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A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner Pre-owned Rolex exchange website Bob’s Watches receives numerous Rolex watches, many of which come with powerful stories. In this series, owner of Bob’s Watches Paul Altieri will share real stories about real Rolex watches and discuss what makes both the watches and their very personal histories so unique and appealing.

As one of their most popular line of watches, the Rolex Submariner is a common choice for first-time buyers and seasoned collectors alike. Originally introduced in 1954, the Rolex Submariner line has undergone numerous revisions over the years, with certain vintage references attaining unparalleled levels of collectibility.

Many vintage Rolex collectors prefer the no-date Submariner to its date-displaying counterpart because it is more faithful to the spirit of the very first Rolex Submariner, the reference 6204. The no-date Rolex Submariner is the quintessential dive watch, and its timeless design makes it incredibly versatile and a true classic.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

First introduced in 1962, the reference 5513 Rolex Submariner had a very long production run (even by Rolex standards), as it remained in production until 1989. The reference 5513 was almost identical to Rolex’s other, no-date Rolex Submariner at the time, the reference 5512; however, the reference 5513 was fitted with a non-chronometer-certified caliber 1520 movement, and lacked the additional “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” lines of text on the dial.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Due to its extremely long production run, a wide range of subtitle variations exists between different reference 5513 Rolex Submariners, and each alludes to the era in which the watch was manufactured. Most obvious among these variations, and possibly the most important to collectors, is the type of dial on the watch.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Initially, the reference 5513 Rolex Submariner was fitted with a glossy, gilt dial that had gold lettering; however, in 1967, Rolex switched to the classic matte black dial with white text that can be found on many other vintage Rolex watches. Due to their narrow production window, reference 5513 Rolex Submariners with gilt dials are considered quite rare and highly sought-after by collectors.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Another dial variation that is of interest to collectors is the “meters first” depth rating, which is also indicative of an early production run. The original gilt dials, and some of the very first reference 5513 matte dials have their depth rating printed with the meters measurement listed first, while all later Rolex Submariner 5513 dials and contemporary Submariner dials have their depth ratings printed with the feet measurement appearing first.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Although it does not contain a chronometer-certified movement, the reference 5513 Rolex Submariner is the classic Rolex dive watch, and its 28-year-long production run is testament to its rock-solid (albeit non-COSC-certified) movement, versatile design, and timeless good looks. In fact, during the 1960s, while on vacation in England, a friend of the Prince of Kuwait purchased himself a brand-new reference 5513 Rolex Submariner with the hopes of impressing his royal companion when he returned home.

As the reference 5513 Rolex Submariner had just been introduced by Rolex a few years prior in 1962, it was still a relatively new design, and was considered to be a state-of-the-art dive instrument, intended to accompany divers and oceanographers as they explored the ocean’s depths.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Given that the original owner purchased this Rolex Submariner with the intent of impressing the Prince of Kuwait, this particular Rolex Submariner 5513 was not destined for a life of rough treatment and abuse, as many of the other reference 5513 Rolex Submariners of the time would have been. The reference 5513 Rolex Submariner was a popular choice for various nations’ military branches, and many were lost or destroyed while in use.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

The reference 5513 Rolex Submariner was introduced in 1962, and matte dials replaced gilt dials just a few years later in 1967, a very small percentage of the reference 5513 Rolex Submariners ever produced are fitted with gilt dials – especially considering the 28-year-long production run of the reference 5513 Rolex Submariner. Furthermore, a good number of these original gilt dials were replaced with matte service dials when the watches were sent in to Rolex for repair and servicing. Here’s the original meters-first, two line gilt dial as close as possible to how it looked the day it was produced.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

The bezel insert is the original “fat font” insert rather than being a service insert, or one from a later-era Rolex Submariner 5513. The service inserts that Rolex uses as replacements for the watches that they repair has a font that is significantly thinner than the original Rolex Submariner 5513 inserts. Even later-era, original reference 5513 Rolex Submariner inserts have fonts that are noticeably thinner than the original “fat font” inserts that were first fitted to the reference 5513 Rolex Submariners during the 1960s.

This particular bezel insert has a subtle but even fading in its color, yet there are no major marks or scratches in its finish, which is especially rare for a watch of this age. The luminescent pearl in the bezel insert is also fantastically well preserved without any cracks or chips, and its color perfectly matches the patina of the luminous paint on the dial and hands.

A Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Gilt Dial Watch Purchased To Impress A Prince Hands-On Submariner

Given that it was Rolex’s standard, non-chronometer-certified dive watch, a large number of reference 5513 Rolex Submariners were produced throughout its 28-year-long production run, and a wide variety of subtle differences exist depending on the year that the individual watch was manufactured. With that in mind, a small percentage of all the reference 5513 Rolex Submariners ever produced actually possess the specific qualities that would classify them as rare, collector’s items.

It is these subtle details and seemingly insignificant nuances that define a true collector’s piece, and ultimately have them clamoring and hunting for the pieces. Usually, a lot of these 5513 Rolex Submariners have been fussed with or bear the scars of time, but seeing one that saw royally gentle use is a real treat for the enthusiast.

Paul Altieri is founder of Bob’s Watches, the leading online destination for used Rolex watches where he created the Pre-owned Rolex Exchange Concept, which allows consumers to see both the buy and sell prices for a pre-owned watches, adding transparency to the market. Paul is also a watch collector and has many rare collectible watches in his collection.

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  • Berndt Norten

    And to think I wasted all that time and money tracking down one of Thomas Jefferson’s bottles of wine! Now there’s no money left for THIS!!!!

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      And the pleasure of partaking of the ancient vintage is rather momentary; while a fine watch can last for decades !

      “L’Chaim” or ““Sláinte”

  • SuperStrapper

    $20.

    • Roman

      $30

      • SuperStrapper

        You win. I feel like I can do better for $30 when it comes to buying a watch.

  • word-merchant

    My ceramic Daytona arrived yesterday.
    I am a winner.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This is just an advert.

  • srs144

    Someone buys Rolex to impress someone else. Shocker.

  • Yojimbo

    this was a nice read, if Bob’s is carrying that for sale it probably should have been disclosed

  • Bill W
    • Raymond Wilkie

      Makes zero sense, but funny.

  • A_watches

    Wow

  • A_watches

    F me dead these watch history geeks so interested in this dial that font really who gives a flying toss.. I tell u what the latest generation Rolex is always the best…oh look it’s got this font, m before ft or gilt dial or red font, nobody in the real world could give a f

    • word-merchant

      Always a pleasure to read such a well written exposition. Who dares say the art of dialogue and grammatical poetry is dead?

      • john coleman

        LoL !!

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        F*kin’ A !</i?

    • Julian Chan

      I’m a watch lover and like Rolex as much as the next guy and all but I can’t help but to agree with you that all this business with vintage Rolexes and ridiculous prices being paid for little dial markers/changes etc make little sense to me, but to each his own I guess. You’ll definitely not catch me paying such ludicrous prices for these vintage Rolexes though. There are so many more watches out there to spent hard earned money on than old crumbly pieces with some little dial scripts and patina :/

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i get it. can’t afford it. but i get the fascination with vintage rolex.

  • So we don’t know if “The Prince of Kuwait” was impressed or not.

    “this particular Rolex Submariner 5513 was not destined for a life of rough treatment and abuse”. Yet it still looks beat up to me.

    “that saw royally gentle use”
    Yet this “gentle use” was not at the hands of any royalty (not that I would really care – I much prefer a back story about airplanes landing in French farmer’s fields).

  • ??????

    I get the fascination, but for many it is a $23k watch that has a $100 looks. You may get crazy Arnold & Son manufacture with novel construction + JLC True Second and go for a world cruise on the change for the price of one patinated mass production Rolly (okay, with oh-so-rare gilt dial).

  • JunkHoarder

    I also have a vintage Rolex from a royalty. A Nigerian Price gave me a quartz Submariner as a gift for helping him out with some money issues. It must be a really old model though, since it has a fixed bezel and a snap off case back, also the lume is dead and chrome plating has mostly flaked off.

  • BNABOD

    just what I like, used, beaten up, old, crusty and expensive………………………….NOT

  • Jerry Mathers

    Rolex fans only scratching the surface of excitement that Paneristi feel over minutiae.

  • Ulysses31

    Who on Earth would be clamouring for this? I don’t see it.

  • Jon Hew

    I’ve owned a couple of nice rolexes. However, I can never see myself paying retail price for one. I like nice things, but I’m no sucker for a name or an image. Yes the quality is remarkable but dropping 20K or more on a watch…not even with Bill Gates money. Anyway I just bought a lovely pre-owned Rolex Submariner for $3500 at an auction. I got home and found the same watch on ebay for $7940 https://goo.gl/gzkpUQ

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