You’ll find James Bond wearing an Omega Seamaster these days, but the very first timepiece he wore was actually a Rolex Submariner. In the inaugural James Bond film, Dr. No (1962) Sean Connery wore a Submariner ref 6538, forever cementing the Submariner as the original watch of 007. This reference is characterized by an oversized winding crown and a case without crown-guards. While later-era Submariners were also worn in James Bond films, the ref 6538 has the distinction of being called the “James Bond” Submariner.
The Rolex “Mil-Sub”, a compound of the words “Military” and “Submariner”, refers to watches that were produced for the British Ministry of Defense. Beginning in 1957, Rolex produced four different references that were modified to meet the requirements of the British Armed Forces – the ref 6538 and 6540 in the 195s, and the ref 5513 and 5517 in the 1970s. Mil-Subs feature sword-shaped hands, fully-demarcated bezel inserts, bars between the lugs and dials with circled T markings to denote the use of tritium.