Offered here is a very early Rolex Explorer, circa 1958 (serial 28xxxx), bearing the Reference 5504, which was a predecessor to the more common Reference 1016, sharing the same case style in 36mm. The Ref. 5504 appeared around 1957, and was the the first model to feature a black dial with highly luminous “Mercedes” hands and hour markers designed to ensure the watch would be readable in dark condition. The present example is a “gilt” dial, with the words “Rolex” and “Oyster Perpetual” produced in gilt inlay, and “Explorer” and “Super Precision” printed in silver script, making these days a bit more unique.
The watch itself is in excellent vintage condition. The case appears unpolished and sharp, with not a lot of wear. The dial is in great condition, with no major wear, and still showing some gloss life left. The original radium lume is present in the dial, aged to a golden yellow color; the hands have been professionally color-matched to the dial.