When Rolex introduced the Submariner Ref. 6204 in 1954 at the Basel Watch Fair, the inaugural public offering was destined to drastically define the pages of Rolex model history in its wake. Shortly after making its debut, Rolex introduced a new reference only two years later — the 6538. The 6538 is often colloquially referred to as the “James Bond” Submariner as it was a favorite of the Hollywood 007 himself. Self-professed “Rolex Passion” purveyor, Philipp Stahl, introduces his latest wrist candy via the extremely rare Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 Explorer Dialed 3-6-9, Red Depth, Four Line and Officially Certified Chronometer watch. In contrast to its smaller counterpart the 6536, the 6538 boasts a large crown and a deeper resistance to water at 200m (660 ft.); factors that made it a desirable both then and now.
What is one of its most iconic features, the face of this particular reference boasts, “OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED CHRONOMETER” on the top two lines. The Submariner garners its “Red Depth” moniker through the “200/660” emblazoned across the third line of the face in red giving nod to the augmented water resistance. All of this situated atop the lower line that reads a “SUBMARINER” title in white typeface cohesively furnishes this 6538 as a unique “four line” version. The Explorer Dial features markings notified at the 3-6-9 hour positions. Stahl’s reference 6538 is one of the oldest production models, bearing the serial number run of 140.xxx, the predecessor to the later references that arrived with 145.xxx serial numbers. As Stahl explains, this particular watch finds its history and origins directly from Mexico where it was resold by the son of the original owner — an explanation for the pristine condition of the watch itself.