Submariner 6536-1 - “OCC” ca. 1959

Case No. 399,xxx

This Submariner 6536-1 has a very rare dial with "Four Lines" above the 6:00 marker as opposed to the standard two. The additional lines, "Officially Certified Chronometer," also called "OCC," signify that the movement was officially tested and certified by the "Bureaux Suisses" (Swiss Institutes for Official Chronometre Adjustment Tests) for accuracy.

It is very probable that the same cliché was used to produce both dial variants with and without the OCC text. The "100m=33ft" depth rating and "Officially Certified Chronometer," are printed using silver ink atop the lacquer layer. "Submariner," however, is stenciled in the black galvanic paint layer. A certificate similar to the one below would have accompanied the watch at the time of purchase. Due to the additional expense and time that it would have taken to get this certification, very few Submariners went through this process and have this dial variant, also known as an "OCC Dial."

Rolex touted its Chronometer rated watches and

adorned them with more accessories. In addition to the Chronometer certificate, there were document holders, chronometer cards and the famous Red Seal hang tag that accompanied watches at the time of purchase..

 

The luminous material on the dial and hands was manually applied Radium like most Small Crowns from the 1950s. Although it no longer glows in the dark, the Radium still has a distinct "speckled" glow when exposed to UV Light and has a relatively high Geiger reading as well. Please see the "Luminous" section for further information about characteristics of glow-in-the-dark materials used by Rolex.

 

The hands are made from a metal alloy that was gold-plated. They are also flat on top, a design that came to be known by collectors as "Gilt Hands." When the hands move about the face of the dial, the sweep-seconds hand appears to lightly graze the "Chapter" ring of the minute track. When it briefly glides over the minute hand, they are perfectly aligned.

The outer case back is flat and the reference number 6536/1 is stamped inside the case back with a date code. The Submariner 6536-1 is powered by the Rolex 1030 Automatic movement. The Submariner 6536-1 and Submariner 5508 were made concurrently, but the Submariner 6536-1 was phased out in 1959.

In 1959, two distinct clasp designs were being commissioned by Rolex from bracelet maker Gay Frères. The Small Logo, which became the standard clasp for the Swiss Rivet bracelets until 1969 and the Big Logo which is coveted by collectors but was only produced until 1960. Additional details about end links and bracelets can be found here.

Small Logo clasp introduced in 1958

Big Logo clasp introduced in 1958

Rolex also contracted with C&I to make bracelets in the United States. The import duties on Swiss made bracelets was becoming cost prohibitive and it made more economic sense to have a US based manufacturer. C&I produced Hollow Rivet bracelets with unmarked end links that have a markedly lighter gauge than Swiss made bracelets. Additional details about end links and bracelets can be found here.

US Made C&I Rivet Bracelet 1958

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