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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1955
    Reference No: 6536; inside caseback marked 6538 and 6536
    Movement No: 570’213
    Case No: 89’313
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1030, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster C&I extendable bracelet, max length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped C&I and Rolex U.S.A. and “7-62”
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex box and hang tag.

  • Catalogue Essay

    An early, transitional Submariner between the small crown 6536 and the “Big Crown” 6538, the present 6536/6538 is an extraordinary find. Phillips has offered only one other example in 2016, and less than a dozen are publicly known - all bearing case numbers beginning with 89'XXX dating to 1955.

    With dials bearing a unique red depth rating, these models are especially noteworthy in that their casebacks have 6538 crossed-out and are re-engraved with 6536. These casebacks were originally intended for the “Big Crown” reference 6538 model, but were re-worked by Rolex for this incredibly rare transitional model.

    Preserved in stunning and exceptional condition, this reference 6536 is an incredibly original and well-preserved example. The robust case boasts thick bevels and strong proportions. The dial is preserved in equally attractive and impressive condition, having aged beautifully over the past seven decades. The luminous marker at 6 o'clock is notably brighter than the other luminous hour markers. This feature allowed divers to orient themselves in the dark, and is seen in other 6536/6538 examples. It’s long hour hand, early non-hash bezel insert, and ornate engraving inside the center of the caseback are reminiscent of the iconic reference 6200 “Big Crown” Submariner.

    Most exceptionally, the caseback and bracelet preserve the history of the original owner, a Mr. Frank Dominic from Ohio, who served in the Leetonia Police Department beginning in 1960, as well as in the Fire Department and as a school bus driver after his retirement from the police department. He was born in 1922 as the son of Italian immigrants Tommaso and Maria, who changed their name from Domanico to Dominic. His brothers Fred and Anthony served in the military during World War II – as they were both younger than him, Frank likely served alongside them.

  • Artist Biography

    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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110

Ref. 6536; inside caseback marked 6538 and 6536
A very rare and early stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with black gilt dial, red depth rating, and bracelet

Circa 1955
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

Estimate
$40,000 - 80,000 
CHF36,700-73,400
€33,900-67,800
HK$310,000-620,000

Sold for $88,200

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020