With Rolex blank Customer Certificate (version 1956), embossed green wallet, brochures "Gentlemen's Watches" and price lists dated February 1957, "The Man's Watch - The New 25-Jewel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer" and "Factory Service - The Care Of Your Rolex", period green presentation box.
The present Submariner is an extremely attractive and particularly rare version of the celebrated reference 6538 model to be offered in public in recent years. It stands out by its black lacquer dial with the designation 200m=600ft, Submariner, Officially Certified, Chronometer printed in gilt on four lines. One of the most sought after Submariner models, this rare version is also known as the "Big Crown 4 Lines" amongst aficionados.
Exhaustive research amongst scholars and international collectors of Rolex sports watches has resulted in the identification of only a handful examples of the sought-after "OCC" reference 6538 Submariner. It is understood that only in 1956, year of manufacture of the present watch, Rolex added the "Officially Certified Chronometer" designation to this model.
The watch offered here for sale reveals the best of all ingredients this landmark model can possibly offer to any connoisseur collector. The black gloss dial shows an incredibly charismatic grainy patina which has formed naturally over the years, most probably due to various atmospheric influences and sunlight. Another particularly appealing feature are the attractively discoloured luminous hour markers, now displaying a fascinating sand tone. It is interesting to note that the 6 o'clock marker is showing a lighter tone, a particularity often seen on early Rolex sports watches.
The case, never exposed to careless polishing, impresses any beholder with its full body and sharp angles to the facets of the lugs. Its homogenically bleached bezel now displays a rich grey tone, enhancing the appealing look of this rare timepiece. Most importantly, the red triangle at 12 o'clock has beautifully bleached and displays now a soft rose tone.
A must for the discerning collector, the watch is furthermore accompanied by the period bracelet stamped 3.57 for third quarter of 1957, period guarantee, box, brochures, wallet etc., all rarities by themselves.
Two further examples of reference 6538 with four line printing "Officially Certified Chronometer" are described and illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 185, 206 & 207.
Reference 6538, the upgraded version of reference 6200, was introduced into the market in 1955. It was depth rated to 200 meters (660 ft), featured a 8 mm. crown, no crown guards. The dial with gilt printing, with or without depth rating but with gilt printed designation "Submariner" and "Mercedes" hands, the bezel with red triangle and divisions for the first 15 minutes. Between 1956 and 1958, a special issue of the model was made for the British Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy.
Reference 6538 has come to international fame when prominently worn by 007 Agent James Bond during his stint in "Dr. No". Its first and best remembered appearance was when Bond enters a bar and while lighting a cigarette checks the precise time on his reliable tool watch. As a professional agent would expect, the explosive device previously planted by him blows up on the dot as indicated by his Submariner. Consequently, Bond and his reference 6538 are the only two "guests" to maintain their composure...
It is therefore by no surprise that amongst thoroughbred Rolex aficionados reference 6538 enjoys the most authentic status as "James Bond" model, defined by its masculine case proportions and the large 8 mm. crown without crown guards, lending it an unmistakable look.