CASE DIAMETER: 36mm
CASE MATERIAL: STAINLESS STEEL
BRACELET MATERIAL: STAINLESS STEEL
At Fathom, we have the privilege of encountering a diverse array of timepieces, among which this Rolex Explorer 5504 from 1957 stands out as a noteworthy example. This watch is a paragon of preservation, maintaining its originality with a radium dial and hands—a trait that garners high esteem among serious collectors.
The Explorer 5504, which debuted circa 1957 and had a production run of approximately one year, is predominantly found with model serials ranging from 221 to the late 300s. During its brief tenure, it was produced concurrently with the 6610 model, sharing the same case design. The 5504 set itself apart by featuring the name 'Explorer' in silver, along with the designation 'Super Precision' on the dial, rather than 'Officially Certified Chronometer.' This distinction positioned the 5504 as a more accessible alternative to the 6610, lacking chronometer certification. Consequently, a significant number of 5504 models were acquired through the NAAFI.
The utilisation of radium in this model warrants particular attention. Radium, once a standard luminescent material in watchmaking, was later eschewed due to its radioactive properties, prompting Rolex to transition to tritium in the late 1950s to early 1960s. The presence of original radium on the dial and hands of the 5504 provides an intriguing insight into the watchmaking practices of the time.
This Rolex 5504 is remarkably complete, accompanied by its original papers, service receipts, booklets, swing tag, and valuations. It is a rare opportunity to trace the lineage of this timepiece through its documented history.
The watch retains its originality, including the expandable 875088 stamped bracelet, a precursor to the 6636 stamped bracelets. While most 5504 and 6610 models are now found with the later 1016 handset, this particular watch features the original, longer gilt hands and white second hand. A geiger reading exceeding 20 μSv's per hour confirms the authenticity of the radium on the dial and hands. The movement, having been serviced earlier this year, exhibits commendable precision, running at approximately +6 seconds per day.