Ever since Rolex launched the very first Submariner in 1953, this watch has become one of the most desired in the world. It’s a highly functional diving watch that looks incredible. Through the years, it has adorned the wrists of everyone from professional saturation divers to high-profile businesspeople. It’s also James Bond’s watch of choice and has been worn by him in some of the franchise’s most famous movies, including Dr. No and Goldfinger.
There have been more incarnations of the Rolex Submariner than there have been actors who’ve played 007. That means that prospective buyers have a lot to choose from. At the end of this guide, you should be in a better position to know which Rolex Submariner is right for you.
Current Rolex Submariner Models
There are currently eight different Rolex Submariner modes that the luxury Swiss watch brand is manufacturing. There are some distinct differences between each of these models, which are differentiated by their ‘Reference’ number.
There are also some key similarities too. Each current Rolex Submariner offers water resistance to a depth of 300m or 1,000ft. They all have a diameter of 40mm.
Now let’s go through each of the current models and have a look at their key features.
This is the lowest priced Rolex Submariner. It has a gorgeous black dial, as well as a 40mm Oyster case. The architecture of the case includes a monobloc middle case, a screw-down backing, and a winding crown. It features a 3130 self-winding caliber movement, and it’s entirely chronograph.
The bracelet’s three-piece linked structure is made completely from Oystersteel. The bezel rotates in one direction, and it has engravings at each minute, which truly enhances its looks. This is a classic Rolex Submariner that offers stunning aesthetics.
Why Invest in the Reference: 114060?
The cost is one of the biggest selling points of this Rolex Submariner as it is the lowest-priced model in the series. It isn’t, of course, cheap, as no watch sold by Rolex is, but if you want to get the best value-for-money, then this Rolex Submariner is the one for you. Alternatively, Rolex does offer cheaper watches.
At first glance, this Submariner might look very similar to the previous model on our list. That’s because it also has a black dial, an Oystersteel bracelet, case, and a uni-directional bezel. But there are two main differences between the 116610LN and 114060. This model has a date box in the dial, which has a Cyclops lens over it. The movement is also different from the previous model, with the caliber 3135 movement.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116610LN?
If your Rolex Submariner must have a date box on its dial, then this is the best choice for you, as this classic watch comes with the bonus of the date display inset into the black dial.
This Rolex Submariner is stunning. That’s one of the reasons why it’s one of the best-selling watches in the Submariner series. Some people refer to this watch as the Hulk Rolex Submariner. That’s because it has a gorgeous green dial and green bezel. It was the very first Rolex to use this color scheme.
It was initially used as part of a limited-edition Submariner that was put out to mark half-a-century since the first Submariner was released. All of the specifications are the same as the previous watch on our list, except for the color scheme.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116610LV?
It’s a matter of taste as to whether you like the green color scheme or not. People tend to love or hate it. If you do love it, then it’s worth investing in, as this Rolex has a distinct personality. The green dial stands out a lot more than the black dial of our previous models.
This Rolex Submariner features a yellow Rolesor design. This means that it has an Oyster bracelet constructed out of a combination of Oystersteel and 18ct yellow gold. It also has a yellow Rolesor case. The dial is blue, as is the uni-directional, rotatable bezel. It also has numerals and gradations in gold. As with all Rolex Submariners, the sapphire crystal is impossible to scratch.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116613LB?
If you like the signature Rolesor design that’s associated with Rolex, then this is an ideal Rolex Submariner to invest in. The inclusion of gold puts the price up, but it’s worth it if you’ve got it.
This Rolex Submariner shares the same specifications as the previous watch on our list. The key difference is the color scheme. Instead of blue, the dial and the bezel are black. Everything else is the same, including the Rolesor design. The bezel looks particularly classy in black. The gold numeral and gradations, as well as the scratch-resistant Cerachrom in ceramic, are particularly well offset by this color scheme.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116613LN?
If you think that the blue dial of the previous model is too gaudy, and would instead prefer the understated looks of a black dial, then this is the best Rolex Submariner to choose.
Instead of the Rolesor design or the classic Oystersteel that’s so closely associated with the Rolex brand, this luxury Rolex Submariner instead has an 18ct yellow gold case and an 18ct yellow gold bracelet. This is one of the highest quality gold alloys around.
It looks good too, and, with a blue dial and blue bezel, the colors complement each other well. This watch features the standard 3135 caliber movement, and this means that it has received the certification from Rolex as being a Superlative Chronometer.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116618LB?
The value of gold fluctuates over time, meaning that this watch isn’t just a handsome watch to adorn your wrist, but it’s also a long-term investment that could be sold in the future for a big profit.
Aesthetics once again differentiates this model from the previous one on our list. Instead of a blue dial and a blue bezel, this Rolex Submariner has a black dial and bezel. The results are impressive. The black and the yellow gold complement each other very well, giving this watch a truly eye-catching look.
Of course, as with all Rolex Submariners, you have assured a high level of durability. Every material is resistant to scratching or damage of any sort, regardless of how much it’s knocked about.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116618LN?
The same goes for this watch as the previous model. It’s a gold Rolex, which means that it could gain value as the years go on. But it’s also a good-looking watch that should be chosen if you like the color scheme.
