Without a doubt, the Rolex Submariner revolutionized the art of high-end watchmaking when it launched in 1953. It was one of the world’s first-ever diving watches, characterized by its black rotating bezel, its luminous hands and hour markers, and its matt black dial. Since the first Submariner took the world by storm, several precious metal options have been made available, including 18k yellow gold and two-tone versions.
Yet, it’s the all-steel models that have remained the most popular and sought-after on the new and pre-owned market. In this review, we’re going to look at the Rolex Submariner 116610LN model.
Up until 2010, it was the Submariner model 16610LN that everyone was going wild for. It remained a successful model for 20 years before Rolex discontinued it, but it remains a highly prized watch on the second-hand market. The only modifications Rolex added to the design were a ceramic bezel as opposed to an aluminum one and a slightly more modern aesthetic. The result was the 116610LN – one of the most desirable luxury wristwatches on the market today.
A bit of background on the Rolex Submariner
When Rolex released the Submariner, it was the first automatic watch to offer a water resistance of 100 meters. Even those who didn’t require its water-resistant capability appreciated its ingenuity. Combining cutting-edge case technology with a design that was pleasing on the eye certainly hit collectors’ sweet spots. It earned Rolex worldwide admiration for its forward-thinking approach to watchmaking.
The invention of the Submariner wouldn’t mark the only time Rolex reached a similar milestone. Just three years later, it would manufacture the first wristwatch to display a date along with the day in full across the dial with the Rolex Datejust.
The first Submariner model was the Rolex 6204, which featured luminous, oversized central hands and a matt black dial. People went crazy for it. By the time it reached Hollywood, it would be seen on the wrist of 007 Agent, James Bond in the first James Bond movie. This Rolex Submariner ref 6538 was dubbed the “James Bond Sub.”
The character would sport many a Submariner on his wrist, including reference number 5513, worn by Roger Moore in 1973 in the movie Live and Let Die. Other icons seen to be enjoying the Rolex Submariner on the wrist include Che Guevara and Steve McQueen.
The Rolex Submariner 116610LN
The great thing about the Rolex Submariner 116610LN is that it’s packed with all the features you’d expect from a modern-day dive watch, plus more! In a way that no other luxury diver’s watch appears to do, the Submariner bridges that gap between something practical enough to venture down to daring depths of the sea and a companion that you can easily add to smart attire by night.
The popularity of the Submariner flourished through the 1970s when the steel sports craze took off. It could appear casual and sporty when paired with more relaxed attire, yet its classic steel and black aesthetic looked professional enough to accompany a suit or other formal attire.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of the Rolex Submariner 116610LN model. Then we’ll go into a little more detail on what these features mean for you as the wearer.
+ Long-lasting luminescence
+ 18k gold and Chromalight material on the bezel
+ Water-resistant to 300 meters
+ Ceramic bezel with 60-minute graduations coated in platinum
+ Wider lugs
+ Ebony black dial
+ Oyster case design crafted from Rolex’s 904L stainless steel
+ Larger crown
+ 3136 Caliber with Parachrom Hairspring
+ Glidelock Oystersteel Bracelet
The case, the dial, and the bezel
Compared to its predecessor, the green-colored Rolex Hulk model ref 16610LV, the 116610LN was designed to look and feel more sophisticated. Its Oystersteel case is crafted in the same way as the 16610LN. A middle monobloc piece of 904L stainless steel is combined with a screw-down caseback and a screw-down crown. Together, this combination promises further resistance to corrosion, shock, and the knocks and bumps associated with anyone wearing it for a significant degree of exploration.
It’s also worth noting that Rolex has been equipping all its latest models over the last few years with its 904L stainless steel. This steel grade is non-stabilized austenitic stainless steel with a low carbon content widely used in the chemical process industry. One of the main advantages to 904L stainless steel compared to 316L stainless steel is its resistance to acids thanks to its addition of copper.
The Rolex Submariner 116610LN is also equipped with a crown integrated with a patented Triplock triple waterproof system making it exceptionally robust for an underwater venture. This construction features three sealed zones – two of the O-ring gaskets positioned in the tube – a third under the winding crown.
The bezel of this Sub is crafted from Cerachrom – a highly anti-corrosive and virtually scratch-proof material that also prevents its rich black color from fading under sunlight. The graduations marked out on its surface are highly legible, framing the ‘Maxi’ dial (with noticeably chunkier appliques) perfectly. To reiterate – the Submariner model ref 116610LN will hold up much better in saltwater than the 16610LN.
Lastly, the dial’s important elements are coated in Chromalight – an upgrade to the Submariner’s former Super-LumiNova material, which emitted a green glow. Instead, this Sub illuminates in a captivating blue glow by night, making it both easy and enjoyable to reference the time in dark conditions. The dial also features a practical date window at 3 o’clock.
The bracelet and clasp
Aside from an anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire glass lens, the model is also equipped with a Glidelock extension system. This feature went hand-in-hand with an upgrade to its Oystersteel bracelet when it launched. Rolex experts specially designed the watch’s sleeker profile for a life lived underwater. It allows you as the diver to expand the bracelet in 2mm increments to a total length of 20mm. In turn, this enables a comfortable and secure fit to the wrist for all kinds of underwater exploration.
The Caliber 3135 beats at the heart of this Submariner model. Rolex equips the movement with a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom Hairspring for overall smoother performance. The engine provides a 48-hour power reserve and promises an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.
How does it wear on the wrist?
Thanks to a universally appealing size of 40mm, the Rolex Submariner 116610LN has been cleverly crafted to suit all wrist sizes. Its robust, water-resistant case with broad lugs and a hefty bracelet design creates a huge presence on the wrist. That said, if you have a slim wrist, it certainly won’t get lost underneath a big chunk of steel. The chiseled physique of this Sub is a match made in heaven for the slender wrist.
Legible hours and baton markers make timekeeping exceptionally easy, whether you’re referencing the dial during the daytime or in the darkest hours of the night. Larger crown guards and a thicker set of lugs give this Submariner a noticeably larger appearance than the 16610LN, albeit in relatively compact dimensions.
With all-around ruggedly handsome looks, an impeccable in-house-made movement, and an instantly recognizable design, the Submariner 116610LN has it all. An anti-corrosive solid steel housing that protects the Caliber 3135 will promise longevity on the wrist. At the same time, its 40mm Cerachrom luminous coated bezel will light the way as you measure elapsed diving minutes underwater.
The bezel is also scratch-proof and resistant to color fading, UV ray damage, and chlorinated water damage. You can go for hours not wearing this Submariner without worrying whether the hands have kept accurate time. The Caliber 3135 ensures a seamless performance inside a 300-meter water-resistant case.
You don’t need to be a diving enthusiast to enjoy all the fundamental design elements of this innovative, robust, and highly durable Rolex. It’s one of those go-anywhere, do-anything type of watch that you’ll struggle to say “no” to.