I (and probably many others) had a collector tell me once, ‘. . .just buy the sub.’ In the previous decade those would have been wise words to adhere to, almost poetic in their truth. The world which we now inhabit, I think it is safe to say, is a bit more nuanced than that. You can’t buy the sub, indies are the rage, and most vintage Rolex have been messed about with by dealers. Despite all that, I still find myself recalling that line with some frequency. There’s a lot be said for a damn good sub with some honest patina. Today we have exactly that.
The Submariner can trace its lineage back through the 5508, 6538, and even 6202 Turn-O-Graph. But I would argue that the 5513 is where the fully-assembled DNA of the modern Submariner line began. A stout case with screw-down crown, sharp crown guards, rotating diver’s bezel, and the iconic dial arrangement. This is recognizable instantly to anyone as a Submariner even today, whereas a 6536 might only be known by those of us who identify as watch addicts. It still retains the gorgeous plexi crystal and gilt dial we all love, but with a relatively modern design, a sweet spot. It’s the most iconic diver from the ultimate era of dive watches.
Meters first variants hail from the early-mid production range and were a transitional dial from gilt to matte non-serif & serif dials. The change started around 1965 and ran for just three or so years. The dial is otherwise a standard tritium matte, with the non-maxi plots. SWISS – T < 25 should run across five minute hash marks as opposed to latter dials where it runs across three. The depth rating 6s are also slightly open. As ever, do your own research. But I’ve always loved the humber meters first as it was really the first modern-design sub with a matte dial.
This example is in decent grade all round. The case is quite sharp and shows no signs of the usual period abuse. The tritium plots are yellowed well with a slight degree of lightness on the hours. The handset shows tiny amounts of corrosion. Insert is a lovely ghosted long 5. It comes on a correct, newly-tightened rivet (looks like 7206). The watch has been serviced recently and it is said to be running well. It comes from a private collector on the ‘gram for what is, in my humble opinion, a reasonable ask today.
Find this 5513 available here from @mh1717 on Instagram by DM for 16500 USD.