The present watch is one of the exceedingly rare models of a small series of watches of reference 5517 ordered in the early 1970s by the British Royal Navy. It is furthermore preserved in outstanding, original condition, with beautifully preserved dial and the original bezel with the sixty minute marks, exclusively reserved for this special edition.
Destined for the Special Boat Service or "S.B.S.", one of the world's best trained Special Forces, this Submariner model was adapted following the specifications requested by the British Ministry of Defence and attributed reference number 5517. The watches had to be fitted with fixed bar lugs with a diameter of at least 2 mm. The dials had to be easily readable and were therefore equipped with the larger "sword" hands. They also had to show the international symbol for Tritium, the encircled "T". The hack feature allowing the precise setting of the time was another specific request which found entry in the 5517 production.
The models furthermore had a unique bezel with sixty minute marks rather than only the first fifteen minutes. The outside of the case backs were marked with the military broad arrow sign, Ministry of Defence issue numbers and unit number. Furthermore the inside of the case backs repeated the serial number which is commonly only found between the lugs. The present example furthermore features the reference number "5517" underneath the lower left lug.
The Royal Navy's Special Boat Service (SBS) is the lesser-known sister unit of the British Army's Special Air Service (SAS) regiment. Based in Poole, Dorset, the SBS is a special forces unit specializing in operations at sea, along coastlines and on river networks. Previously known as the Special Boat Squadron, members of the SBS are exclusively drawn from The Royal Marines.
Few watches appeal to such extent like the military proven reference 5517. Its close association with the harshest environments, secret missions and agents, most notably James Bond, lend it a flavour of adventure and lived history of the cold war years.