Back in March, we asked you to tell us about your Rolex and why it was your dream watch. In response, we received countless stories from Rolex owners around the world. Eric from Austin, Texas told a moving family story about a Rolex Datejust. Helicopter pilot Edward from Australia had an exciting tale about his Rolex GMT-Master II, and fellow countryman David recounted how he managed to exchange his comic and LEGO collections for a Rolex Milgauss. Tito from Atlanta also captured our attention with his story about the Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 he retrieved and later sold after losing it at the bottom of Lake Lanier. Finally, New York-based teacher Artaud Charles recounted how he managed to secure a Rolex Oyster Perpetual despite a modest budget in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, we’re turning to former professional ice hockey player Peter Prusa from Berlin, who finally got his hands on his dream two-tone Rolex Submariner 16613 after many years and a few detours.
The Story Behind My Rolex Submariner 16613
To begin, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Peter Prusa and I’ve spent the majority of my life living in Berlin. In my 77 years, I’ve had the chance to see a bit of the world and experience an adventure or two. A particularly eventful period in my life was my time as a professional ice hockey player for East Germany. As a team member of Dynamo Berlin, I was fortunate enough to travel to some of the world’s greatest sporting events. A career highlight was attending the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France, where we faced some of the best hockey teams in the world, including the USSR, USA, and Canada. While we didn’t come out on top, it meant everything just to be there. Another highlight was the 1973 World Championship in Graz, Austria. We finished the tournament first in the B group, beating the Americans 6:4. After my playing career was finished, I spent several years working as a referee for the national ice hockey league in Germany.
As a citizen of East Germany, it was relatively easy to travel to Eastern Bloc counties. The prospect of traveling to the USA or Canada as a private individual, however, was a dream for many years. I didn’t get the chance to make it happen until 1992 after the Berlin Wall fell. I wanted to visit the US, which was still considered the land of opportunity at the time. My destination was New York City. I was fascinated by the Bronx, the hustle and bustle of the subway, and the Statue of Liberty, which I was able to marvel at from on board a ship.
The newfound opportunities to travel were thrilling enough for me, but there was another area that captured my attention both then and now: the world of luxury watches. At the start of the 1990s, I was in the position to afford my first true luxury watch. I retired my old Seiko and bought myself a two-tone Rolex GMT-Master. Although the model was expensive at the time, it was still a bargain compared to today’s market prices. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy much time with this watch as it was soon stolen from my wrist on Berlin public transit. I made it a bit too easy for the thief by falling asleep on the train after a long party. I was obviously very upset about losing the watch, and to add insult to injury, I couldn’t afford to buy a new one.
Burning Money and Waiting Lists
I mourn the loss of my GMT-Master to this day. Until recently, I’ve managed to get by with a few alternatives, but none of them lasted very long. The highest-quality models that I wore in the interim were an Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and, up until recently, a Glashütte Senator Chronograph. While the Moonwatch didn’t set me back too much financially, the Senator turned out to be a complete flop. If you want to burn through 50% of your investment in 12 months time, I’d advise you to buy a Senator from an authorized dealer. The lesson I learned from this: Never buy a watch at the manufacturer’s recommended retail price if you aren’t 150% sure you want to wear it forever more.
This frustrating experience made me realize that, after 30 years, it was time to get another Rolex on my wrist, but I still didn’t know which model I wanted or where I should buy from. I ruled out the GMT-Master early on because I didn’t constantly want to be reminded of my stolen timepiece. My search initially led me to Rolex dealers in Berlin. I naively asked about the availability of a steel Submariner. Of course, I was met with sympathetic looks and small smiles and told I could expect a waiting time of several years. With that, my idea of buying a new Rolex from an authorized dealer was over.
Found With Help From Chrono24
Next I went online and discovered Chrono24 for the first time. After extensive research and much deliberation, I decided I wanted another two-tone Rolex. I set my sights on a two-tone Submariner with a blue dial. I was not well-versed in shopping online for luxury items that cost several thousand euros, so I contacted Chrono24 to take advantage of their buying advisory service.
I got in touch with the private client advisor Sebastià W. and told him exactly what I was looking for. He immediately knew I was after a ref. 16613, which was produced between 2000 and 2009. I explained to the competent advisor that I intended to wear the Submariner as an everyday watch, and that I wanted a used watch in excellent condition. It was also important that the watch came with the original box and papers. Within minutes, Sebastià had selected four listings for me. Using the listing ID, I was able to look at each individual watch with him. Up to that point, I wasn’t even aware that the 16613 was available with two different dials (matte or sunburst) and with drilled lugs, depending on the production year. While I knew I wanted a sunburst dial, drilled lugs weren’t that important to me. We also spoke about polishing and I learned a great deal about what you need to consider here. Together, Sebastià and I put each watch under the virtual magnifying glass.
Production year 2000, sunburst dial, drilled lugs, and clearly only polished once – these were the specs for a ref. 16613 listed by an established dealer in the Netherlands. This was the watch for me! I thanked Sebastià W. for his detailed and professional advice and said goodbye. I clicked the buy button immediately afterwards. Just a few days after transferring payment, my Submariner arrived. Seeing as this was a significant investment for me, I had the watch examined by Rolex here in Berlin; this, despite the authenticity certificate provided by the Dutch dealer. As expected, everything was in perfect order. My ref. 16613 has been my daily companion from that day forward – and someday I’ll pass it on to one of my sons.