The Rolex 5513 Glossy Gilt era.
Left to right two matching Swiss - t<25 from 1964, Swiss only upper underline from 1963 and bottom Swiss - t<25 Bart Simpson coronet.
There is something magical about the glossy gilt dials present in the many vintage Rolex from the early 60’s. This review will focus on the gilt dials attributed to the Rolex 5513. The Gilt Rolex 5513 production date range is from 1962 to 1966, with possibly some spill over into 1967, but I have not seen any original owner gilt models with 67 case backs. Since Rolex will neither confirm nor deny case number production dates, the dates referenced here are based on the dates found inside the case backs matched to the serial numbers. I believe the start serial to be around 76x,xxx with a “I 62” case back and the cut cutoff for gilt dials in 5513s is approximately <1.6 million with “IV 66” date code in the case back.
Left Swiss t<25 1964 , Bart Simpson center, Swiss only underline 1963.
As a background note, the gilt dial models for Rolex 5512 and the 1675 GMT’s follow similar dial variants patterns over the time period starting in the late 1950’s ending in 1966. The evolution from the Chapter Ring to the Non-Chapter Ring for these models also had similar production patterns. So what you read here probably applies to the Submariner 5512 and 1675 GMT as well as the 5513.
By late 1967 all three had transitioned to the matte dials, and was the end of the gilt period. There have been a couple of reliable sightings of GMT watches with gilt dials from original owners into the early 2M case numbers and “IV 68” case backs but they fall outside the sweet spot in the collector community.
My theory is that the GMTs were produced in larger number sand had some gilt dials that needed to be used up. That could account for later gilt GMT availability. The submariners stopped pretty much when they ran out of dials. Please note I have also not chosen to speculate as to the implications of radium and tritium used in the early dial nor the government regulations of the time period, that discussion requires a full report onto itself.
I have seen in person a 5513 with a Chapter Ring configuration with 2 lines of silver print for “submariner” and depth rating. So it is not an urban legend, they do exist. Giving the choice to buy one even though it is rare I would stick to the 5512. I would pick the 5513 up last once I had all the other gilts. Just my opinion.
I found this example as a more complete set all matching as the other examples I have seen are from 1962 and have a 5513 case with a 5512 case back both had chapter ring but no exclamation. The question always remains as to the chapter ring really belonging to the 5512. We learn new things every day.
The first year of production for the 5513 was 1962/3 and this is the first and only year that has the pointy crown guards. The 1962 start date is a real crossover between the 5512 and 5513 where you will have a chapter ring gilt dial with a 5513 case and a 5512 case back. That is why I set the start at 1962 for first seen, but really 1963 and “official” start of 5513 production. This first year (’63) is also unique for the 5513 because it also is the only year that has the transitional “swiss” only at the bottom in a non-chapter ring dial. This is similar to the 5512 and 1675 that had a similar configuration. This is the first of three “main” dial configuration and has 3 dial “sub-configurations” – a. with a silver “underline” line above the center post, b. “underline” under the center post and c. “no underline” on the dial. There is one more very scarce dial which is the “3 6 9” aka “Explorer Dial” in gilt that came in after 1963.
Lower underline / Swiss only
Let me point out that the differences between the 5513 and the 5512 were as follows:
5512 vs. 5513
The mid-case was marked 5512 and 5513 respectively.
The movement bridge on the 5512 was marked 1530 and on the 5513 it was marked 1520
The inside of the case backs on 5512 models that were produced often had 5513 case backs
The 5512 dials that were produced simultaneously as the 5513 (1963 and later) had 4 lines of text under the center post with 2 additional lines reading “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”
The 5513 dials only had the 2 lines of text
The 5513 did not come with a chronometer certificate
The 5512 came with a chronometer certificate
We can observe that the 5513 was selling for $175 and the 5512 was at $225 in a price list from 1966 and 1968. Interestingly, the GMT was selling for even more at $245, probably due to the date complication and 24 hour hand. People did not see enough benefit of the 5512 over the 5513 and more 5513 models were produced and sold, and that is why the 5512 model is scarcer. The matte dialed 5513 probably started in the 1,5xx. Xxx + range but as always there can be overlaps in both direction but most matte dial meters first started to appear in late 1966 to early 1967.
Rolex 5513 Swiss only underline gilt. - notice the color difference.
Rolex 5513 from 1963 by the ocean where it belongs.
