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Press Release - May 7, 2021

Once Sold for $89, Rare Rolex Submariner Could Fetch $175K at Heritage Auctions

'Holy Grail of series' was popularized by Sean Connery in James Bond films


Rolex, Extremely Rare And Important Submariner
DALLAS, Texas (May 7, 2021) — An extremely rare Rolex that once sold for less than $100 over half a century ago could bring $175,000 or more when it crosses the block in Heritage Auctions' Watches & Fine Timepieces Auction June 1.

The Rolex, Extremely Rare And Important Submariner "Big Crown", Four Liner Dial, Ref. 6538, From The Original Owner, circa 1958 (estimate: $150,000-175,000) is the same model worn by Sean Connery in his portrayal of James Bond in several movies, including Dr. No. The rarest model in the Submariner series, it comes directly from the family of the original owner, who paid $89.65 (plus tax) for it in November 1960, according to the original sale invoice, which is included with this magnificent timepiece.

"This is absolutely the Holy Grail of the Submariner series," Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. "Remember, this watch was meant to be used in rugged situations – diving, exploring. The case is in remarkable condition, making this one of the most honest examples to come to market in years."

The Submariner series comes by its name honestly. It was created specifically for diving under any circumstances, especially for deep divers and those engaged in seagoing activities. Submariner has a special Oyster case unconditionally guaranteed by Rolex to resist pressure to 660 feet below the surface. Divers can lose sense of time underwater, a serious risk considering that accurate and reliable timing is essential for proper decompression when returning to the surface.

That it was favored by Connery's Bond also speaks to the watch's balance between function and visual appeal; Agent 007 was the pinnacle of elegance and sophistication in every film, but he also carried out dangerous stunts while fighting crime – an dual role this extraordinary watch could handle in real life.

In its 61 years, this watch has been serviced just twice – both times by Rolex – and the receipts specifying the work are included with the watch.

"This watch is a superior example of the coveted reference 6538," Wolf said. "The paperwork from the times it was serviced by Rolex verify the exceptional condition in which it has been kept all these years."

For images and information about all lots in the sale, visit

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet's most popular auction-house website,, has more than 1,400,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

Steve Lansdale, Public Relations Specialist

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