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Up for grabs is an exceptionally rare Rolex Submariner, Reference 5512, circa 1961. This particular example features an early “PCG” or Pointed Crown Guards case; however, what really makes this one special is the dial. The dial fitted on this Submariner is the so-called “Explorer” dial, named for its resemblance to the dial of an Explorer, which features an arabic 3, 6 and 9 marker (as opposed to a normal hash or circle-shaped lume plot). Only a few of these dials come to market over the years, and are highly coveted by collectors.
Further, the dial fitted on this specific example is an “exclamation” dial, having a very small lume dot below the 6 marker; the exclamation dials were transitional for Rolex, as they moved away from using radium in their luminous material. While radium can still be detected on exclamation dials, the level of radium used was very low, combined with a mixture of what Rolex ended up using thereafter – tritium.
This iconic Rolex Submariner is in good vintage condition. The case appears only very lightly polished, with thick and even lugs, and the original beveled edges clearly visible in the lugs. The dial shows wear and age, as most of the 3-6-9 dials do that have survived over the years; most notably, an even patina caused by pitting under the black lacquer, a very common problem that plagued this particular dial, which gives the dial a “pimply” look at certain angles. That being said, the dial is very attractive for an Explorer-dial Submariner, with no chips, marks, or scratches, and no loss to the lacquer finish. The original radium-tritium lume mixture is present on both dial and hands, aged to a golden yellow color. The original “fat font” bezel insert shows some light wear, and has aged to a lovely light navy hue.
The watch comes fitted on a Rolex Oyster stretch-rivet 6636/58 bracelet, dated slightly later to 1965, and has 11 full links, with no stretch.