Rare ‘James Bond’ Rolex going under the hammer

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A rare Rolex made famous by Sean Connery in the very first James Bond movie, “Dr. No,” is set to go under the hammer Wednesday.

And while the watch doesn’t feature a laser cutter, detonator or any other hidden gadgets, it could still fetch up to $280,000, according to estimates.

The stainless steel collector’s item is believed to have been produced in 1958. Four years later, Connery would wear a version of the timepiece — a Rolex Submariner 6538 — during his first outing as the British spy, earning it the nickname the “James Bond Submariner.”

The auction house behind the sale, Sotheby’s, notes that the watch’s brown dial has faded, though the luminous hour markers remain intact. The item is “free from significant marks and scratches,” according to the sale catalog.

Courtesy Sotheby’s

Even without its movie connections, the timepiece would still be of value to collectors, Sotheby’s said. It describes the item as “an incredibly rare variation of an already highly collectable (watch),” estimating that it will sell for between $180,000 and $280,000.

Author Ian Fleming, who himself wore a Rolex Explorer, described Bond sporting the watchmaker’s creations in a number of his novels. The spy’s penchant for the brand was often recreated on screen, with Connery seen wearing a Submariner in subsequent installments, including “Thunderball” and “From Russia With Love.”

Other Bond actors, including Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby, also wore Rolexes on screen — though later timepieces were sometimes depicted containing elaborate gadgets, including a circular saw and a remote detonator.

This week’s online sale, which opens to bidders Wednesday, features a further 13 Rolexes, alongside luxury watches by Omega, Heuer and Patek Philippe. On Thursday, a fully restored Aston Martin DB5 used by Bond in 1964’s “Goldfinger” will go up for auction in Monterey, California, where it’s expected to attract bids of up to $6 million.

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