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Rolex SBS 5517 Military Submariner

I've been lusting this watch since 1993. So kids who just started noticing this in fashion blogs, get in line. I've been waiting in line for over 20 years now. The price has skyrocketed since this has become a fashion piece.

This is what the real James Bond would have worn in the late 60s, early 70s. The Rolex, 5517 Submariner. Almost legendary. In the early 1970s, Rolex supplied these to the British Ministry of Defence (MOD). It was specifically design for the British Military. If you notice, it improves on the MOD issued Omega Seamaster 300 of the same era. It has the gladiator over-sized hour hands for better visibility. These are also known as "Sword" hands. It has MOD inscriptions on the back, Circle-T on the dial to denote the use of Tritum. Lastly, the case bars are fixed; meaning welded and non-removable. The only strap you can really use with this is G10 NATO military straps. The Timex and Hamilton J. Crew military watches you see with the same straps are just posing. This is the real deal.

These watches were delivered to the SBS (Special Boat Services), the naval elite squad. They are much rarer than the typical 5513 Rolex Submariners of the era. Again, this why I said, a real James Bond would have worn this watch. An agent of her Secret Majesty's Service would most likely be part of some elite force in his past career.


Authentic pieces usually have records of provenances. I've seen some "modified" ones on the market. Real, newish, Rolex Submariners modified to look like the 5517. Below, you can see it has a flat sapphire crystal instead of the dome acrylic.

Fakers even sell hands on open market.


The reference 5517 Submariner is definitely one of best vintage Rolex to get. Sure, the Paul Newman Daytonas, and Steve Mcqueen orange hand Explorer IIs are cool but I rather have a 5517 purely for the military pedigree. There is something definitely cool about those hands that makes this model more unique than any other Oyster models in the line-up.

Lastly, it is a real Military Rolex used by the Special Forces! You don't need celebs like John Travolta (Breitling) to sell this watch.

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Giants quarterback Eli Manning returns to host Guiding Eyes for the Blind's ..  — The Journal News / Lohud.com
Also pictured are James Donohue, far left, and John Feeney, far right. (Photo: Photo by John Vecchiolla). In addition, Guiding Eyes will raffle a new 2014 Lexus IS 250 and Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watch. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold at $100 each.

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