The Rolex Submariner is one of the most copied wristwatches in the world. Easily recognizable with a matte black face, contrasting silver hands, a rotating black bezel, and solid-looking oyster bracelet, the Rolex Submariner is one of Rolex’s iconic models. Like the German Porsche 911 sports car, the Rolex Submariner utilizes timeless design that looks as striking in its 1954 introduction as it does today.

 

1954 was a magical year for Rolex. At the 1954 Basel Watch Fair, Rolex unveiled a cyclops date lens on their DateJust dress watches, a women’s Oyster Perpetual certified chronometer, the Explorer, and the Submariner’s predecessor Turn-O-Graph all unveiled at this show.  In addition to these watches was the Rolex Submariner. The Submariner was the first wristwatch waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet). Utilizing the technology Rolex developed when making the special DeepSea wrist watch strapped to Professor Auguste Piccard’s bathyscaphe that withstood 10,335 ft below sea level six months prior, Rolex released what they considered the “divers friend” for the budding Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) industry.

 

 

The original Rolex Submariner 6204 utilized Rolex’s patented Oyster case with screwdown winding crown, and acrylic crystal that became tighter on the case when under pressure. The watch had what was considered large for 1954 a very readable 40mm watch face, and a rotating bezel used for measuring elapsed time –a needed requirement for timing decompression stops and/or time underwater.   After the 1954 introduction, the Submariner was quickly upgraded to model 6538 that added the Mercedes style hour hand, and larger Triplock screwdown winding crown.  The iconic crown guards to protect the Triplock winding crown was introduced in 1959 with model 5512.  10 years later in 1969, the Submariner Date was introduced incorporating both the cyclops date lens and date wheel from the DateJust line.

 

 

The iconic Submariner design became burned into Rolex history over the next 25 years with minor modifications and upgrades.  Not until 2008 did the Submariner receive a significant upgrade. The new-generation Submariner released in 2008 incorporated other Rolex technical improvements found on the GMT’s and DateJust lines. First released in 18k gold, the Submariner Date had a boxier, heavier case, Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert, Chromalight luminescence, solid links in the bracelet, and the easily adjustable Glidelock clasp.  2009 saw the introduction of the Rolesor (steel and gold) Submariner, and 2010 came the all steel Submariner in corrosion resistant 904L stainless steel.

 

The modern 116610 Rolex Submariner is the quintessential dive watch because it honors all its predecessors with its same lines, increased water depth rating, easily readable watch face, and a design that shouts durability just as the 1954 version did. Come into Fourtané and try on both the early versions and the modern version of the Rolex Submariner. There is no other watch like it.

-Sheldon Smith