This is the final model that’s produced as part of the Rolex Submariner series. It’s also the most expensive Rolex Submariner on the market too. The reason for this eye-watering price is because of the case and bracelet that’s made from 18ct white gold. This doesn’t just enhance the price but also the looks, and it goes perfectly with the blue dial and blue bezel.
Why Invest in the Reference: 116619LB?
This is the most expensive new Rolex Submariner on the market. For the money, you’re getting one of the finest, highest-quality timepieces on earth. If you demand perfection from everything in your life, then this model is for you.
Discontinued Rolex Submariner Models
Rolex watches are made to last. Although a Rolex may have been built some decades ago, as long as it was looked after, then it will function as new now. It will also look as good as it did when it was first made too. That means that you should always consider a pre-owned Rolex Submariner.
The fact that a Rolex is pre-owned doesn’t mean that it will cost less than a new Rolex Submariner. Of course, if the model has been discontinued, then it’s no longer being made, meaning it’s rare. As everyone knows, the rarer something is, the more money it’s going to cost. And that’s certainly true when it comes to luxury watches like the Rolex.
Let’s have a look at some of the best discontinued Rolex Submariner models.
This is the so-called Kermit Rolex Submariner. It was sold for a limited time and was put on the market to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Rolex Submariner. It was first released in 2003 before it was discontinued seven years later in 2010. The distinct black dial and green, uni-directional, rotatable bezel differentiated it from the Hulk Rolex Submariner that you’ll find earlier on our list.
The dial on this Rolex Submariner was an exclusive design, and it was changed eight times during the years it was available. This watched used a 3135-caliber movement, and it offered a water resistance down to 1,000ft, like the current Rolex Submariner models. It also had a date indicator box that was located at the 3 o’clock area.
Why Invest in the Reference: 16610LV?
This limited edition Rolex Submariner has only been out of circulation for a decade but has already gained an incredible amount of value. This watch will continue to generate more value as more time goes by.
The sooner you invest in this model, the better. It was a beautiful watch that collectors are still keen to get their hands on now, as well as countless people who want this Hulk watch on their wrists.
This classic Rolex Submariner is a huge favorite with Rolex aficionados. The black dial doesn’t feature a date indicator, allowing for a much cleaner display. It has an aluminum bezel insert that is very robust, although there are some issues to do with fading. It was the first Rolex Submariner to offer water resistance down to 300m, as it was also the first Rolex Submariner to have a sapphire crystal and Triplock crown.
Why Invest in the Reference: 14060?
Owning this Rolex Submariner, means owning a piece of Rolex history, as it bridged the gap between the old-style Submariners and the modern references we know now. It’s also a highly functional watch that looks excellent, so it could easily be bought as a financial investment or as a Rolex to wear.
The 5512 Rolex Submariner is iconic. It spent 20 years in production, from its launch in 1959 until the late 70s. During this time, this watch went through many minor alterations but generally kept the same design. This watch was Steve McQueen’s everyday choice, and its understated, cool look certainly went well with the actor’s style.
Why Invest in the Reference: 5512?
If you have the capital to invest in a 5512, then you’re assured to make a lot of money in the long-term. As this watch was in production for almost 20 years, then it will depend on the rarity of the specific year and style that you purchase this Rolex Submariner in. Some of the rarest 5512s have been sold at auction for as much as $200,000. Of course, the later the model, the more of them that are in circulation, and the smaller the amount of money you can purchase them for. If you can find a mint 5512, then it’ll look perfect on your wrist, too, as it features the classic Submariner shape that’s no longer present on the newer Rolex Submariner references.
Should You Buy a Rolex Submariner Without Papers?
If you’re considering investing in one of the famous Rolex Submariners that are no longer manufactured, then you will need to purchase pre-owned versions. You have two options when it comes to a pre-owned Rolex Watch.
Either you buy one that comes with all its papers, and is inside the original packaging, assuring you that it is a genuine Rolex, or you purchase a Rolex Submariner without papers. Of course, the risk of purchasing a Rolex Submariner without its papers is that you don’t buy the genuine article, or you buy a stolen Rolex. Then again, a pre-owned Rolex Submariner without papers can cost you a lot less than one with papers.
As long as you purchase the pre-owned Rolex Submariner without papers from a reputable seller, then you should be confident that the watch is legitimately a Rolex. But make sure you invest time into researching the seller before handing over your money, or you may be spending your cash on a dud.
With or without a date indicator?
This is, quite simply, a matter of taste. The date inset makes a big difference to the look of the dial. Many Rolex Submariner purists much prefer the clean style of a no-date watch. In fact, most of the classic Submariner references do not have a date inset. When it comes to the new Rolex Submariner watches, you have the limited choice of buying one that comes without a date indicator.
If you’re not a fan of the date indicator, then you’re going to have to invest in a pre-owned vintage Rolex Submariner, or you’ll have to go for the 114060, which is a gorgeous watch. Ask yourself if you like the date indicator or not, then ask if it’s necessary or not. If you don’t like it and you don’t think it’s necessary, then there’s no need to invest in a Rolex Submariner that has a date indicator. It’s as simple as that.
This is a general piece of advice that budding collectors always need to keep in mind. It doesn’t matter about the value of a watch. If you intend to wear it, instead of keeping it squirreled away in a cupboard or a box somewhere, then you must like the way the watch looks. And a date indicator is just one of those features that you’ll either love or hate.