Though there have seen sparking the topic of collectable Bond watches over the years (including his latest Omega Seamaster), the Rolex 6538—AKA the Bond Submariner, AKA the Rolex Big Crown Submariner—remains hugely sought after by collectors.
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 featured collector look for. Ref 6538 utilizes a calibre 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 centre 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.
Connery wore the classic Submariner during the filming of Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball, forever cementing its position as an icon of that era. The luxury watch performed numerous tasks that helped 007 complete the mission at hand, and through each film, it appears on a variety of different strap combinations. Produced between 1954 and 1959, few of these gems have survived unscathed, and are often seen fetching between $200,000 and over $500,000 at auction in recent years, a really expensive watch.
Powered by Rolex’s calibre 1030 self-winding movement, the 38mm cased Submariner’s proportions are falling back into favour in recent years. Other than some heavy patina on its indices and the often scuffed bezel insert, a pristine example is the sort of thing that could almost pass for a modern reissue.