Submariner 6536-1 - “Red Depth” ca. 1955

Case No. 112,1xx


After the Submariner 6536-1 was first introduced in 1955, it remained in production for four years, longer than any previous Submariner reference up to that point. Although the case and movement remained a constant, there were many changes in the  design of the dial, hands and bezel inlay. These subtle but noticeable differences make it a joyous reference for aficionados to study and collect.

The first series of the Submariner 6536-1 that were produced in 1955 had the coveted "Red Depth" rating. The same early batch also had the distinct "Long Neck" hour hand. These two characteristics were phased out by the following year.

The depth rating was printed in red ink and the "Submariner" model name was printed in gold, both atop of the lacquer layer the same method used in the preceding Submariner 6536/8. Both dials also have a lighter color marker at 6:00 and even the graphics on the dials appear to match as well. However, the dials are not identical or interchangeable. Due to the difference in case thickness, the Submariner 6536-1 dial and its minute track have a diameter that is 1mm larger. In addition, the minute hand and sweep seconds are .5mm longer on the Submariner 6536-1.


It is easy to understand why some collectors consider these early dial variants to be most desirable. The graphics on the dial have a vibrant gold brass color, in strong contrast to the glossy black lacquer background. The Gilt hands are also unique on this early 6536-1, having the Long Neck hour hand and the Big Bubble sweep seconds hand. But the Red Depth rating is definitely the most eye-catching feature of the dial. The red ink really pops on the black surface as it catches the light in three dimensions, having been printed atop the lacquer layer.

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 "Big Bubble" 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 reference number 6536-1 is stamped inside the case back. In addition, a date code appears for the first time since the initial batch of the Submariner 6204 from 1953. There is another stamp with the number "18" below the date code, which is a hallmark that stands for the grade of "Stainless Steel that was used.

The 6536-1 is powered by the Rolex 1030 Automatic Movement. The outer case back is flat


The brass bezel once had nickel plating that has oxidized or worn away with age. The 6536/8 has a slightly bigger knurling than previous Small Crowns. The early "no-hash" inlay has a small divot to accommodate a dollop of luminous material that would typically fall away. The Submariner 6536-1 uses the #16 crystal, the same reference that is used on all Small Crown Submariners except the Submariner 6536/8.


The case profile on the reference 6536-1 is 3mm thinner than the Submariner 6536/8 and Big Crown Submariners. Due to the flat case back it is also almost a millimeter thinner than the Submariner 6204/6205. The width of the case is sans crown, is 37mm, which is .5mm narrower than the Submariner 6536/8 and Big Crown Submariners. The sides have a light satin finish as well as the tops of lugs.


The crown size is 6mm, the same size that was installed on all Small Crowns since the Submariner 6205.  It also has the well known "+" symbol ("Swiss Made") below the crown logo.

The Submariner 6536-1 was fitted with a spring loaded Swiss rivet bracelet was made for Rolex by world renowned Gay Frères. The 20mm fixed end links are typically marked "65" or "64" and the  clasp has a stamped quality control date code. is intended for informational purposes only and is in no way sponsored, endorsed,

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