Rolex Submariner

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Rolex Submariner
Rolex Submariner-Date model 16610, with a water resistance of 300 meters (1000 feet). Model 16610 was produced from the year 1987 to 2010.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner is a line of sports watches designed for diving and manufactured by Rolex, and are known for their resistance to water and corrosion.[1] The first Submariner was introduced to the public in 1954 at the Basel Watch Fair. The Rolex Submariner is considered "a classic among wristwatches",[1] manufactured by one of the most widely recognized luxury brands in the world.[2][3][4][5] Due to its popularity, there are many homage watches by well-established watchmakers, as well as illegal counterfeits. The Rolex Submariner is part of Rolex's Oyster Perpetual line.

Today, the Submariner and Submariner Date models are equipped with Rolex Calibres 3130 and 3135, respectively, and feature luminescent hour markers, a unidirectional rotatable bezel with Cerachrom ceramic insert, and a solid-link Oyster bracelet. They are water resistant up to 300 metres (1000ft). [6]

Early models[edit]

The Submariner model went into production in 1953 and was showcased at the Basel Watch Fair in 1954. The assigned case reference number of this first Submariner was either 6204 or 6205. It is unclear which model came first; in any event, the two watches are nearly identical. Neither has the distinctive "cathedral" or "Mercedes" hands now so strongly associated with the Submariner line. Rather, both of these early submariners have straight "pencil" style hands. Few, if any, of the 6205 watches bear the name "Submariner" on the dial, a major distinction of modern Submariners. Some 6204 models have the Submariner logo printed below the center pinion, while others have the logo blacked out. It is believed that there were unexpected trademark issues connected with the name "Submariner" at the time the 6204 and 6205 were released, accounting for the inconsistent use of the Submariner mark on these early Submariners. Trademark irregularities notwithstanding, both the 6204 and 6205 are designated Submariner models in Rolex product literature.

The back of pre-2008 stainless steel Submariner, with original Rolex green sticker removed

In 1954, Rolex also produced a small number of ref. 6200 Submariners. This was the first Submariner (although not the first Rolex) to make use of the Mercedes hand set, a feature of all subsequent Submariners. The 6200 also featured an oversized winding crown compared to the 6204 and 6205 models. Within a few years, Rolex revised its Submariner line, producing the 6536 (small crown) and 6538 (oversized crown) models. These watches had "improved" movements (the cal. 1030), including a chronometer version in some 6536 models (designated 6536/1), the now-familiar Mercedes hands, and the Submariner logo and depth rating printed on the dial.

By the early 1960s, these models had given way to the 5508 (small crown) and 5510 (large crown) models. All of these early Submariners used either gilt (6200, 6204, 6205) or gilt/silver gilt (6536, 6538) printing on glossy black dials. Radium paint was used for the luminous indices.

The next wave of Submariners, the 5512 (chronometer version) and 5513 (non-chronometer), marked a significant change in the appearance of the popular Rolex design. "Shoulders" were added to the crown side of the case to provide protection for the winding/setting mechanism. In early watches—until 1964 or so—these shoulders were pyramid-shaped and ended in points. Later watches were manufactured with rounded shoulders. The 5512 and 5513 were both fitted with the oversized crown, which thereafter became a standard feature of the Submariner line. In the early 1960s, Rolex discontinued the use of radium paint for the luminous indices, switching to safer tritium-infused paint.

In 1965–1966, Rolex discontinued use of gilt/silver gilt dials on the Submariner watches, switching to white printing. A final important change came with the introduction of the 1680 model in the late 1960s: the 1680 was the first Submariner to be equipped with a date function, marking the completion of the transition of the Submariner line from specialist tool watch to mass market fashion accessory. While many professional and military divers used—and continue to use—Submariners in the most demanding underwater environments, by the late 1960s, the watch had undeniably become a mass market product as well.

