British monarch, and made a cash donation of £500,000 for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. He spent the last two years of his life at his apartment at Grosvenor House in London where he passed away on 8 May 1959.

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