December 9, 2022
explorer dial submariner full kit

Rare watches in original condition get harder and harder to find, because many things have changed, such as truly fresh-to-market, highly-desirable. We get more and more excited when we do find them. If you know vintage Rolex, you know how highly sought after Explorer dial Submariners really are – and here we have one that came within an inch of losing about 90% of its value, now being offered at auction by the original (extremely lucky) owner.

explorer dial submariner full kit

In 1963, the owner bought the watch, a reference 5513, and almost had the dial replaced.

“The owner had a lucky escape after he got it serviced 20 years ago when he asked for the watchmaker to change the dial. But the company was unable to do the work. He later found out the repair would have knocked 95 per cent off the value.”

“The pensioner, who did not want to be named, has owned the watch since 1963, when his wife bought it for him for £69.10 – around £1,000 in today’s money – to celebrate the birth of their first child. In 1963, the cost of a top flight football season ticket was £8.50 and the average cost of a house was £2,500.”

In what resembles a horological horror story, the owner actually came very close to ruining the watch about 20 years ago. He took the watch in for a service and actually requested the watchmaker put a new, fresh dial on it to spruce it up. Luckily for him (and whoever the successful bidder is), the watchmaker was unable to do the job and the original dial remained intact. Only later did he learn that the mistake could have cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A Super Rare Rolex Submariner With Explorer Dial, Being Auctioned In The U.K., From The Original Owner

The auction is being handled by Gardiner Houlgate, which sold another Explorer dial Submariner in May for £192,000 (approximately $234,355 at time of publishing); Christies Geneva also let one go on May 16, 2016 at a hammer price for 197,000 CHF (approximately $198,560 at time of publishing), so expect very strong interest in this one (to put it mildly). As of now, Gardiner has not placed an official estimate on the watch.