Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1972
    Reference No: 5513
    Case No: 3'826'398 inside caseback further stamped 1.72
    Model Name: Submariner "MilSub"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1520, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: NATO
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by service quote provided by Mappin & Webb Rolex retailers in London, credit card receipt for payment, Rolex Service Guarantee dated 11 April, 2014 and Rolex pouch

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1970s the British Ministry of Defense commissioned Rolex for a watch with specific military specifications to be worn by its officers. These requirements included fixed spring bars welded to the lugs which prevented the fitting of a reflective bracelet, a nylon strap (by contract from the Phoenix company), a 60-minute bezel insert, large sword-shaped hands, and a luminous dial. In addition, the MOD required that dials be marked with an encircled “T” indicating the use of luminescent tritium.

    Rolex used its Submariner reference 5513 as a base and as such the military version of the Submariner or “MilSub” was born.

    Additionally, the casebacks for watches issued to the British Army were engraved with “W10”, the code for the British Royal Army, and “6645-99-9237697”, the NATO codes, followed by the issue number. The original owner of the present watch, upon parting with his watch and worried that the numbers on the caseback would put him in trouble with the MOD, had these numbers polished out.

    However, what this watch lacks in engravings on the caseback it makes up with its superb condition, the case maintains its original proportions, tick lugs with crisp bevels, perfectly crisp serial and reference numbers engraved between the lugs. The dial is devoid of any major flaws and the serial number is correctly engraved inside the caseback.

    Since it was issued the watch has had three owners and been serviced once as attested by the single London service mark inside the caseback. The watch is also delivered with its service invoice, credit card receipt and Rolex Service Guarantee dated 11 April 2014.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Ref. 5513
A very rare and highly attractive stainless steel military diver’s wristwatch with rotating bezel, fixed bar lugs and service papers, made for the British Navy

39mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for CHF201,600

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021