Later models[edit]

Current Rolex "Glidelock" micro adjustment design

Throughout the next 40 years, the Submariner was updated with improved water resistance, new movements, and numerous small cosmetic changes. In 2003, Rolex celebrated the Submariner's 50th anniversary by launching the Rolex Submariner-Date anniversary edition (16610 LV), with distinguishing features such as the green bezel and Maxi dial; its production ended in 2010 with the final watches being issued with the new "random" serial number. In 2008, a new case from the GMT II was introduced for the Submariner-Date, featuring heavier lugs and crownguard; a cerachrome bezel and updated clasp featuring a quick adjust function were also added. The 14060M did not have these modifications.

A new Submariner-Date, model 116613 (not to be confused with model 16613), based on the "supercase" used in the GMT Master II, was presented at the 2008 Basel show. The first Submariner-Date models offered were a yellow gold with blue face and bezel and a new white gold with blue face and bezel. The stainless steel case model was presented at the 2010 Basel show. Its reference is 116610.

At the 2012 BaselWorld watch show, an updated Submariner ref 114060 was introduced. It replaced the 14060M, with newer "Maxi Case" with "Chromalight" hour markers, ceramic bezel, blue Parachrom hairspring and bracelet with "Glidelock" extension system.[7]

The Rolex Submariner watch case has a diameter of 40.0 mm (1.57 in) mm and a thickness of 13.0 mm (0.51 in), and the case and bracelet weigh 155 g (5.5 oz).[8]


The French diving company COMEX adopted the Rolex Submariner and Sea Dweller as standard issue for their saturation divers in the late 1960s; this continued until the company was sold in 1997.[9]

Current models[edit]

Model number Model Material Bezel Movement Production 2015 USD MSRP
114060 Submariner 40 mm Steel Black 3130 COSC 2012– $7,500
116610LN Submariner Date 40 mm Steel Black 3135 COSC 2010– $8,550
116610LV Submariner Date 40 mm Steel Green 3135 COSC 2010– $9,050
116613LB Submariner Date 40 mm Steel and Yellow Gold Blue 3135 COSC 2009– $13,400
116613LN Submariner Date 40 mm Steel and Yellow Gold Black 3135 COSC 2009– $13,400
116618LB Submariner Date 40 mm Yellow Gold Blue 3135 COSC 2009– $38,800
116618LN Submariner Date 40 mm Yellow Gold Black 3135 COSC 2009– $34,250
116619LB Submariner Date 40 mm White Gold Blue 3135 COSC 2008– $40,250

All models feature 300-meter (1000 feet) water resistance.

Discontinued models[edit]

Model number In production Note
6200 1955
6204 1953
6205 1953–1957
6536 1954–1958
6536/1 1955–1961
A/6538 1957
6538 1958-1961
5508 1958–1965
5510 1959
5512 1959–1978
5513 1962–1990
5513/17 1972–1978
5514 1972–1978
5517 1972–1978
1680 1966–1981
16800 1977–1987
168000 1987
16610 1989–2010
14060 1990–2002
14060M 2002–2012 Certified chronometer 2007–2012
16610LV 2003–2010 50th anniversary model

Submariner spinoff[edit]

The Rolex Sea-Dweller, introduced in 1967, is a heavier-duty steel version of the Submariner, with a thicker case and crystal, as well as a date feature, sans cyclops magnifier. The Sea-Dweller incorporates a helium escape valve for use when decompressing and helium is in the gas mixture of a pressurized habitat; this model (ref 16600) has a guaranteed waterproof depth of 1,220 metres (4,000 ft).

The Sea-Dweller was superseded by the DeepSea Sea-Dweller in late 2008, with the last 16600 Sea-Dwellers produced running into the V-series (late 2008). The DeepSea features a 44 mm case that guarantees a depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 ft) (ref. 116660).

