The production of the Submariner 5508 ended in 1962 with several dial variants all using Tritium luminous material. The "Exclamation" dial is aptly named after a small dollop of luminous material below the 6:00 marker. It was used to signify that Tritium luminous material was used on the dial and therefore less radiation was present. About a year later, Rolex standardized on the industry standard "swiss-<t25."
Submariner 5508 - “Exclamation” ca. 1962
Case No. 762,976
Case No. 764,292
When Rolex first started using Tritium luminous material in 1959, there were no markings or distinction from dials intended for use with Radium. In this example, it appears that we have an early dial and hands with Tritium luminous material that were probably manufactured in 1959. It appears they were finally installed in a watch from the final production run of the Submariner 5508 in 1962. Rolex was known for efficiency and frugality in the use of parts, especially when it came to expensive dials. It would not be surprising that Rolex put these left over dials and hands from a few years prior, and assembled them into watches. Of course, this is only a theory, and there may other plausible explanations.
Case No. 763,4xx
This Submariner 5508 has on of the few dials that have "Four Lines" above the 6:00 marker as opposed to the standard two. The additional lines, "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified," also called "SCOC," signify that the movement was officially tested and certified by the "Bureaux Suisses" (Swiss Institutes for Official Chronometre Adjustment Tests) for accuracy.
The hands are made with steel that is chrome or lightly gold plated, similar to the above example. However, due to oxidation, the mounted hands have can develop a matte finish. The hands are flat on top, a design that came to be known by collectors as "Gilt Hands." When the hands move about the face of the dial, the sweep-seconds hand appears to lightly graze the "Chapter" ring of the minute track. When it briefly glides over the minute hand, they are perfectly aligned.
The luminous material on the dial and hands was manually applied Tritium. The glow that emanates from the Tritium material on the dial and hands is even and relatively bright when exposed to UV light. It is in stark contrast compared to the faint speckled glow that comes from Radium. The Tritium also has a relatively low Geiger reading. Please see Luminous Material section for more examples and detailed information.
The outer case back is flat and reference number 5508 is stamped inside the case back with a date code. Please visit the section on Rolex Date Codes for more information. The Submariner 5508 is powered by the Rolex 1530 Automatic movement. The Submariner 5508 also uses the #16 crystal that fits the Submariner 6536-1.
By 1962, Rolex was using the Small Logo clasp bracelet with solid rivet links, manufactured by Gay Frères. The reference number 7206 was stamped on the underside of one of the links for the first time in 1962. The Submariner 5508 uses the 80 end links. Additional details about end links and bracelets can be found here.
Small Logo clasp introduced in 1958
Rolex also contracted with C&I to make bracelets in the United States. The import duties on Swiss made bracelets was becoming cost prohibitive and it made more economic sense to have a US based manufacturer. C&I produced Hollow Rivet bracelets with unmarked end links that have a markedly lighter gauge than Swiss made bracelets. Additional details about end links and bracelets can be found here.
US Made C&I Rivet Bracelet 1958
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