When a collector approaches the world of vintage watches, he often finds himself disoriented in the multitude of watch-related information available.
It’s something definitely common, it happened to everyone at the beginning to make mistakes misinterpreting contents found on the internet, books and dedicated magazines.
The purpose of our blog is to provide precise and verified indications using a language that that can be enjoyable both by the most experienced collector and especially by the beginner who has just entered the fascinating world of vintage watches.
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Today we will tackle a topic that will probably be trivial for some, but that even in the most renowned publications and online discussion forums is often not clearly explained : the difference between NO-SERIF and SERIF dials of the Submariner reference 5513.
It is well known that many ROLEX models during their production run got many different components modified without the refence numerical code being changed in any way.
There are many examples that could be given, we will just show you a few.
Two Rolex Gmt Master reference 1675 specimens from different periods which differ for the dial and case type.

Two Rolex Daydates reference 1803 with very close serial numbers but with a different caliber.

Two Rolex Gmt Master ref. 16710 respectively coming with a Tritium and Luminova dial.

The reasons of these changes were manifold; the product range was updated with more modern materials and processes, a supplier was replaced with another, the warehouse ran out of components and it was necessary to stock it up.
The same reference having different components is very evident in these models that have been produced and marketed for a very long period, such as the Submariner reference 5513.
An early Tropical dial full set Rolex Submariner reference 5513 from 1970.

In production for almost 30 years, from around 1962 to 1989, the Submariner reference 5513 was made in a large number of configurations that differed in the type of dial, movement, case back, bracelet etc.
In particular, it was precisely the dials that received the greatest number of changes over time.
Similar but not identical specimens of Rolex Submariner reference 5513.

To distinguish and temporally place in order this multitude of dials collectors have gradually nicknamed them all.
To give you an idea of the nicknames  commonly used by collectors here’s a short list ; “Gilt Open Track” ,”Pre-Comex”, “Maxi dial”, “Meter First”, “NO-SERIF and SERIF” , and these are just a few among many.
Some of the dials mounted over time on the Rolex Submariner reference 5513.

Today we would like to technically analyze only and exclusively two types of dials, those commonly called NO-SERIF and SERIF, characteristic of the Submariner reference 5513 produced for the first 5 years of the 70’s.
The NO – SERIF and SERIF dial for Rolex Submariner reference 5513.

Before starting our analysis of these two particular Rolex Submariner reference 5513 dials, it is absolutely necessary to clarify what the collectors of vintage watches mean with the term SERIF when they are referring to Rolex dials.
The SERIF is a small vertical or horizontal protuberance that can be found in the edges of the numbers, of the letters or in the printed hour markers indexes.
SERIFS were specially made through graphic pads to give greater refinement and further value to the print made on the dial which even resulted to be more readable.
Below, a concrete example that clearly illustrates the meaning of the term NO-SERIF and SERIF dial in a Rolex dial.
NO-SERIF and SERIF Rolex dial concrete example.

Now that we have fully understood the meaning of the term SERIF, we can analyze with greater awareness the two Rolex Submariner reference 5513 dials which are commonly referred to as NO-SERIF and SERIF.
In both dials, SERIFS must be identified not in the writing but in the printed rectangular hour markers, that lays as a base underneath the tick layer of the applied luminescent material.
In order categorize a Submariner reference 5513 dial as NO-SERIF or SERIF it is necessary to carefully observe the dial at 6 o’clock.
A macro shot showing the differences between the 6’oclock hour marker graphi in a SERIF and NO-SERIF DIAL.

SERIFS, unlike other Rolex dials, in this case are certainly much less immediately identifiable.
Often the luminescent material applied on the printed hour marker over time tends to overflow from the original position, thus covering the SERIFS underneath.
Furthermore, scratches on the plexiglass can make even more uncertain the distinction between these two dials.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that, especially for a beginner, it may be a quite difficult task to classify with certainty a dial as NO SERIF or SERIF, especially if the evaluation is made through low quality photographs.
An untouched example of a Rolex Submariner 5513 with a NO-SERIF dial in which the original scratched glass partially covers the graphics.

Is there a simpler method to unequivocally distinguish a NO-SERIF from a SERIF dial ?
There are three points to mostly pay attention to:
– In the NO-SERIF dial (therefore those without serifs on the rectangular hour markers) the letter E of SUBMARINER has a terminal T shape and the P of PERPETUAL is not perfectly aligned with the letter L of ROLEX.
– In the SERIF dial (with the serifs present on the rectangular hour markers) the letter E of SUBMARINER ends in a tapered way and the letter P of PERPETUAL is almost perfect aligned with the letter L of ROLEX.
– The letter S of OYSTER has completely different shape in the two dials.
NO-SERIF and SERIF dials further differences.

We hope that with these few notes we made it easier for you to identify a NO-SERIF and SERIF dial for a Rolex Submariner reference 5513.
If you might still have doubts regarding this topic please let us know in the comment section, we will be glad to answer and help you out!

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