Case No. 488,xxx
It is very probable that the same cliché was used to produce both dial variants with and without the SCOC text. The "100m=33ft" depth rating and "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified," are printed using silver ink atop the lacquer layer. "Submariner," however, is stenciled in the black galvanic paint layer. A certificate similar to the one below would have accompanied the watch at the time of purchase. Due to the additional expense and time that it would have taken to get this certification, very few Submariners went through this process and have this dial variant, also known as an "SCOC Dial."
This Submariner 5508 has a very rare dial with "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.
Another interesting characteristic of this rare and unusual example is the insert which is very likely original to the watch. It does not have a a Red Triangle. I would theorize that due to the additional time it would have taken to certify the Chronometer movement, the watch was probably assembled in 1960 with the "Long Five" insert sans the Red Triangle.
Rolex touted its Chronometer rated watches and
adorned them with more accessories. In addition to the Chronometer certificate, there were document holders, chronometer cards and the famous Red Seal hang tag that accompanied watches at the time of purchase..
The hands are made from a metal alloy that was Rhodium plated. They are also 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 original movement is marked "1560," which is a Chronometer rated movement. This is probably one of the first instances of a 1560 movement that is installed in a Submariner model. The earlier model Submariners had 1530 or 1030 movements and we not marked differently than non-Chronometer rated watches. The case back is marked with III. 58 which is from a previous batch, which was a common practice at Rolex. Please see the section on Case Backs. Also of note, is the early "Butterfly" rotor on this movement and brassing.
The luminous material on the dial and hands from 1959 was manually applied Strontium, also called Tritium and has a lower radiation level than Radium material from prior 1958 and prior. This material has a much stronger reaction when exposed to UV light than Radium. Even after the UV light is removed, there is a lasting reaction, especially in a dark environment. Please see the "Luminous" section for further information about of glow-in-the-dark materials used by Rolex.
In 1959, two distinct clasp designs were being commissioned by Rolex from bracelet maker Gay Frères. The Small Logo, which became the standard clasp for the Swiss Rivet bracelets until 1969 and the Big Logo which is coveted by collectors but was only produced until 1960. Additional details about end links and bracelets can be found here.
Small Logo clasp introduced in 1958
Big 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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