1958 Rolex Submariner (Ref. 6538) "Big Crown" James Bond


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 its 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 with 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.

This specific example from 1958 remains in "as-found condition" and is in downright stunning. The dial is glossy and retains its original mirror-like finish. The lume plots and hands show no visible degradation and remain fully intact which is rare and of course, highly sought after among the watch collecting community. The original "long 5" red triangle insert is extremely rare and remains in remarkable condition. This example is prime and worthy of the most decerning collector.

Stock # RLXSM6538
Brand Rolex
Style Submariner
Model 6538
Serial 426XXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Glossy Gilt Chapter Ring
Millimeters 38mm
Strap Rolex Oyster Rivet Bracelet W/ 80 End Pieces



This early Rolex 6538 case shows signs of a previous polishing yet remains thick, full, and even. The case retains its original crown showing the Rolex coronet and Brevet text. The brass bezel and "long 5" red triangle insert are original to the watch and remain in wonderful condition showing honest wear and patina from use. The Rolex oyster bracelet was sourced with the watch and is stamped 2/61 which was most likely replaced at one of the watches early service intervals. The Rolex Oyster rivet bracelet with early 80 end pieces is in amazing condition, showing minimal stretch and retains 11 links.


The glossy gilt chapter ring dial and gilt hands are extremely well preserved, showing some age but remain in very remarkable condition. The dial is glossy and remains mirror-like in appearance, the dial does show some surface lacquer spidering as can be seen in the photos but is honest and original to the watch. Under U.V. light the radium lume plots are in superb condition, remaining fully intact and "dome-like" in shape which is uncommon to see from lume of this era. The original radium gilt hands have aged slightly darker than the dial, which is common for early radium, but remain fully intact and show no visible lume degradation when inspected under U.V. light and under magnification. The white sweep-seconds hand is original and is a charming and notable characteristic for early "Big Crown" Submariners. The watch also provides a correct and strong Geiger reding as to be expected with early radium luminous material from this specific era.


None. The watch is keeping time accurately but the extended service history is unknown.