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The Evolution of Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is undeniably one of the most widely recognized watch collections from the esteemed brand. Although originally designed for practical diving purposes, the Submariner has evolved into a fashionable accessory cherished by modern individuals. This series continues to dominate the search rankings within the vast array of Rolex timepieces, illustrating its unparalleled popularity. 

Photo Credit: Phillips

With a history spanning over 70 years, the Submariner has continually evolved in terms of both technology and aesthetics, laying the foundation for the development of diving watches in the future.

Significant Milestones in the Development of the #Rolex Submariner Series:

1953 - Introduction of the First Rolex Submariner

The model #6204 marked the world's first professional diving watch with a water resistance of up to 100 meters. It featured the A.260 self-winding movement and incorporated a black rotating bezel with distinctive hour markers, establishing the prototype for subsequent models.

Photo Credit: Bob's Watches

1959 - Addition of Customized Features for Divers

Starting with the model #5512, the Submariner series began incorporating more features tailored specifically for divers. The design of the timepiece began to resemble that of the modern Submariner. The watch diameter increased from 36mm to 40mm, a crown guard was introduced to prevent accidental operation of the crown underwater, the grooves on the bezel extended from the side to the front, and minute markers were added to the first 15 minutes of the bezel.

Photo Credit: The Watch Club London

1966 - Introduction of Contemporary Design Elements

With the model #1680, a date window with a magnifying Cyclops lens was introduced at 3 o'clock, replacing the previous hour marker. The watch featured the Caliber 1675 self-winding movement and changed the Submariner text at the bottom of the dial to red.

Photo Credit: Monochrome

1977-79 - Enhanced Waterproof Functionality and Improved Case Materials

Starting in 1977, the Submariner adopted a Triplock winding crown with triple waterproofness. With the model #16800, the water resistance of the Submariner series increased to 300 meters. The acrylic crystal on the date window was replaced with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, enhancing legibility. Additionally, metal surrounds were added to the dial markers, preventing the fading issues of previous models.

Photo Credit: Tropical Watch

2003 - Introduction of the First "Green Hulk" Submariner

During the Submariner's 50th anniversary, Rolex released a limited edition model, the #16610LV, featuring a green bezel. While the "Black Hulk" remains the most iconic and traditional model, the bold color scheme gained significant market popularity. Subsequently, in 2010, the green bezel and dial design of the 116610LV further fueled the unprecedented demand.

Photo Credit: The Watch Club London

2010 - Introduction of Cerachrom Bezel and Chromalight Luminescence

The use of Cerachrom ceramic bezel replaced the previous anodized aluminum bezel, reducing the likelihood of scratches and fading due to UV exposure. Furthermore, the Submariner series adopted Chromalight luminescence, replacing the previous Super-Luminova technology. This enhancement resulted in a brighter and more distinct luminescent display while minimizing concerns about potential radiation from tritium.

Photo Credit: The Vintage Guy

2020 - Further Updates to the Submariner series

The design changes in the 2020s for the Rolex Submariner series include an increased case diameter of 41mm. Both the black and green bezel versions feature the classic Oyster steel bracelet. The blue and black dial model incorporated gold accents within the Oyster steel. Additionally, there are models entirely crafted from 18ct white gold, namely the 126618LB, 126618LN, and the highly anticipated blue bezel with a black dial, 126619LB. These models feature 18ct white gold construction. Furthermore, both the Submariner and Submariner Date have been equipped with the new 3230 and 3235 movements, respectively.

Photo Credit: Westate Watches


The Rolex Submariner series embodies the brand's classic excellence, combining precise timekeeping, versatile functionality, groundbreaking design, and cultural significance, making it the epitome of Rolex watches. Its enduring charm is undeniable. It is not surprising that even after 70 years, this series continues to hold a prominent position in the watch market.

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