The Submariner 6536-1, having the earlier caliber 1030 movement, was phased out in 1959. It was replaced with the Submariner 5508, introduced the prior year, which was fitted with the newer caliber 1530 movement. In this final run, small cosmetic changes were made to the dial and hands. Although the Submariner 6536-1 still had Radium luminous material applied, the 6:00 marker was no longer a lighter color. The depth rating was printed in silver instead of gold ink, a move clearly to help its legibility. The hour and minute hands were no longer gold plated, instead they were finished in chrome, in the same style used with the GMT Master and Explorer models.
Submariner 6536-1 - “Silver Depth” ca. 1959
Case No. 399,430
The luminous material on the dial and hands was manually applied Radium like most Small Crowns from the 1950s. Although it no longer glows in the dark, the Radium still has a distinct "speckled" glow when exposed to UV Light and has a relatively high Geiger reading as well. Please see the "Luminous" section for further information about characteristics of glow-in-the-dark materials used by Rolex.
The hands are made from a metal alloy that was gold-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 outer case back is flat and the reference number 6536/1 is stamped inside the case back with a date code. The Submariner 6536-1 is powered by the Rolex 1030 Automatic movement. The Submariner 6536-1 and Submariner 5508 were made concurrently, but the Submariner 6536-1 was phased out in 1959.
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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