No conversation on the topic of diving watches is complete without the mention of the Rolex Submariner. Launched in 1953, this stainless steel mechanical wristwatch is arguably the most well known of its kind, although diving watches have evolved greatly to include digital watches.
The Submariner has also been subject to change over the years, with several models added to that family including the Reference 6538, a watch worn by James Bond during a diving scene of his first mission in 1962’s Dr. No. That year, Rolex also introduced the Submariner Reference 5513. Meant as a more affordable version of its predecessor, Reference 5512, it has since grown into one of the most sought-after Submariners in the Rolex collection.
Produced from 1962 until 1989, the Rolex Submariner Reference 5513 is one of the watches with the longest uninterrupted production run at Rolex. As one might suspect, the design of the watch did not change greatly over those years, although some notable differences stand out.
Released with caliber 1530, the watch was quickly upgraded by the introduction of caliber 1520, a second non-chronometer movement. Hence, the absence of the inscription “Officially Certified Chronometer” on the dial resulting in a two-line dial that is much appreciated its aesthetic (as opposed to the four-line Reference 5512). The original Twinlock winding crown was also replaced by the Triplock as the size of the watch increased slowly up to 40mm, as well as the depth it could be taken underwater, from 200 meters to 300 meters.
In terms of collectability, two models stand out for their rarity. The “EXPLORER” dial variant with Arabic numerals 3, 6 and 9 in the place of the luminous baton hour markers, as well as the “Bart Simpson” dial (so-called by collectors because the shape of the coronet on the dial resembles the cartoon character’s iconic haircut). Depending on its condition, the value of a Rolex Submariner Reference 5513 can vary between €4,000 and €8,000 euros; while rare models with the “Bart Simpson” or the “Explorer” dial can fetch up to €25,000 and €60,000 euros respectively.
Photo Credit: Giorgia Mondani. For more information about the Rolex Submariner, make sure to check out the book “Collecting Rolex Submariner“