Offered here is an incredibly early version of a Rolex “Small Crown” Submariner, Reference 5508, popularized by its use by James Bond in the films of the same name. This example dates to 1959, and has a radium dial before Rolex transitioned away from radium and applied the luminous material with tritium. Further, it retains its original, rare, and very valuable original “red triangle” bezel insert, which was used on these Submariners until 1959, and were more often than not replaced and discarded over the years; this particular “red triangle” is by far the rarest, only produced in 1959, and almost impossible to track down.
This Rolex Submariner is absolutely stunning, overall extremely attractive and well-preserved. The case appears unpolished, with beautiful original beveled edges, with normal wear from use. The dial is still glossy, aged to a striking tropical caramel color, with no major damage or scratches, and shows very fine and light cracking to the lacquer (“spidering”), which is very common in these early gilt-dial watches. Further, the original radium lume is present on both dial and hands, aged to an attractive yellow color. The bezel insert, as previously mentioned, is the original red triangle bezel (with original brass bezel assembly), in good condition, showing normal wear from use over the years.
Finally, the watch comes equipped on a later Rolex Swiss rivet 7206 bracelet, with 80 endlinks. The bracelet has 11 full links and almost no stretch, and dates to 1960.