James Bond's rarest Rolex is going up for auction
Along with extrajudicial killings and flagrant affairs, James Bond liked his watches.
Very much so. From Ian Fleming's original imagining to the Roger Moore of Octopussy, 007 has enjoyed multiple watches including (but not limited to) Omega, Hamilton and Rolex. And a key Bond memento from the latter is now up for grabs at Sotheby's.
As per the oral history of Dr. No, the Big Crown Submariner ref. 6538 was loaned to Sean Connery by producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli: the closest relative to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual of Fleming's novels which, in fact, did not actually exist. The 6538 - a piece that ceased production in 1959 - has been considered something of a rarity ever since its starring role, and although Connery's specific wristwear isn't on auction, the model is still a highly desirable piece due to the big Bond connection.
The vintage Rolex bit helps, too.
The piece in question boasts several features that'd send an ardent horologist into self-destruct mode. First, there's the tropical dial, which has evolved into a chocolate brown shade over time. Once thought of as a ball drop on Rolex's part, it's since become a prized attribute by collectors. Moreover, text to the dial that proves the watch's COSC accreditation (that's the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres to non-watch folk - a sign of rigorous testing and accuracy) separates this particular piece from the first Big Crown Submariners. Hallmarks of collectability are in the detail, of which the the ref. 6538 has many.
Fancy your chances? Well, you're not alone. With the piece expected to fetch between £149,000 to £232,000 at auction, there'll be serious competition to own a cousin of Bond's celluloid history. And if that wasn't enough, final prices regularly exceed estimates in lots of great rarity. Hurrah!