Rolex 5513 Gilt “Swiss” only 1963 Pointed Crow Guards (PCG)
We start first with the Swiss only which we consider to be from 1963 even though I have highlighted the fact there is a watch 760,xxx 5513 case and 5512 caseback with chapter ring. Notwithstanding, it is more common that the 1963 Rolex 5513 gilt dial had a serial range of about +/- the high 9xx,xxx to the start of the 1,02x,xxx usually the case back would confirm the date. But as we know case backs can be off by a year quite often so combining the know serials with the case back stamp helps to establish a recognized date. I know that some accept that this can go as high as 1.2 million serial and there may well be examples but I have not observed any. However, from the specimens I have observed the high end of 109x,xxx you are already into the 1964 model range so 1.1 is pretty high already. My observations of two 5513 Swiss only gilt are from 1,00x,xxx and 1,0x,xxx. These two when set side by side have different gold gilt color with the younger 1,000,xxx being more orange gold. This kind of copper gold was mostly found on the early Rolex 6538 big crowns. So even though they are very close in time period we can see they age differently and may have a different process applied to the gilt. Both had the Swiss in the same position and are from 1963 but still they are different. The Swiss only from 1963 enjoys at least three variations which are: no underline, the upper underline and the under underline meaning a small line either under the Oyster Perpetual or the Submariner mark on the lower side and always in 1963. The Swiss can sometimes appear is a slightly different position and sometime look more white than gold. One other variation is the Serpico Y Laino inscription on the dial. As we have all observed 1963 was an interesting year with strange dial marking across the whole range of gilt dial watches from Rolex including the GMT’s and the 5512’s.
Top level two 5513 Swiss - t <25 on the bottom Bart Simpson for comparison.
Rolex 5513 gilt 1964.
Rolex 5513 Gilt Swiss T<25 from 1964 / 1965
I have observed personally three from 1964 as confirmed by their case back having serial 1,09x,xxx, 1,17x,xxx and 1,18x,xxx so this to me indicates that the 1964 range starts about 1.1mil. This date and serial range for me establishes the beginning of the 1964 gilt Rolex 5513 being the swiss - T<25 dial. When the swiss - T<25 is placed next to the swiss only dial they seem identical except for the swiss marking. The two watches pictured were identical twins in every way. It was amazing to see to dial that both remained in 9+/10 condition. Even the inserts seem to have aged in similar fashion. Speculations have been posted as to the possibility of very early swiss - T<25 being available in the PCG i.e. non chapter ring in a PCG possibly in 1964. However I have neither seen pictures nor heard directly from anyone as to veracity. I do wonder, due to a slightly different case configuration between the PCG and the round crown guard, if the swiss - T<25 would fit visually and not seem odd.
Bart Simpson on the left notice the coronet shape.
Rolex 5513 Gilt “Bart Simpson” Swiss T<25 from 1965 to end of IV 1966
The gilt 5513 ended its run with what is known as the “Bart Simpson” which is recognized by its fat form coronet versus the longer more elegant fingers on the earlier coronet. You will find this dial towards the end of the gilt era 5513 ending fourth Quarter 1966 and generally not higher than 1.4 Million Serial. There are always outliers as with all Rolex watches but this is within the comfort zone. So if a 1.5 mil serial shows up with a Gilt Bart dial it is on the border so probably OK but it will most likely have an IV 66 case back. When you start to see the 1.5 + mil serial and 67 case backs you should be into the matt dials. I have not included any such example as I am looking at just the gilts.
The Bart Below is a high Serial but still could be passable.
Please remember all the remarks about serial numbers are based on what I have observed and those that fit the dial model configuration and as such are not set in stone but as a collector the closer you are to the right combination the more likely the watch was born that way. You can have a little more confidence when there is no need to stretch the story about the serial numbers and the production range. Above are a couple of example that is worth exploring that seem out of range to me. Either the dial itself is different or the serial range is off like a 2mil serial number alleged to be from 1967 while everything is possible not always plausible. Again some people have original owner watch with a serial that claim to have been born that way. For me as a collector I do not what to have to explain a special story to justify the configuration but I would rather pass and wait for a correct combination. But once again opportunities present themselves and you must use your best judgment based on your experience. The most disappointing aspect comes when speculation about what is presented as fact is simply information gleamed from the internet rather the firsthand experience. Every chance you get to observe several specimens of the same or similar watch you should jump at the occasion. This will give you the ability to add personal experience in addition to expert opinion we gleam from our traverses of the information jungle we call the internet.
For fun I did a little exercise to establish some idea of the number of gilt dial 5513 vs Matt dial. This is in no way conclusive just interesting. You could also simply take the total years of gilt dials as a percentage but a lot less was produced so it skews the results. This is a completely fictitious based on a very broad assumption and no knowledge of actual production numbers just a fun exercise.
I hope you enjoy this report. All comments and corrections welcome.
* feedback edits (tomvox1)
This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2012-11-25 09:54:43