Rolex collectors across the world are aware that Miltons have purchased and handled an extraordinary number of military issue Rolex Submariners, out of the original, mere 1,000 or so which were supplied to Royal Navy Clearance Divers, helicopter pilots and others in the 1970s. These watches are now so valuable that some will try to make a plain, civilian Submariner look like one of the genuine “mil subs.” Small details can be very hard to fake, though. This photograph shows the case-back of a genuine mil sub with its NATO coding and a conspicuous rippling effect in the metal. The rippling has been caused by decades of the nylon webbing strap rubbing slightly across the case-back, perhaps helped by the constant presence of salts and sand in its typical environment. It is galling now to think that so many of these issued, historical watches were sold off by the MOD over twenty years ago for as little as £50 each, whereupon dealers often butchered them to make them more like the normal, civilian Submariners.

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