English acting icon Vanessa Redgrave attracted some watch collecting interest when she wore a perfect fake Rolex Reference 5513 Submariner in the 1966 film Blowup. Redgrave wore the Submariner on a leather strap instead of its stainless steel Oyster bracelet. And over the sleeve of her shirt.
You might be wondering why am I bringing up this timepiece now, 55 years later. Firstly, a Swiss made replica Rolex was an interesting choice for the lead actress to wear in a 1960s film. Secondly, the watch’s whereabouts are unknown. And thirdly, the super clone watch was “hiding” one very special detail publicly unknown until now.
A small few UK 1:1 replica Rolex Reference 5513 Submariners were fitted with what has become known as an “Explorer dial.” Instead of the usual baton and round markers for the hours on a stock Submariner dial, the markers here were replaced with solely baton style markings and Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock in addition to the usual triangular reference marker at 12 o’clock.
This type of dial was usually fitted to the cheap fake Rolex Explorer model, hence its nickname.
After looking through several photographs of Redgrave on the set of Blowup, one in particular caught my eye. It captured Redgrave during a discussion with director Michelangelo Antonioni, showing a clear view of the AAA fake Rolex Submariner on her wrist.
And I realized that she was wearing a Rolex Submariner replica for sale with a rare “Explorer” dial! Zooming in revealed the Arabic numerals 9 and 3 standing out clearly along with the baton markers against the black dial.
Considering that Redgrave was already famous at the time, if this dial been noticed earlier the watch might have been coined the “Vanessa Redgrave.”
And then the auction catalogues would have described it as a luxury replica Rolex Submariner with a rare “Vanessa Redgrave dial,” which in my opinion sounds way cooler.
Quick Facts Fake Rolex Reference 5513 Submariner with Explorer dial
Case: 40 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 1530, introduced in 1957, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, sweep seconds
Price: one sold at Sotheby’s in 2019 for £150,000