Although the reference 5513 is not the very first Rolex Submariner that was ever created, it is often the first model that comes to mind whenever someone thinks of a vintage Submariner watch. While the very first Submariner made an appearance in 1953, the collection itself didn’t really start to take form until the end of the decade when Rolex’s industry leading dive watch grew to 40mm in diameter and gained the addition of crown guards for the very first time. By the time the ref. 5513 emerged almost a full decade after the birth of Submariner, most of the watch’s core design DNA was already established, yet the model offers an unmistakably vintage overall look and feel that immediately sets it apart from the modern Submariner watches that Rolex produces today.
Rolex Submariner Reference 5513
Vintage Submariner 5513 Key Features:
- Reference Number: 5513
- Production Years: 1962 – 1989 (Approx.)
- Case Size: 40mm
- Materials: Stainless Steel
- Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Elapsed Time Bezel
- Bezel: Bidirectional, Black w/ 60-Minute Scale
- Insert Material: Aluminum
- Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers (Gilt, Matte, or Gloss w/ Applied Markers)
- Hands: Mercedes Style, Luminous
- Luminous Material: Radium or Tritium
- Crystal: Acrylic (Domed)
- Water Resistance: 200 Meters / 660 Feet
- Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet
About The Vintage Rolex Submariner 5513
The Rolex Submariner 5513 is a vintage version of the no-date Submariner, which features a movement that is not chronometer-certified. Released just a few years after the reference 5512 and offering an almost identical overall appearance with the exception of a couple fewer lines of text on its dial, the ref. 5513 Submariner was intended to be the more affordable version of the brand’s highly successful dive watch that offered all of the same durability and water resistance, but without a premium COSC-certified movement. However, due to the fact that the Rolex Submariner 5513 was priced below its chronometer-certified reference 5512 counterpart at a retail level, the more affordable diver enjoyed higher levels of popularity abong buyers at the time, leading Rolex to ultimately discontinue the ref. 5512, while it would go on to produce the ref. 5513 all the way up until the end of the 1980s.
Additionally, due to the fact that Rolex produced the Submariner 5513 for more than a quarter of a century, the model also holds the distinction of being the last no-date Submariner to feature an acrylic crystal, the last to have a matte dial, the last to have a bi-directional bezel, and also the only one to be produced with all three different styles of dials that have been fitted to Rolex Submariner watches. Furthermore, due to the fact that the model does not have a COSC chronometer-certified movement powering it, the dials fitted to reference 5513 watches do not feature the brand’s obligatory, “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” text on their lower halves like all contemporary Submariner models, and they offer a clean and minimalist overall aesthetic.
Rolex Submariner 5513 Variations
Due to the remarkably long production run of the Rolex Submariner 5513, surviving examples of the model can be found with a surprising range of variation among their dials, hands, bezels, bracelets, and even the shape of the grown guards on their cases. Some of the very earliest examples featured glossy gilt dials with radium lume and cases with pointed crown guards, while the later era examples featured rounded crown guards, gloss black dials with white printing, tritium lume, and applied hour markers crafted from solid 18k white gold.
Additionally, between these two polar extremes was the entire matte dial era, which is an entirely separate generation of vintage Rolex Submariner dials that is characterized by a matte black surface with white text and painted tritium lume for its hour markers. Additionally as these changes were occurring, other smaller changes were also taking place such as the order of the units for the depth rating, the dial signature below the 6 o’clock hour maker, the size of the hour marker plots, and even the shape of the Rolex coronet itself.
On top of that, bezel fonts also changed over the years, and Rolex also updated the style of the Oyster bracelet that was fitted to the Submariner a couple times during the production run of the reference 5513. This diversity ultimately creates excitement for today’s vintage Rolex collectors, and for many fans of sports watches, the reference 5513 consistently ranks among their favorite models to study and collect. There are many people who own numerous examples of the Rolex Submariner 5513 or who will specifically try to collect each of the main different dial variations, while others specifically try to seek out examples with military provenance or co-branded dials, such as those with the famous Tiffany & Co. signature.
Investment Value and Collectability Submariner 5513 Watches
Another reason why the Submariner ref. 5513 is such a favorite among vintage Rolex collectors is because the model can be found at an incredibly wide range of different price points. On the low end of the price spectrum, you can sometimes find some examples from the 1980s for around $15k on the pre-owned market, while some of the mega-rare examples that are fitted with “Explorer Style” dials can be worth upwards of six-figures whenever they manage to surface at auction.
With that in mind, compared to certain other vintage Rolex Submariner watches, the reference 5513 is surprisingly affordable given its status as often being considered the quintessential vintage Submariner. Due to its longer production run and more plentiful production numbers, Submariner 5513 watches are typically quite a bit more affordable than their near-identical ref. 5512 siblings, and it could easily be argued that the reference 5513 was the last truly vintage Rolex Submariner watch, since it was the last model to feature a number of definitively vintage traits such as an acrylic crystal and friction-fitted bezel. Regardless of whether you opt for an early example with a gilt dial or one from the late 1980s with applied white gold hour markers, you are getting an iconic classic and a legitimate piece of Rolex’s legendary dive watch history.