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What is a Vintage Rolex 5512 Submariner

April 28, 2018

What is a Vintage Rolex 5512 Submariner

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The most recognizable Swiss watch in the world is undoubtedly the Rolex Submariner.  Even if you aren’t passionate about luxury watches you’ve seen the Submariner.  It’s that watch your dad wears, or the lawyer down the street.  You’ve seen it in movies like James Bond and on members of the military.  It is the quintessential men’s sport watch.

A diving watch at heart, it features a strong stainless steel waterproof case.  It has a uni-directional rotating bezel to time how much air you have left in your tank.  However, most people who buy the Submariner know nothing about the functionality.  They know it as a cool watch that will be stylish forever.

The first Rolex Submariner was created in 1953.  It made waves (no pun intended) because it was the absolute best diving watch on the market.  But what keeps it going over 60 years later is the classic sport design.  It’s oyster case and stainless steel bracelet are a perfect combo.  While the Submariner is 2018 is much different than it was in the 50’s the overall shape and design have stayed true to form.  But we’re going to look, today, at the Rolex 5512.

What is the 5512?

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The Rolex 5512 Submariner is one of the most popular variations of a vintage Sub.  What makes it different from its predecessors is the inclusion of crown guards.  Previously, the crown was left vulnerable.  It could easily be damaged by getting hit on something and coming loose.  And if you are a diver, the crown getting loose is a disaster because water will fill up in side the case.  The last thing you want inside your watch is water.  It will corrode all of the metal inside and render the movement useless.

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At first, the crown guards were square.  But Rolex only made a few of these models.  If you are to find one today they are incredibly valuable.  But clients were having a hard time changing the time and using the crown because of the guards so Rolex stopped making them.  Soon after, they modified the square guards and rounded them off at the end making it easier for users to manipulate the crown.

During the first generation of the 5512, the movement inside the Rolex was not a certified chronometer.  (A certified chronometer is a movement that has passed a series of timing tests and make guarantee it will keep time within a certain standard).  Soon after the 5512 was introduced Rolex started using certified chronometer movements.  Thus the extra text on the dial.

Rolex did still keep producing a Submariner without a chronometer movement, the 5513.  But, since the 5512 had the chronometer and was more expensive, the 5513 was more popular.  That is why the 5512 is harder to find today than the 5513.

The vintage Rolex 5512 Submariner was the longest lasting model thus far.  It was produced for over 20 years before giving way to the 1680, then the 16800, then the 16610.


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