Monday, February 01, 2021

Antiques Roadshow: Royal Navy Diver's Rolex Submariner 5513






In a recent episode of "Antiques Roadshow," which aired on BBC two weeks ago, I found the story of this Rolex heirloom just amazing.

It was a year ago that I wrote about an unworn Rolex Daytona 6263 featured on the same TV show. But the following story is not about a Paul Newman Daytona "safe-queened" by an Air Force veteran who was afraid to damage it. Far from it. This Rolex was used.

This story has all the ingredients of a great watch story: The Rolex was worn daily—and as a tool. It was used in dangerous missions by a military diver. And finally, the watch was passed on to the diver's son who is about to learn its value has quite appreciated.

The son said: "He died recently; I’ve always known the watch. As a child, I remembered him wearing it. But it’s only since he died I found out so much about him. He was a search and rescue diver in the Royal Navy and for all the incidents he was involved with, he always wore that watch.”

The Rolex Submariner 5513 is from 1964, according to the host of the segment, watch expert Richard Price. "I would have no hesitation at putting it around £50-60,000," Price said. Then he added: "Wasn’t your father a very, very lucky man to have used that all his life and you’re so lucky to have that yourself."

An emotional son replied: "No, really? He didn’t know the value of it at all." The son said he himself wasn't concerned about the value of the watch; he wanted to come on the show "to tell the story of that watch and my father if I possibly could." 

Above, the owner of the Rolex being fished out of the sea. "His own air supply was exhausted," explained his son. "He was forced to swim to the surface during which he swallowed a large amount of aircraft fuel." His dad had been attempting to rescue the pilots of a double-crash: a Sea Vixen fighter jet and also the pilot of the helicopter that attempted to rescue the fighter pilot. But to no avail. And both pilots died. 

Watch the "Antiques Roadshow" segment below: