The military Submariner is what James Bond would have worn in the late 60s, early 70s and the Rolex model designation is 5517 . In the early 1970s Rolex supplied the 5517 to the British Ministry of Defence (MOD). These watches have military serial numbers abd a Crows Foot or or Pheon on the back, there is also an encircled T on the dial to denote the use of Tritium. The other difference from the civilian version is that case bars are fixed and not the removable spring pins on the civilian model this limits the strap options to the NATO military strap. Watches of the era when these were made used acrylic, plastic crystals versus the sapphire crystals used on modern Rolex models. These watches were delivered to the SBS or Special Boat Services, formerly the Special Boat Section and Special Boat Squadron, a special forces unit of the British Royal Marines and formerly also of the Army Commandos and Special Air Service.
Many Rolex enthusiasts and military watch collector’s have a few specific models that they would like to own such as the IWC MKXI or a Jaeger-LeCoultre MKII Navigator, but nothing gets close to the Rolex British Military Submariner (Model # 5513/5517). These watches are one of the most counterfeited of the collectable Rolex models, and some are so good that even major auction houses have been fooled on occasion, so be extra careful with his one. Below are images of two fakes as you can see the one on the right looks frighteningly like the genuine one above.
One of these watches from 1978 was recently sold for £165,000! See https://www.watchpro.com/rolex-military-submariner-smashes-fellows-house-record-with-165k-sale/
Although an original Royal Navy Rolex Submariner costs a huge amount of money demand just seems to keep increasing this link is well worth a look https://www.collectorsquare.com/en/watches/rolex/submariner/ref-rolex-5517/lpi - an option might be the Pro Hunter below.
One of the most famous military watches was the Rolex Submariner and there are some very nice images here and also a useful video here http://gearpatrol.com/2014/03/18/icon-rolex-military-submariner/
Of all the military divers watches this one commands a higher price than anything else.
The image shows a counterfeit Rolex British Military Submariner (Model # 5513/5517). These watches are one of the most counterfeited of the collectable Rolex models by a large margin, some copies are so good that even major auction houses have been fooled on occasion! As you can see with this copy even the dial has been distressed to make it look more genuine. Even some of the cases are frequently distressed so they have the appearance of the scrapes and things you would expect to see on a genuine old Sub. The basic problem here is that with the crazy prices being commanded by these watches there is an enormous incentive to make replicas. I suppose the big point here is my fake a modern Rolex when you can make significantly higher margins faking one of these?
There is an auction with a sale £140,000 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmm238hcA4s
Some people tend to go to great lengths to modify an old Submariner to create a situation where it appears to be a military issue watch. There are significant difference for example the military watch ha hash marks on its aluminum inserts for the full 60 minutes, not just the first 15, like the commercially available Submariner. The phone’s most open trademark is the “Mercedes style,” a pair of large “sword” or “gladiator” hands, and a second hand with an arrowhead tip. In addition, unlike almost all civilian Rolex replica watches , the back of the case was engraved with an inscription – ships used for special ship services (SBS) are marked “0552” before their personal identification number, which was marked “W10” In addition, they kept a special symbol on the dial from the MilSub in the early 1950s. A small letter “T” in the circle above 6 o ‘clock indicates that the original and highly dangerous radium for the hands and indexes has been stripped by the MOD subcontractor Burford and replaced by the safer tritium.
These videos give you some idea of the problems https://youtu.be/Jt4BsDUelgk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzxXCznf0j0
The Pro Hunter is to Rolex as AMG is to Mercedes Benz. Pro Hunter create a fantastic range of limited edition steel Rolex sports watches, creating a collection of stunning and desirable timepieces. Among these are several military variants.
Originally designed as a robust timepiece for hunting, the collection has now plugged the gap in the Rolex product line of sports watches. The designs not only pay homage to the golden years of Rolex of the 1950's and 1960's but are also faithful to the Rolex style and history.
The designs are inspired by Rolex vintage models such as the Daytona's with anti-reflective bezels, the 4-line James Bond big crowns, the Military Submariners specifically created for the Special Boat Squadron, and especially the black coated Rolex Submariner made for a few British Army Officers based in Africa. A current example is pictured above.
The Pro Hunter Stealth Military Submariner is a high quality customization of a Brand New Rolex Submariner ref 114060 and is my personal favorite.
The watch has a Stealth matte carbon coating on a 40mm case with a high-tech military matte ceramic insert specially designed for Pro Hunter in Switzerland.
It has special military fixed bars on the case with PROHUNTER in red or white with retro military gladiator hands . Finished with individually engraved case back from 001 to 100.
All Pro Hunters come brand new with box, papers and 2 year warranty. Pro Hunter have an amazing range of customized Rolex models and although not cheap they are unique and can be seen at
There are also some Deep Sea models. See https://www.discoverprohunter.com/collections#dvDEEPSEA
It must be kept in mind that Rolex were not the only company which made watches that were very similar to this particular model military use. Regardless it is the Rolex model which is by far the most sought after, the other alternative is from companies such as Omega do not get close. Having looked around at the options available we found that the watch from MWC pictured above is actually very close in many ways although it doesn't seek to be an exact copy of the Rolex it certainly in the right spirit. This watch can be see here https://www.mwcwatches.com/products/copy-of-mwc-24-jewel-1980s-pattern-300m-automatic-military-divers-watch-with-sapphire-crystal-and-ceramic-bezel-on-a-nato-webbing-strap-ltd-edition-contract-model?_pos=1&_sid=ee5f2d442&_ss=r the above watch is around €250.00 so quite a good buy considering it has a 24 jewel automatic movement and a sapphire crystal.
Another option which is quite interesting is the Steinhart Ocean One Military shown here https://www.steinhartwatches.de/en/ocean-vintage-military-new.html the Steinhart is €395.00 and comes on a bracelet so although the MWC and the Steinhart are not identical both are quite similar in many ways.
The dimensions of the Steinhart are Diameter 42 mm Height 13 mm Weight 190 g, Lug width 22 mm with spring bars. The dimensions of the MWC are Diameter Inc Crown 45mm (Exc Crown 40mm) Height 15 mm Weight 89.5g (but keep in mind this watch is on a NATO strap the other watch is on a bracelet which explains the difference weight, I suspect were not for that fact they would be approximately the same. Lug width on the MWC is 20 mm with spring bars vs 22mm on the Steinhart. Both models are 300 meter water resistant and have Sapphire crystals with Anti Reflective Coating.
The MWC is based on is based on a 1980 UK MOD specification for automatic divers watches (DEF STAN 66-4 [Part 1] Issue 3 although neither watch is based exactly on the spec because of examples of the Steinhart has two large a strap size and also certain design appearances are quite different.
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