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A Review of the Rolex Submariner: Info, History, Reference Numbers, and Nicknames

The legendary Rolex Submariner pivoted from a tool watch for divers in the 1950s to become one of the world’s most sought-after luxury sports watches today.

In 1953, the stainless steel Submariner ref. 6204 made its debut as the first diving watch water resistant to 300 feet, equipped with a diver’s bezel and a black dial with luminescent details. Rolex released a flurry of other Submariner watches during the decade, experimenting with design details and functionality. A particularly notable vintage Sub from the era is the Submariner ref. 6538, nicknamed the “James Bond” due to its appearance in the film Dr. No. The Submariner ref. 5512 came out in 1959 and continued to be manufactured until the late 1970s.

In the 1960s, Rolex released a date model with the Submariner ref. 1680 and shortly after the first yellow gold model made an appearance with the Submariner ref. ref. 1680/8.

The first two-tone version, the Submariner ref. 16803, was presented in the early 1980s. Later that decade, the steel no-date Submariner ref. 14060 and the steel date Submariner ref. 16610 were launched, both of which were long-running models. Rounding out the collection were the yellow gold Submariner ref. 16618 and the two-tone Submariner ref. 16613—both available with blue or black dials and bezels. Rolex unveiled the special 50th-anniversary green Submariner ref. 16610LV in 2003, which eventually gained the “Kermit” nickname.

In 2008, Rolex introduced the Cerachrom ceramic bezel to their famous diving watch with the white gold Submariner ref. 116619LB, aka the “Smurf.” Today, Rolex only produces Submariners with ceramic bezels including the no-date steel Submariner ref. 114060, the steel Submariner ref. 116610LN, and the steel and green Submariner ref. 116610LV (nicknamed the “Hulk”). There’s also the yellow gold Submariner ref. 116618 and the two-tone Submariner ref. 116613, available with black (LN) or blue (LB) dials and bezels.

 

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