Let’s say you walk into a watch shop in the Dead in 1967 to buy a Rolex. The one you like is a diving watch, that is a casual watch with a black bezel, a simple black dial, no date, and a steel bracelet. The leather strap is so 50s. You find the watch, called “Submarine”, and you ask how much it costs. ” $225,” you hear from the salesperson – not a small sum, but one that won’t break the bank account. So you pull the trigger. You don’t necessarily know this on this day, but you just pass the referee out of the shop. The 5513, a two-line submarine – a piece that is not only going to make your watch, but will also become a wrist companion and both a legitimate investment.
We all know that watches have become their own currency over the last decade or so, going from objects of obsession or collection to objects of trade. For much of the 2010s, Steel Rolex made better returns than the literal stock market. But this was not part of the calculus of the 1960s. In fact, it took most of those primitive steel movement models like the early submarines (early submarines) four decades to realise their investment potential.
In the early Aughts, which were basically just old watches (in this case an old Rolex), it represented replica watches. They are a variety of pieces that make you kick yourself for not buying an entire shop of Daytonas in the 60s and 70s so you can cash in in 2014. Enter that time machine.
What’s interesting is the last forty years or so and how new and modern subs have risen to the top in terms of new and pre-owned values. For example, using a $225 model as a point of comparison, a new Rolex submarine (adjusted for inflation) would cost around $2,000. But this is not the case. In fact, it costs about $7,000 more than that. But before we go there, let’s see how the price has changed over the years.
Even in 1967, this figure of $225 did not represent what we would consider to be a luxury watch. That’s because in reality, the Rolex Submariner was not a luxury watch. It was a tool watch in the truest sense of the word – a watch for diving and swimming, a watch that was issued to a variety of military outfits around the world. It’s a watch that can be paced through its paces – and if you’re a service member, you can get it at a decent discount.
It is also important to remember that in 1967, only mechanical watches were available. There were no digital or quartz on a large scale. This allowed mechanical watches to be at a relatively low price point as the industry boomed. Then we all know about the quartz crisis, when brands like Seiko brought battery-powered, highly accurate and absolutely cheap timing to the market, thus weakening and effectively destroying the Swiss watch industry.
When the dust settled,Replica Rolex Submariner watches went from being upcycled to something special. You don’t need to replace the battery – this thing will last forever. You should pay a premium for it, it’s the luxury of mechanical watches – luxury watches.
In the mid-1980s we saw the submarine jump to four figures at $1,000, then raise to $2,000 in the early 1990s, then more than double again as we reached the end of the aughts and the end of the end of the stamped clasp submariner era of aluminium beer. Some of these relate to changes in design. The old matte dial with painted markings was replaced by a smooth dial and painted markings with a white gold surround. The submariner was effectively quadrupled in ten years and then doubled in price in the following years. But this is the story of the judges. 5513S and 14060s – what we now think of as old-fashioned or neo-vintage watches.
Then came 2012, the year in which the first undated ceramic submarine ref. The 114060 was issued. This was two years after the submarine date had received the ceramic treatment. But the No-Pate is an OG, a real submarine. Unlike refs. 5513 and 14060, this watch only appears in a four-line configuration, while Vintage Subs can be found in two or four-line options. Watches that used to cost between $4,000 and $5,000 are now suddenly $7,100.
Just as we saw the shift from tool watches to luxury in the 1980s, this has upgraded the meaning of luxury. In this case it means a ceramic bezel filled with platinum rather than painted aluminium. It means a solidly constructed bracelet with an unparalleled adjustment system. This is the new basis for the brand’s most iconic watches.