Rolex Submariner 5512 'Neat Font'

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The introduction of the ref. 5512 in 1958/1959 is one of several key moments in the storied history of the Rolex Submariner. The 5512 is so significant as it signaled the shift from the Submariner’s early, somewhat prototypish, models to a more robust and consistent toolwatch in the Rolex line-up.

One of the big changes that came with the 5512 was the introduction of the 40 mm case, a significant increase compared to the earlier Subs in the 36-37 mm. More importantly, the 5512 was the first Sub with crown guards to protect the Oyster crown.

The 5512 is a bit of an odd bird in the history of the Submariner. Just four years after its introduction, Rolex also brought the ref. 5513 to market. Produced concurrently until the late 1970s, the only difference between the two was the fact that the 5512 featured a chronometer certified movement, while the 5513 did not. Due to the extra labor involved with certifying the 5512’s movement, it was more expensive. As a result, 5513 sales quickly overshadowed that of the 5512.

Aside from the movement, the 5512 and 5513 are nearly identical. The only noticeable difference are two extra lines of text on the lower half of the 5512’s dial—“superlative chronometer” and “officially certified”—that indicate the ‘upgraded’ movement. These extra lines of text give the 5512 some extra visual heft compared to the more sparse dial of its sibling reference, the 5513.

The dial on this 5512 is an early version of the matte black dial that was introduced in the second half of the 1960s. This particular dial is a sought-after ‘neat font’ variety that was produced for only a short period of time. The chronometer text on these dials was printed simultaneously as the rest of the dial, resulting in even and clean text without any differences in size and spacing. This is quite distinct from later dials, as Rolex began producing the same dials for the 5512 and 5513 and only later on adding the chronometer text if the dial was determined to be used for a 5512, which often resulted in uneven text.

This remarkable 5512 dates back to 1967 and is in great condition with a thick case, indicating sparse polishing in the past, an impeccable dial, and deep black bezel insert. The watch comes on a period-correct riveted stainless steel Oyster bracelet.


Rolex SubmarinerIn 1953, Rolex introduced one of the world’s first wrist watches geared specifically towards divers: the Submariner. Rolex had to confront a number of challenges when designing its first dive watch. The watch obviously had to withstand significant amounts of pressure and had to accurately measure time spent underwater, which the first Submariner achieved by featuring a 330ft/100m depth rating and a rotating diving bezel. It also had to be easily legible in conditions of reduced visibility yet aesthetically pleasing. Hence, the Sub’s iconic large luminous hour markers and Mercedes hands set against a contrasting black dial.The Submariner is the most iconic and desirable luxury watch of all time and has been adopted by luminaries such as Jacques Cousteau, Che Guevara, and none other than James Bond. Our favorite Bond, Sean Connery, wore a big crown Sub in the 1962 classic ‘Dr. No’. The watch was also featured in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’.Ref. 5512The Submariner ref. 5512 (produced in the period 1959-1978) was the first Sub model with crown guards to protect the Oyster crown. The first executions featured the rare square-ended crown guards, which were replaced with pointed crown guards and later with rounded crown guards. The 5512 initially used the caliber 1530 movement (featuring a 2 line dial). Later versions contained the chronometer certified cal. 1560 or 1570 movements, which led to 2 extra lines of text on the dial (4 line dial). Early executions of the 5512 featured the rare ‘meters first dial,’ because the depth rating in meters was printed before the rating in feet (“200m = 660ft”). Around 1969, Rolex switched to printing the feet before the meters to satisfy the growing American customer base.



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