ROLEX | SUBMARINER "SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY", REF 5513, MILITARY STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, CIRCA 1970
SUBMARINER "SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY", REF 5513
MILITARY STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
Calibre: cal. 1520 automatic, 26 jewels
Case: stainless steel, screw-down back
Case number: 2'703'016
Closure: stainless steel Oyster bracelet and folding clasp
Dimensions: 40mm diameter, bracelet circumference approx. 190mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: original Rolex Submariner leaflet and presentation case
Movement: running at the time of cataloguing.
Case: in good overall condition with signs of aging and previous polishing. The tip of all four lugs show some denting. The case profiles show some scuffing and scratching throughout. The inner-case back reads "5513" and "I.70". The outer case back is engraved with the case serial number. There is no case number between the lugs at 6 o'clock. The "5513" reference number between the lugs at 12 o'clock is legible but has lost some definition.
The rivetted bracelet ref. 7206 is fitted with ref. 80 endlinks, the clasp is stamped "2.65". The links show some stretch due to wear and age.
Dial: dial in excellent condition with no damage to the matte surface. All lume plots are thick and intact, showing a dark custard patina, matching with the hands. The hands show light signs of oxidation and bear some tritium dust. The bezel insert in good condition with very light scratches. The insert pearl has taken a similar patina.
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.
"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."
The military Rolex watches are regarded as the grail tool watches by collectors. They perfectly embody the spirit of the crowned brand and the need of reliable pieces used in extreme conditions. In addition to this, they possess unique features testifying their affiliations with their prestigious past. The most famous one is the Submariner issued for the Royal British Navy. Nonetheless, some pieces were also supplied to other military forces.
One of the rarest military Rolex is the 5513 supplied to the South African Army.
While many things have been written about other Milsubs, the South African 5513 is still a terra incognita and the market is today only starting to understand its importance.
Like some other military Rolex such has the Fuerza Aerea del Perù (known as FAP), there is no alteration or modification made to the model. On the wrist, the South African 5513 looks like a normal Submariner of that time, giving the pleasant feeling to his owner of carrying a hidden treasure. Nonetheless, the outside of the case back reveals the engraved serial number. Interestingly, the serial number is not repeated between the lugs. This is the only element that affiliates the piece to its special provenance.
It is no exaggeration to state that these pieces appear extremely rarely on the market, increasing their mysterious aura. The present lot is indeed the first one to be presented in an international auction, including in this saleroom, for many years.
The appearance of such a piece is an important event for the watch community. What is even more exciting is the quality of this specimen. The watch has been preserved in excellent condition, with a stunning late meters first dial and matching hands and bezel. The case retains strong proportions and still shows attractive bevels. The piece is fitted on its rare 7206 bracelet with 80 endlinks. The condition of the watch could make one forget, for a second, its exceptional provenance.
Presented on behalf of an important private collector, this watch certainly is a fascinating testimony of Rolex's unique history.