1958 Rolex Submariner (Ref. 6538) Big Crown "4-Line Dial"
The Rolex Submariner Reference 6538 is an icon and a legend. The Rolex Submariner is the purest representation of the diver's tool watch, period. Nicknamed by the watch collector aficionado community the "Big Crown" The Rolex Submariner 6538 has a special place in Rolex and watch collecting history as it the original James Bond Submariner. Of course, other Submariner references including the 5508 and 6205 have been given the nickname "Bond Sub", but the Submariner ref. 6538 is the original Submariner that was worn by Sean Connery in the early 007 James Bond films.
The Rolex "Big Crown" Submariners are one of the most captivating value propositions currently in vintage Rolex collecting. This is due to known examples becoming increasingly harder to source, which is a result of low production numbers and increasingly high desirability within the vintage Rolex collector community. Accessibility to prime examples is diminishing, and pricing is increasing due to the collector market retaining known examples within their collections. This leaves only the very few examples to make it out of collections or to still be discovered appear primarily in auctions and private sales, just a couple of times per year.
Outside of being a beautiful example of a Rolex Submariner 6538 overall, this specific example displays a 4 line dial which also sets it apart from other 6538's within the same production period. The 4 lines of text located just above the 6 o'clock position the dial include the standard model name and depth rating but also includes the text "Officially Certified Chronometer" aka OCC making this example even more special. Not all 6538's display the 4 lines of text due to not all of the ref. 6538's over the course of production received an officially certified chronometer rated Rolex 1030 movement which if you look closely at the 1030 movement within this example and other "4-Liner" 6538's you will see the movement displays an engraved bridge with the text "adjusted 5 positions and temperature". Officially certified movements were of course more expensive for Rolex to produce which increased the price of the watches that utilized certified movements. But, of course, this level of accurate timekeeping wasn't always required by the end-user, and Rolex offered both non-OCC and OCC certified movements during the same time period. It is believed that only 30% of the 6538's produced received the certified 1030 movements and the 4 line dials making them much rarer and thus much more collectible today.
|Dial||Glossy Gilt Chapter Ring|
|Strap||Rolex Oyster Rivet Bracelet W/ 80 End Pieces|
The beautiful and early-style Submariner case retains its classic broad chamfers in sharp condition along with strong brushing down the lugs, it is believed the case was lightly refurbished in the past but the factory dimensions appear unchanged as the lugs are very thick and symmetrical. The classic screw-down “big crown” is almost certainly original to the watch with the correct Rolex coronet and Brevet text. The brass bezel and "long 5" red triangle insert are in excellent overall vintage condition and show the patina and minor degradation common in the red triangle inserts of this era. The serial and reference numbers remain visible between the lugs. The “U.S.A. Made” Rolex Oyster-Rivet stretch bracelet came to us with the watch and is stamped 78, and so was most likely replaced at one of the watch's earlier service intervals. The stretch bracelet has 12 links and remains tight showing minimal stretch.
The early gilt chapter ring “4-line” dial has aged to an extremely attractive patina that retains its glossy original finish throughout. The gilt “Rolex” text, outer minute track, and marker surrounds are a vibrant gold. The four lines of text at the 6 o’clock position remain intact and legible, showing light age. The radium lume plots remain in exceptional condition and retain a domed shape with beautiful sandy coloration, under U.V. light inspection the lume plots exhibit minimal degradation and the 6 o’clock marker glows brightly which is correct for this dial variation. The radium lume filled gilt hands match the dial perfectly and remain fully intact, showing no lume degradation under U.V. light inspection or under magnification. Based on our inspection we believe the white sweep-seconds hand is original although it does seem to have been repainted at some point. The watch also provides a correct and strong Geiger reading as to be expected with early radium luminous material from this specific era.
None. The watch was recently serviced and is keeping time perfectly, back by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.