For a very small number of cases produced in the middle of 1955, Rolex doubled up on references. They wrote 6538, crossed off, and rewrote 6536 to re-designate a small crown. It is not clear if this was done intentionally as a transitional model or as a simple repurposing of existing cases. Either way, the 6536/8 is exceptionally rare. Rolex don’t make mistakes. Except the Air King double 9. And blackout Explorer. And spider gloss. Okay… maybe they do. But what a beautiful way to trip up.
In addition, this is a red-depth dial, an extra touch of rarity. Red-depth dials were only used at the very start of the double reference, marking this out as a particularly early example. Rolex was still testing the lower limit of depth in this era and simply wrote 100/330 above submariner. Radium plots are still whole and everything is patinated evenly as it should be. Even the case is unpolished. The gilt hand set has a warm tone matched perfectly by the chapter ring, not faded. This level of condition and scarcity will likely attract a huge premium over a 6536, but it deserves to. Not many completely original subs of this era remain. If you like early tool-era Rolex, you have to love this example.
Find it here from OBW Collection for an undisclosed sum.