Model information and characteristics[edit]

  • Waterproof to a maximum depth of 300 m (1000 ft). Earlier models were thinner and resistant to 200 metres (660 ft).
  • Triplock system waterproof crown, featuring a triple gasket system, identified by three dots on the crown. Screws down tightly onto the case tube and against the Oyster case to provide extra waterproof protection for underwater diving.
  • Case made from solid block of 904L stainless steel, a corrosion-resistant alloy, or gold. The golds (white or yellow) are made in Rolex's own foundry.
  • Unidirectional bezel that enables a diver to memorize and follow immersion time. As the bezel only rotates counterclockwise, the dive time can only become "shorter" in case of accidental bezel movement, averting the danger of spending too much time underwater.
  • Perpetual rotor in the self-winding wristwatch mechanism, allowing the watch to run continuously, as every slight movement of the wrist winds the movement. The energy generated is stored in the mainspring, allowing the watch to continue to function with no movement for several days. Each movement is a Swiss chronometer officially certified by the COSC.
  • Rolex calendar mechanism that advances to the next date at midnight in a single short rotation.
  • Removable hologram on the caseback, featured until 2007.
  • Recent models of the Submariner and Submariner-Date (late 2008) feature a distinctive "ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX" and serial number engraved on the "inner bezel", also known as the "Rehaut" (French) or "Flange" (English).[10] It also contains a minuscule laser-etched Rolex Crown at the bottom of the crystal in line with 6 o'clock mark.

James Bond[edit]

The Rolex Submariner has appeared in a number of James Bond movies. Sean Connery wore a reference 6538 in his four first movies. In Dr. No.[11] and From Russia with Love, the watch was used with a leather strap, while in Goldfinger and Thunderball the strap had been swapped for an undersized NATO type nylon band (The Ministry of Defence "G10" strap not being commissioned until 1973, and then only in admiralty grey without stripes). George Lazenby wore a reference 5513 with an oyster bracelet in parts of On Her Majesty's Secret Service,[12] as did Roger Moore in his first two movies Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, but with a 7206 "riveted"' bracelet. Timothy Dalton is so far the last Bond actor to wear a Rolex in the Bond franchise. He is seen wearing a Submariner with a date window in his last film Licence to Kill. The watch is arguably a 16800 or 168000, as the movie was shot in the summer of 1988. From GoldenEye onwards, James Bond wears Omega Seamasters.[13][14][15][16]

Related pages[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 GQ magazine GQ: How to Buy a Watch The Classics Buy any one of these signature watches and you can’t go wrong 1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Unveiled in 1953, the Submariner was the first watch water-resistant to 330 feet. Its "combination of unparalleled elegance and spy-friendly versatility" appealed to Sean Connery’s James Bond and none other than Che Guevara.
  2. CNN Money Quote: That explains why big recognizable brands like Cartier, Patek Philippe and Rolex rule. They can be thought of, in fact, as portable status symbols, owing to their tradition of quality workmanship.
  3. "China: Breaking out the largest logos". Time Magazine. 21 September 2007.
  4. New York Times Magazine quote: ...became as much a status symbol as a silver Porsche or a gold-faced Rolex watch.
  5. Guardian UK: What is it with men and their watches? quote: It used to be so simple – rich men adorned themselves with that ultimate macho status symbol the Rolex, while the less well-to-do strapped on Timex or Casio.
  6. "Discover more on". Rolex. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  7. Hodinkee (21 February 2010). "IN-DEPTH: The New Rolex Submariner No-Date Reference 114060 (Live Pics, Specs, Pricing, Video) — HODINKEE – Wristwatch News, Reviews, & Original Stories". Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  8. Battle Of Three Rolex Divers
  11. Grant, Donald (29 June 2006). "Bonding with time". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. Brown, Craig (2012). Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings. Simon and Schuster. p. 267. ISBN 9781451684520.
  13. James Bond
  14. All Omega Seamaster James Bond Watches - An Overview Fratello Watches, 17 August 2015
  15. James Bond’s Watches: The Complete Movie Timeline WatchTime, 5 November 2018
  16. A concise history of James Bond watches REBECCA DOULTON, 13 July 2017

External links[edit]