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The history that unites Rolex with the conquest of the oceans goes back to 1927, when Mercedes Gleitze (1900-1981), a young British swimmer, swam across the English Channel (October 7), with a Rolex “Oyster Perpetual” on her wrist. It is the first water-resistant wristwatch in the history of horology, with a screw-down winding- and setting-crown and case-back.
The “Submariner” model appeared in 1953. At that time, the watch was water-resistant to 100 metres. The first models, without crown protection (or crown-guard), are today nicknamed “James Bond” after the watch Reference 6538 worn by “Agent 007”, played on the screen by Sean Connery (1930-2020), in the films “Dr. No” (1962), “From Russia with Love” (1963) and “Goldfinger” (1964). There are two types of “James Bond” Rolex, which can be distinguished according to the size of the crown: small or large.
Immediately recognizable by its lacquered dial, marked “Swiss Only”, the absence of a crown-guard and the large crown (Ø 8 mm.), the Reference 5510 was only produced for one year, from the end of 1958 to 1959, hence its extreme rarity. Moreover, it is the last of the “James Bond” “Big Crown” watches to have been produced.
Beyond the obvious link with this 7th Art myth, these models remains a milestone in the history of diving watches.