Your Ultimate Guide to the Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner was one of the very first luxury dive watches and it quickly became the most iconic. If someone asks “What is the most important watch of all time?”, the Rolex Submariner would be the answer to some of us. 

The Rolex Submariner was introduced in 1953, it has not only defined the dive watches in many aspects, but also the sport watches. When you say “luxury sports watches” I think many people will picture the image of a Rolex Submariner in their heads.

What Is So Special About The Rolex Submariner?

Rolex Submariner
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

The Rolex Submariner has been enjoying worldwide favour for more than 60 years now. It is commented to be the most recognizable dive watch in the world. 

This Rolex dive watch has inspired many other dive watches. After the launch of the Submariner, many offshoot watches featuring a stainless steel case, black dial, rotating timing bezel, and luminous hands that follow the design of the Submariner.

The Launch of The First Rolex Submariner

Rolex 16610 Black

The launch of Rolex Submariner helped to develop Rolex as a company that how it would go on to become what it is today. Prior to the 1950s, the watches Rolex produced were described as dress watches or all-purpose watches such as the Rolex Datejust

The year 1953 was a big year for Rolex. It was that year of the debut of The rare Rolex Turn-O-Graph, a few Rolex Explorer watches and the ref. 6204 Submariner Rolex watch. 

The Rolex Submariner was officially first announced at Baselworld in 1954. Actually there are earlier pieces dated to late 1953 by serial number and the stamp on the inside caseback. The ref. 6200 was the very first watch to say “Submariner” on the dial. In this way, logically speaking the 6200 would be the first Submariner model, yet Submariner 6204 was the first official release as a Rolex Submariner watch.

As the officially first Submariner, 6204 had some differences on the key traits compared to the ones we are used to see now. First of all, the case is still relatively thin with a small 5.3mm crown. The bezel is a little bit bolder in design, without smaller graduations between zero and 15. The gilt dial is also more sparse and it has slim pencil-shaped hands on it instead of the Mercedes handset. 

Over the decades Rolex has continued to improve the Submariner. To the point that it has now become one of the most popular watches on the planet. In 2020, the Rolex Submariner has introduced its new generation and received overwhelming response. So without further delay, let’s get to the new arrivals.

The Launch of 2020 New Submariners

The new generations of the Submariner were unveiled in September 2020 while the Baselworld 2020 which was supposed to be held in March got delayed due to COVID-19. 

On the new designs, Rolex has addressed what many others in the Rolex community were not satisfied with. Some people thought the case of the Submariner 116610 was too bulky and blockish that lost the elegance and grace of past generations. So, the new Submariner 126610 has changed from 41mm to 40mm. Another remarkable change to the new Submariner Date is its new engine, Calibre 3235.

Main Features Of The Rolex Submariner

Rolex 16610 50anniv

The Submariner has modified its looks over the decades, but there are still some main features that you can recognise when you are going to shop for one of these amazing watches.

Submariner Date vs No-date

The current Submariner models are divided into two versions, Rolex Submariner date and Submariner no date. There are still many debates among the watch lovers about which one is better throughout the several variations.

Prior to the 1950’s, the Rolex Submariner watches were divided into different water-resistant depth ratings. It is because at that time, there were not many divers who needed a watch with water resistant depth of 600+ feet. Therefore, it was easier to distinguish Rolex different models with different depth ratings, and at different price points. 

However, when we take a look today, all current Submariners are upgraded to water-resistant to 1,000 feet, whether it be the date or no date model. Indeed if you want a deeper rated watch, you can look for the Rolex Sea Dweller with a 4,000 feet rating.


The Submariner models today feature the Cathedral or Mercedes handset with its iconic rounded point on the hand. While its early models in the 1950s featured the pencil hands that were smaller and more subtle. The newer models also feature the name “Submariner” on the dial and have two options for the winding crown, a small and an oversized piece. 

Rolex Submariner
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

Another important feature of the Submariner is its unidirectional bezel. The bezel allows divers to track immersion time. It can rotate in a counterclockwise direction so that time can be “made shorter.” By this way, divers can easily keep track of the amount of time underwater.

Famous Models

Rolex Submariner 116613

The Submariner watches are available in three kinds of materials: Rolex 904L steel, two-tone and gold. As you would know, these Rolex Submariner’s prices vary: stainless steel are the most affordable watches while the gold are the most expensive ones, with two-tone falling in between. Among all, the classic stainless steel ones are usually the most popular Rolex Submariner models.

Black Rolex Submariner 16610
Rolex Submariner 16610 Black

This Rolex Submariner black watch is said to be an excellent entry-level Rolex. It was produced from 1989 to 2010. With the stainless steel bracelet and case, its clean shape with luminescent hands make it a great watch for everyday wear.

Black Rolex Submariner 116610
Rolex Submariner 116610 LN

This watch is an updated model of 16610. The Rolex Submariner 116610 black watch features a 40mm stainless steel case with Rolex patented screw down crown. The classic black dial features white LumiNova hour markers for a striking appearance.

Green Rolex Submariner 116610LV
Rolex Submariner 116610 LV

As the replacement of 16610LV, the Rolex 116610LV was announced in 2010 at the Baselworld. Known as the “Rolex Submariner Hulk” or “Rolex Hulk”, this watch features a green bezel and Maxi dial. This model quickly became one of the most well-known Rolex watches in the market.

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