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The first Rolex Submariner was launched in 1953 and has been in continuous production ever since, making it one of the longest running models of any timepiece made. Ever.
Of course, today, Rolex Submariners are significantly more… bling. With white gold surrounds and glossy black dials, the Submariner of today has become a status symbol and a piece of jewelry.
But from its origin, the Rolex Submariner was a stripped down tool watch, designed with one mission in mind. The clean, gilt black dial and symmetrical hour plots was the hallmark of sub-aquatic, form-meets-function design. For decades, the Submariner was not a collectible Rolex; it was seen as a hardy watch chosen by those who needed something that could take a beating. And it did.
The incredible production volume of the Submariner has lead to an interesting phenomenon; every Submariner has led a different life, whether tucked in a safe or riding shotgun on a litany of adventures, each watch had been imbued with its own unique look, its own distinct look.
Finding a unique Submariner has become the cornerstone of Rolex collecting, and specific faded bezels or tropical dials have become reasons to take a closer look at the ubiquitous Reference 5513 that many feel to be far too common to be worth collecting.
This particular watch is anything but common. Hailing from the late 1960s, this meters-first Submariner has a brilliantly unique look - the gilt dial has tropicalized and taken on a fine stippling often associated with exposure to humidity for long periods of time, and the bezel has faded from its original black to a pleasing coffee brown color. With a very strong case (so many Rolex sport watches of this era have been woefully over-polished at some point in their lives) and lovely high-dome acrylic crystal, this 5513 is truly one of a kind.
Regardless of how you feel about Rolex and the often bemoaned world of Rolex collecting, there is no denying the incredible allure of a distinct example of one of the world's most heralded wristwatches.
Stainless Steel Oyster Case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 5513. Late 1960s.
Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all with very light wear marks consistent with age and use. The steel case shows no signs of over polishing. The gilt dial has turned to a lovely tropical brown color with a light even stippling. The luminous material on the dial and hands has aged nicely and evenly. The bezel insert has faded from its original black to a rich brown color, showing a small amount of wear near 5:00, 6:00 and 9:30. Signed Rolex crown and screw case back.
Includes one light brown 20mm leather strap with contrast stitching and steel Rolex buckle and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.