A Collectors Dream - The Rolex Military Submariner 5513

A Collectors Dream – The Rolex Military Submariner 5513

by Chris Foerster
Collecting, Rolex, Vintage

When it comes to rare luxury watches that are sure to turn heads there are few that are as desirable as the Military Rolex Submariner 5513. Forget finding one of these watches in mint condition. Finding one at all is a victory for most collectors. The Royal Navy had about 1200 made in the 1970’s. It is said by some experts that only a few hundred exist in their original condition. Many of these watches have had parts replaced or have been destroyed over the years.

Rolex Military Submariner 5513 ( Credits © Bob Watches )

Rolex Military Submariner 5513 ( Credits © Bob’s Watches )

Take a close look at the Milsub’s dial and you should be able to quickly spot a large T in a circle.
The T was marked on this watch to indicate the presence of tritium.

Rolex Military Submariner 5513 - Dial ( Credits © Bob Watches )

Rolex Military Submariner 5513 – Dial ( Credits © Bob’s Watches )

The dial is also a dead giveaway as two which reference of the Military Submariner you might have. The markers on a reference 5517 will have a much bolder look than the 5513 shown above.

Moving on to the watch hands you will notice that the Military Submariner’s arms can be a little different than the standard 5513. The Military issue 5513 sports one of two variations. The first uses the standard Mercedes hands. The latter will utilize two sword hands and has no Mercedes emblem. The Omega Seamaster has similar sword hands, which some people have used as replacements. A good collector should inspect the hands to ensure that they are in fact original.

The Bezel of the Milsub 5513 was specially crafted with an insert that may contain markings all the way around. The case is a standard 5513 but the spring bars are fitted with metal bars that use a NATO type strap. Because of this configuration the MilSub’s are not seen with a stainless steel strap unless modified.

The caseback has a very unique set of symbols and numbers that will be different depending on the delivery date. Some of these models were delivered with Mercedes hands and others with 15-minute bezels. Identifying the correct reference before making an evaluation of a Milsub will be important.

Military Rolex Submariner 5513 - Caseback

Military Rolex Submariner 5513 – Caseback ( Credits © Bob’s Watches )

On the back of each case there is a MOD number that begins with 0552 or W10. A triangle with a hat will be displayed directly below the issue and year numbers.

For anyone who loves Rolex watches this is surely a watch to add to your must have list. The price, however, is not for the faint of heart. Over the years this watch has increased exponentially. In 2008, Christie’s sold one for $64,805 at their Hong Kong watch auction. Three short years later in 2010, Christie’s sold another for a whopping $92,574 at their December Hong Kong watch auction. Not a bad return for anyone who may have invested in one of these vintage timepieces.

Credits Photos © Bob’s Watches

    Author Bio

    Articles by Chris Foerster


    Chris Foerster is a watch enthusiast who enjoys historical timepieces. Working at one of the world’s top pre-owned watch retailers has allowed him to get some hands on time with some fascinating wristwatches. He is particularly passionate about all things horological that relate to Rolex watches.