ROLEX | A RARE STAINLESS STEEL CENTRE SECONDS WRISTWATCH MADE FOR THE BRITISH MILITARY, REF 5513 NO 3826463 SUBMARINER, MADE AND ISSUED 1974
A RARE STAINLESS STEEL CENTRE SECONDS WRISTWATCH MADE FOR THE BRITISH MILITARY
REF 5513 NO 3826463 SUBMARINER
MADE AND ISSUED 1974
Dial: black, sword hands and Tritium
Calibre: Cal. 1520, 26 jewel
Case: stainless steel, screw down case back
Case number: 3826463
Inside case Number: 3764813
Closure: associated NATO style strap
Size: 40mm. diameter
Signed: case, dial and movement
Movement: watch running at the time of cataloguing but untested for timekeeping
Case: the case back has numbers 3764813 and military engravings on the reverse : 0552/923-7697 186/74.Overall in good order with general surface scratches and wear and tear as would be expected for watch of this type. Bevels are still visible.
Dial: in clean order with creamy indexes, hands are intact but with some evidence of age and blistering to the metal
Please note that the movement has not been tested for the accuracy of time and may need a service at the buyer's expense. Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement and we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts.
You are advised that watch straps or bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator or crocodile) are not sold with the watch and we reserve the right to remove these straps or bands prior to shipping. Furthermore, the watch may not come with its original manufacturers strap or band.
Prospective bidders should review the Conditions of Business, Authenticity Guarantee, the Guide for Prospective Buyers, and any Important Notice in the sale catalogue.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."
Since its first introduction in 1953, the Rolex Submariner has been the benchmark for the diving but also the sport watches in general. Developed as a true tool timepiece, the model is so perfectly adapted that it has barely evolved in decades and that organisations have selected it to equip their divers in extreme conditions. This is certainly true of people employed by the armed forces who, understandably, demand levels of accuracy and utility that perhaps surpass the requirements of all other occupations. As such it stands to reason that wristwatches are a vastly valuable tool.
Throughout the 1970s Rolex supplied watches to the British Military for use by the Special Forces, namely the Rolex Submariner. Over the course of the decade approximately as few as 1200 pieces were manufactured for the Armed Forces. Utilizing references 5513 & 5517 the watches provided were altered to meet strict military specifications and as such are especially collectible. These special pieces had their dials marked with a letter T above the depth rating, the lugs feature fixed bars, and the case backs engraved with a Military issue number, supply date and the famous ‘Broad Arrow’. As opposed to the 5517, the reference 5513 came with any combination of hands (standard or Sword) or bezels (calibrated to 15 or 60 units).
Dubbed the "Milsub" by collectors, the modifications made have now become renowned in the vintage watch world. What’s more, given the conditions and environments that they were made to endure, examples in good condition, unchanged since production, are incredibly sought after, and examples featuring the ‘Sword’ hands even more so.
The present lot, reference 5513, will immediately captivate the connoisseur by the perfectly matching patina of its original dial, sword hands and bezel. Furthermore, the case with fixed bars is extremely well preserved. In fact, the inside of the case back does not bear a single watchmaker mark, suggesting that the piece has never been touched. This assumption is reinforced by the family tradition that says that the piece has remained in a drawer for over 30 years. The absence of service marks supports that a mistake was made when the watch was originally assembled and a case back with a different number was placed, as it sometimes happened.
This piece can be considered as an absolute "barn find" and a rare opportunity for a collector looking for a special example of the legendary Milsub.