In the wake of Sean Connery’s passing at 90 years old last month, Bob’s Watches is bringing the first Rolex “James Bond” Submariner ref. 6538 to auction. The Hollywood legend forever cemented the watch’s fame on the big screen as agent 007 in the first film of the enduring franchise. In 1962’s Dr. No Connery wore 6538 that rumor speculates was on loan from the film’s producer, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
The model on offer actually dates back to 1957, five years before Connery would put it in the spotlight. Known for its big crown, the ref. 6538 comes with a perfectly faded bezel and creamy hued dial markers, adding to its vintage appeal. The 38 mm piece (estimate $170,000-$200,000) is equipped with the caliber 1030 and comes on an Oyster Rivet bracelet.
The “Fresh Finds” sale offers a handful of coveted Rolexes—all of which are models worn by famous actors on and off the silver screen—including a “Paul Newman” Daytona ref. 6239 ($175,000-$225,000), a Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542 ($150,000-$200,000) worn by Honor Blackman when she played Pussy Galore in the 1964 Bond outing Goldfinger, and a Rolex Submariner ref. 5512 ($30,000-$35,000) known as a daily wear of Steve McQueen. Plus, in a more recent addition to the James Bond hall of fame, an Omega Seamaster 300 ($7,000-$10,000) which Daniel Craig showed off during his turn as everyone’s favorite spy in his fourth run out as Bond, Spectre, in 2015.
Three years on from the sale of Newman’s own Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 for $17.8 million, the chronograph continues to be the must-have Rolex among collectors and remains the king of the auction block for the crown. But unlike the sale of this reference at big-name auction houses, Bob’s Watches is offering the piece without a buyer’s premium, meaning there are no hidden fees—what you bid, if you win, is what you pay. That’s an enticing proposition for any would-be Santa Claus, whether buying for oneself or, rather generously, for a loved one. The 37 mm 6239 dates to roughly 1968 and houses the caliber 772-1.
The steel GMT-Master, however, is still hot. When Rolex released a new version in 2018 on a steel Jubilee bracelet it instantly reached prices for double its retail value of $9,250 on the secondary market. Naturally, prices for earlier vintage models soared. This ref. 6542, from 1958, features an original glossy gilt chapter ring, warm yellow markers and hands and its original hands. The minute hand is partially missing some lume, but serious collectors value original parts over refurbishing.
But if dropping six-figures feels like a risky investment right now, the no-date ref. 5512 Submariner circa 1966 or the relatively new Omega Seamaster 300 are still likely to prove wise investments. Rolex just released a new 41 mm Rolex no-date Sub, so prices will continue to rise, especially for smaller 40 mm sizes in vintage references. Even the Omega limited-edition Seamaster 300 has climbed in price in the last five years. It originally retailed for €6,400 (approximately $6,823 in 2015) and now goes for nearly double the amount.
Bidding is open now through Monday, November 23.