Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE Hong Kong Monday, November 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1957
    Reference No: 6536/1
    Movement No: N747349
    Case No: 306’865, case back interior further stamped iii.57
    Model Name: Submariner, Small Crown
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel expandable riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet, endlinks stamped 64, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped "4.57"
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The history of a brand is often best explored through the evolution of their models and the Rolex Submariner is one quintessential example. When the reference 6204 was first released in 1954 it was a 37mm diameter dive watch without crown guards and considered an experimental model, along the references 6205 and the professional divers tool watch, the reference 6200 with a depth rating to 200 meters. Comparing the references, one distinguishes small differences and comes to understands how the brand sought to develop a top tool watch with a strong public appeal. Within a few short years, Rolex released the references 6536 “small crown” and 6538 “large crown” as updated versions of the previous models, now sporting different size crowns, Mercedes hands, the Submariner logo and depth rating, the case size stayed the same but the watch is evolving more toward the product that is recognised today as the Rolex Submariner.

    The reference 6536 released in 1955 featured a small Brevet crown at 6mm, compared to its companion piece the 6538 with large crown at 8mm. The present example is differentiated from the 6536 with the addition of the “/1” to the reference number denoting it is a watch with the caliber 1030 and chronometer rating. This watch is in exceptional overall condition with minor shallow wear. The case has thick lugs and strong proportions with crisp clear bevels and factory finish. The black lacquer dial is equally well preserved with the luminous material turning a warm brownish tone, and the 6 o’clock marker noticeably brighter as is expected from the period, which allowed a diver to orient themselves in the dark. The case back is stamped iii.57 with an expandable riveted bracelet from the fourth quarter of 1957 and equally well preserved.

    By 1959, Rolex released the reference 5512 which featured the most noticeable design change with the addition of the crown guard, a feature that today is ubiquitous on many of the brands’ models. The early Submariner examples have become favourites amongst collectors as they offer a window on to the history of the watch and when such a charismatic example like the present lot comes to auction, it is sure to please the most discerning connoisseur.

  • Artist Biography


    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.

    View More Works


Ref. 6536/1
An exceptional and rare stainless steel wristwatch with black lacquered dial and riveted stainless steel bracelet

Circa 1957
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$620,000 - 1,250,000 

Sold for HK$625,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: NINE

Hong Kong Auction 25-26 November 2019