This early production reference 5508 vintage Rolex Submariner is museum quality. Rolex presented this watch to its original owner as a gesture of gratitude after the owner filmed a documentary for Rolex in 1958. We purchased the watch from the owner’s son, who not only wrote a letter talking about his Dad and the watch, but also sent us many pictures of the camera man wearing this 5508 in different locations including in his studio. In addition, we have letters of congratulations from his employer NBC News dated 1968 for his being named “Cameraman of the Year”. Another letter from 1965 congratulates him for his work on a film about Vietnam. My favorite photograph shows him behind his camera, overlooking Los Angeles in the 1960s, with the 5508 prominently shown; in fact, I like this picture so much I blew it up and framed it and have it hanging in my home.
The watch itself is spectacular. Rolex in Geneva told the owner that Rolex New York would always take care of his watch, which they did and a quick look inside the case back shows its many visits to Rolex New York. The watch was kept 100% original right through its last service in 2003.
Original stainless steel case with no crown guards, also known as the “James Bond”, measures 38mm diameter by 12.6mm thick. Original bezel turns as it should and the original bezel insert has the red triangle in its zero position. Original screw down crown operates smoothly. Domed plastic crystal. Lugs are fat and uniformly proportioned. Case is near mint and 100% original.
Original untouched 100% original black gilt dial features perfect patina across the hour markers and on the original hands. Dial has crazing on the lacquer and is in mint condition.
Original automatic winding Rolex Caliber 1530 with 25 jewels is in pristine condition and running great.
Rolex riveted USA Oyster bracelet with date code 7-72 with 10 links has light stretch and surface wear, in near mint condition.
We believe this is the nicest Rolex Submariner reference 5508 on the planet. It is an early 5508 supported by extensive and interesting provenance.