Return of the 5513

Not too long ago I was rejoicing the absence of divers in my now relatively small collection, having just moved on my second Great White in favour of a white gold Zenith Daytona. In fact, in the past I’ve had two of those beauties as well as two of the nicest 5513s that I’ve ever seen, not to mention a near perfect 1680. I suppose I’ve enjoyed something of a love affair with vintage Rolex divers and for some reason I’d decided that it needed to come to an end; in part, I suspect it was because I was a bit uncomfortable having so much money invested in a tool watch (at least, so far as the 1665s were concerned) which then made me worried about wearing them in all but the safest environments.

Anyway the upshot was that I tried to buy back my last 5513, unsuccessfully it transpired, and then set my sights on finding another really good example. At the same time, a TZ-UK member with whom I’d dealt before dropped me an email asking if I’d be prepared to let him have the Daytona and suggesting that I might want – you’ve guessed it – his 5513 in part trade. Well, a long exchange of emails transpired, but finally we got to the position where a deal could be done; yesterday, after a long wait, my 5513 arrived.

This watch dates from 1981, and benefits from a NOS Tropic 19 Superdome crystal as well as a period-correct NOS 93150 bracelet. The dial is perfect, with gorgeous lemon-coloured plots and the hands are absolutely free of any corrosion (the flash makes them look a little bit lighter than the plots but in reality they’re a perfect match in terms of colour). It’s actually a Mark IV maxi dial, for anyone interested. Aside from the serial range being a pointer it’s recognisable by the sans serif font, the size and position of the plots and the relative positioning of the bottom text (and specifically the “=” symbol). It also has a beautifully faded fat font insert, which whilst being a little early to be absolutely correct for the watch gives it an appearance that I think is quite sublime. Aside from that, it has a really fat case and lugs, which means I don’t have to worry too much if it picks up some marks and consequently needs a tart-up at some point in the future.

Anyway, I’ve now reverted to my two non-Rolex dressier watches in the JLC and the GO, and certainly won’t be making the error of moving the 5513 on again in the future. If once is careless and twice is foolhardy, three times would be downright stupidity.

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