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There is arguably no timepiece that defines the term “tool watch” better than the Rolex Submariner. It’s rugged, it’s reliable, it’s legible, and it simply gets the job done. No muss, no fuss.
With that said, there’s always room for improvement, which was certainly known by officials at the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) tasked with outfitting Her Majesty’s enlisted men. It was clear that the great Swiss dive watch was up to the task at hand, but in an attempt to further improve legibility, a set of sword-shaped luminous hands were fitted, along with a fully gradiated bezel insert, allowing for more precise time-tracking below the surface. Traditional strap-securing spring bars were also done away with, in favor of fixed bars, to ensure tank-like durability.
In addition to being offered in truly outstanding, first-class condition, this particular example also includes “Hudson” papers. The inclusion of these coveted papers confirms that the example in question was indeed delivered to the British military, upon Rolex’s completion of the necessary modifications. Collectors have given them this name in honor of Henry Hudson – the former general manager of Rolex UK, who’s department oversaw the allocation of military spec Submariners to their respective dockyards.
What makes these ultra-desirable watches so appealing is that not only were they extremely limited, and never made available for public sale, but the fact that they were truly purpose built. Each and every example of a military issued Rolex Submariner was crafted to serve, meaning that MilSubs like the present example 5513 were no stranger to action.
This MilSub is in excellent condition – the case shows thick and even lugs, with beveled edges. The dial is flawless, with no wear visible. The tritium lume is in excellent condition, aged to a golden yellow, with no lume loss, and one minor crack to the lume in the hour hand, visible only under a loupe. The present example has a serial number of 39xxxxx.