Rolex. An extremely rare stainless steel automatic watch with Explorer red depth rating dial  Submariner 'Explorer', Ref: 6538, Circa 1956

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Lot 91
Rolex. An extremely rare stainless steel automatic watch with Explorer red depth rating dial
Submariner 'Explorer', Ref: 6538, Circa 1956

Sold for £ 181,250 (US$ 220,527) inc. premium
Rolex. An extremely rare stainless steel automatic watch with Explorer red depth rating dial
Model: Submariner 'Explorer'
Reference: 6538
Date: Circa 1956
Movement: 25-jewel Cal.1030 automatic, Breguet overcoil balance spring, balance with timing and adjusting screws, adjusted to 5 positions and temperature, No.609***
Dial: Black, red 200/660 depth rating, luminous baton hour markers, Arabic numeral 'Explorer' quarters, outer gilt minute markers, mercedes hands
Case: Brushed and polished tonneau form, screw down back and big crown, inside back date coded I.56, black calibrated bezel insert, No.140***
Signed: Case, dial & movement
Size: 37mm

Footnotes

  • This watch was one of the watches presented to the crew of the
    clipper the 'Sovereign' when it took part in the America's cup in
    1964. The watch comes from the son of the original owner. The dial has
    a very distinctive patina probably caused by exposure to salt water
    and conjures images of crossing the inhospitable Atlantic in racing
    conditions, doing whatever it took to get there first. Typically the Oyster
    case protected the movement completely.

    This Red depth rating dial ref.6538 is one of the earliest submariners.
    The red depth is printed without any mention of the units used and
    was likely only in the first examples. Later models have the units
    indicated. The Red depth indication is only found on the 'Explorer'
    style dial (using just 3, 6 and 9 for the hour markers) a rarity in itself
    without the Red Depth. Another desirable feature for this reference
    is the large crown of 8mm. All of the red depth watches that have
    appeared are numbered 140,xxx suggesting that they were only ever
    produced in one batch.
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