It's been long since collecting vintage Rolex watches no longer passed as an exquisite hobby of a few aficionados but became a popular fashion trend. This tendency can be clearly seen in the skyrocketing prices of vintage Rolex models, mainly thanks to American and European fashion celebrities' media exposure combined with retrospective trend in the fashion scene. This is especially the case with well-categorized sports models, the proud children of Rolex technology and the spearhead of its marketing strategy. Consequently, for many it has been a question of interest which Rolex models top the wish list of vintage watch collectors.

Watch collectors usually go by historical background and rarity of a certain Rolex model when judging its vintage value. By these standards Rolex model Ref. 5513, commonly known as 'no-date Submariner', stands out as one of the most representative Rolex models in the vintage market. In 1962, Ref. 5513 was born of a direct lineage from the earliest Submariner, and did not change much both inside and out for almost three decades, until it finally discontinued in 1989. Ref. 5513 was equipped with every technology available from Rolex, but it also took out some of the optional features while retaining its identity as professional diving equipment, so that it could be more 'affordable' to real divers. 


For example Ref. 5513 did not adopt sapphire crystal glass nor was approved of chronometer certification. Also, some of its parts such as bracelet were procured from the stock parts of past models.


Because Ref. 5513 changed little in appearance throughout its production period, it is far from easy to tell which batch or generation one is from. Probably the only way to tell is by the subtle difference of dial color and font placement, but then again this method results in more than 30 variations hardly distinguishable among one another. So it is widely believed whether you can tell the difference among these variations is a proof that you are an expert in vintage Rolex watches.

REF.551X Variation -Photo Credit by ROLEX PASSION REPORT 

Moreover, Ref. 5513 has an intriguing background history that adds to its vintage value - it was the very first wristwatch of James Bond, a genuine military issue diver's watch for the special forces of Commonwealth countries and the United States, and real diving equipment tested by COMEX, one of the best underwater exploration companies in the world.

Therefore it is only natural that vintage price of an earlier no-date Submariner in good condition easily overwhelms the contemporary Rolex models such as Daytona and even Submariner with date window. You call the price and you will get it, if you happen to have a Ref. 5513 in your possession.

James Bond's REF. 5513 1973

James Bond's Movie Prop REF. 5513

Pictured models are the Submariner Ref. 5513 manufactured between early 60s and late 70s. Layman's eyes may not see the difference from the current model, but it is full of secret codes that can only be deciphered by seasoned collectors.

Beyond all those mundane stories to tell about this watch, I believe true value of a vintage 5513 Submariner lies in people's respect and awe for its simplicity turning into beauty through the test of time, just as we appreciate and admire a well-maintained 70's Land Rover Defender.