Rolex Submariner 5508 'Exclamation Point'Sold
Rolex Submariner 5508 'Exclamation Point'
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The 5508 is the last, and sometimes unfairly overlooked, model among the very earliest Submariner references.
These references stand out especially for their smaller case size and lack of crown guards, which gives them a cool prototype feel compared to later Submariner references. This ref. 5508 from 1962 is a wonderful example.
One of the standout details on the 5508 is the modestly sized 38 mm stainless steel case, which gives this watch a more classic aesthetic compared to later, more tool-oriented, references with their 40 mm cases. And, while crown guards are now considered a quintessential aspect of a Submariner, the 5508 was the last reference to go without them.
This ref. 5508 dates back to 1962 and features a beautiful glossy gilt dial. These dials were created by a galvanic coating process, in which the dial plates were first stamped with a clear coating to define the text and chapter ring, after which a black substance was applied using a chemical binding process. The resulting glossy black finish and gilt details infuse this otherwise reserved tool watch with a radiant glow.
Another important detail on this particular watch is the rare ‘exclamation point’, which refers to the addition of a luminous dot under the rectangular 6 o’clock marker. The purpose of this dot was to indicate that the watch adhered to new and stricter regulations for the use of radioactive materials in consumer goods. By 1963, Rolex adopted the industry standard “swiss-<t25” markings for this purpose, which makes these ‘exclamation point’ dials quite rare and collectible.
The dial on this 5508 is in lovely condition. It features thick painted indices that have patinated to a warm custardy color that match well with the luminous color in the handset. The glossy paint, meanwhile, has developed some cracking around the indices (referred to by collectors as the ‘spider effect’).
The watch is in good condition, especially considering its age. The bezel is in original condition, while the case remains quite thick, meaning that the watch hasn’t been polished to death. The original stainless steel riveted Oyster bracelet shows a fair amount of stretch, as expected for its age, and comes on an original Gay Frères folding clasp.