A very fine and very rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, black lacquer dial and big crown

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 6538
    Movement No: N809127
    Case No: 383'746
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Black leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 38 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Alan Peter Olson (1926-1978)
    Literature: For another example of a reference 6538, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 206 and 207.

  • Provenance

    Formerly in the collection of Alan Peter Olson (1926-1978)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 6538 was released in 1955 and ceased production circa 1959. The value and desirability of this reference has increased immensely over the years. The present example is highly charismatic and has so much character. The rarity of the present watch is highlighted by its original insert, big crown and '4 line' black lacquer dial with gilt graphics, 200m=660ft depth rating and 'Officially Certified Chronometer' printed in white.

    The inside case back is stamped 1.58, indicating production of the first quarter of that year and the case still retains very good proportions. The dial is perhaps the most pleasing and rare feature about this big crown Submariner. It has aged consistently over the years, with warm orange lumes. The dial also displays what we today call 'spider webbing' throughout, which is consistent with its age, and now sought after today amongst collectors.

    It is interesting to note that this watch once belonged to Alan Peter Olson (1926-1978), the respected Archeologist and Paleontologist . Olson most notably conducted research on the Ancient Navajos in Arizona during his time as curator of anthropology at the Museum of Northern Arizona. In 1964, Olson discovered new evidence suggesting that prehistoric people, dating as far as 4000 years ago, lived in the Grand Canyon and other major canyon areas in Northern Arizona. Olson wore this exact watch during his many excavations, attesting to both its practicality as a tool watch, and beauty in terms of aesthetics.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Rolex

Ref. 6538
A very fine and very rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, black lacquer dial and big crown

勞力士,非常精細及罕有,不銹鋼腕錶,配中心秒針、黑色漆錶盤及特大錶冠,“Submariner”,型號6538,1958年製

1958
38 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
HK$480,000 - 800,000 

sold for HK$700,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: Two

Hong Kong Auction 31 May 2016