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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 'James Bond' Submariner Ref. 5508 - T-25 White Text, Chapter Ring Dial - c.1959


A Vintage Reference 5508 - Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner ‘James Bond’ Wrist Watch with Small Crown - c.1959

A rare and highly-prized piece of watchmaking history, this vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner wristwatch (Rolex reference, 5508) has been around since 1959.

Three years later, Sean Connery would wear a close sibling of this Submariner (ref. 6538) as James Bond in ‘Dr No’ - the very first Bond film ever made. This earned the watch its ‘James Bond’ nickname and Connery was also seen wearing a Submariner in subsequent installments (including ‘Thunderball’ and ‘From Russia with Love’), forever linking the model with the iconic British spy. Two other iterations of the Submariner from similar years, the 5508 (pictured here) and the 5510 are considered so similar to the 6538 (the crown is a different size and the 12 o'clock arrow red on the 6538) that they are also now termed 'The 007 Rolex'. 

A much desired, rare and sought-after collectible Rolex reference! The watch has a serial number of 489xxx, dating its production year to 1959 with a fair degree of accuracy.

The watch is fitted with a matte chapter ring dial in black with tritium lume and white 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner' text. The 'Swiss - t < 25' dial markings at 6 o'clock indicating it is an official service replacement dial from Rolex. The dial's age, the fact it is a Tritium dial and the patina suggests the dial will have been replaced at Rolex many years, if not decades, ago. The hands and the Tritium plots have faded beautifully with age, taking on a creamy, golden vanilla patina. The hands were likely changed at the same time as the dial but have taken a slightly deeper tone than the plots. A small piece of the Tritium lume is missing on the hour hand within the 'Mercedes' hour ring which we have left as is for the watch's integrity. 

What’s On Offer 

This rare and much sought-after vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner is in full working order. It is supplied on a calf leather vintage looking suede strap, though options can be discussed here so please contact us if you have an alternative preference here.

The piece is in excellent overall condition for its age, with its black dial just beginning to age to a beautiful chocolate brown giving it a lovely tropical looking patina. Along with the expected micro marks, commensurate with age, there are two scuffs on the lower left lug and one mark on the upper right, though we feel that this adds character to such an otherwise well-preserved watch. This is definitely a watch that needs to be experienced in the flesh to appreciate its true beauty; we hope you'll agree that it looks even better in person than in the photos once you see it. This watch will be supplied with a period correct Rolex box: in and of itself a rarity. 

The watch is priced well for such a rare reference having taken consideration of its overall condition and the service dial and hands!

Additional information

Made from

Case: Stainless steel

Dial: Black with chapter ring, swiss t 25 Rolex service dial.

Crystal: Plexiglas

Bracelet: Leather Strap 

Technical specifications

Winding: Automatic/Manual wind

Movement type: Automatic

Calibre: 1530

Jewels: 17 jewels (this movement later received 25 and then 26 jewels, but initial production ran at 17).

Waterproof: When new 

Purchase details

Condition: In full working order and good overall condition for age. 

Model Reference Number: 5508

Date of issue: 1959


Supplied with a 12-month Vintage Watch Specialist guarantee  


Width: 38mm

Lug width: 20 mm

Height (lug to lug): 47.5 mm

Wrist size: Adjustable