The Rolex Submariner was the original Rolex dive watch – their flagship underwater timepiece since 1953. For those wanting to go to extreme depths (3,900 metres) – they have the Rolex Sea-Dweller – a record breaking Deepsea legend. Rolex dive watches are often copied but never bettered.
all images © eBay under EPN permissions unless stated
Introduction to the Rolex Submariner
Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London. The company moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1919. Known for its precision and craftsmanship, Rolex introduced numerous innovations, such as the first waterproof wristwatch (the Oyster) in 1926 and the first self-winding mechanism (Perpetual) in 1931. Rolex gained popularity and became a symbol of luxury and prestige, establishing itself as a leading Swiss watchmaker.
The Rolex Submariner is widely considered one of the most iconic and desirable watches in the world. It is a diver’s watch that was introduced in 1953 and has since become a symbol of luxury, elegance, and durability. Interestingly 1953 was the same year we saw the introduction of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.
The Submariner was the first watch to be water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters, making it the ideal companion for professional divers. Over the years, the Submariner has evolved into a status symbol that is widely recognized and coveted by watch enthusiasts all over the world.
The watch above is a fine example of a Rolex Submariner sold recently by our partners at Kensington Gate Watches.
One of the reasons why the Submariner is so good is its impeccable design and functionality. It features a robust and waterproof case that is resistant to pressure, a rotating bezel that allows divers to keep track of their time underwater, and luminescent hands and markers for readability in low light conditions. The watch is also equipped with a reliable and accurate automatic movement, making it a dependable timepiece for any situation.
It truly is a Luxury Diver’s Watch
Let’s not forget it’s origins – the Rolex Submariner is a highly regarded within professional diving communities. The watch has a unidirectional rotating bezel that allows divers to track their dive time and features luminous markers and hands that make it easy to read in low light conditions. The case is made of high-quality stainless steel or gold, and the crystal is scratch-resistant sapphire. The Submariner also features Rolex’s patented Oysterlock safety clasp and Glidelock extension system, which allows the wearer to adjust the length of the bracelet without using any tools (also great for fitting over a wetsuit)
Popular with Celebrities, Athletes and Businessmen
The Submariner has become a popular choice among celebrities, athletes, and successful businessmen. Some notable people who have been seen wearing a Rolex Submariner include James Bond actor Daniel Craig, musician Jay-Z, and former US President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In addition to its practical features, the Submariner is also a symbol of status and luxury. Its timeless design and reputation for quality and precision make it a highly sought-after watch, with some models commanding six-figure prices at auction. This is especially true when they command an excellent provenance.
Some examples discovered recently on eBay
All the watches shown below have been sold this year on eBay. We’ve found very nice, full set examples of Rolex watches like Sea-Dweller 116660 (first watch – sold by Kensington Gate Watches) the Rolex Kermit (full set – private seller) and the Rolex 114060 Submariner No Date (another Kensington Gate Rolex). It might not be the first place that springs to mind when looking to buy, or sell, a used Rolex Submariner – but it’s definitely worth checking now.
Many timepieces selling for over £1,500 (or $1,500) in the UK (USA) are covered by the eBay Certificate of Authenticity. Keep an eye out for the BLUE TICK on the listing. If it’s got the BLUE TICK – you know it’s a 100% genuine Rolex – independently certified.
all images © eBay under EPN permissions
Certified Genuine Rolex Submariner on eBay
For customers in the UK we recommend TWO prestigious specialist jewellers. Kensington Gate Watches ✅ and Mark Worthington Jewellers ✅. These two dealers have extensive knowledge on a majority of luxury watch brands including Breitling, Omega and Rolex.
Discover a collection of the finest examples of genuine Rolex watches – all covered by the industry respected eBay Authenticity Guarantee ✅. Why risk buying a Rolex watch with no provenance or certification when you can purchase one with zero risks. The certificate of authenticity comes with NO COST to the buyer whatsoever – it also makes re-selling the watch a lot easier in the future. Click the banner below to browse the latest offerings. This is a direct link to eBay with filtered results to show only the best authentic Rolex watches on the market today.
Ernest Jones for Luxury Watches (UK)
Our shopping partner for customers in the UK is Ernest Jones. Please click the banner below to browse their wide range of watches from leading brands including Citizen, Seiko, Bell & Ross, Breitling, Omega, Bremont, Tudor, G-Shock and TAG Heuer to name just a few
The famous trio – Kermit, Hulk and Smurf
The Submariner range features three distinct styles given nicknames by Rolex fans. You won’t find Rolex official referring to these models with this nomenclature. However, like the Seiko Pepsi, these watches are more commonly known by their nicknames
- HULK – the Rolex Hulk is – you guessed it – the ALL GREEN version. Officially it’s known as the Rolex Submariner 116610LV
- SMURF – the Rolex Smurf is unsurprisingly BLUE. There are two versions with a blue bezel. The original Submariner Smurf 116619LB has a blue dial and blue bezel. The more recent model is the 126619LB with a black dial and blue bezel
- KERMIT – the Rolex Kermit is a very frog like GREEN with a black dial. Officially the Rolex Submariner 16610LV and the newer 126610LV with a darker green bezel, sometimes referred to as the Rolex Starbucks.
New Models of Submariner
In 2020 Rolex released a new Submariner range using model codes 1266nn(xx). Naturally, demand for these new models is high and prices for new full set versions can be more than double the official Rolex price. One of those on the “most wanted” lists of many watch collectors is the 126610LV (Submariner Kermit). Featuring an Oystersteel case, black dial and a distinctly deeper green dive bezel. Accordingly, this new green model has already inherited the nickname of the NEW Rolex Kermit.
Power Reserve of 70 hours – Calibre 3230
These new models feature the Rolex Calibre 3230 self-winding mechanical movement (calibre 3235 in the Submariner DATE models). It can be hand wound if left unworn for several days. Following a full wind the calibre 3230 movement should provide accurate (within +/- 2 sec/day) timekeeping for up to 70 hours. Keep it on your wrist and it will run and run – wound by the perpetual rotor. Like all Rolex Oyster models the Submariner has passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests.
© courtesy of RolexMagazine (external link for more information)
Chromalight Display – illuminating the depths
When the sun goes down, or diving under the waves, you can rely on the dial’s Chromalight display. Another Rolex original innovation providing impressive visibility at depth and in the dark. Simple shapes are used for the our markers – triangles, circles and rectangles. To enable instant reading the broad hour and minute hands provide reliable reading – essential when diving underwater.
What to pay for a Submariner
Expect to pay anything from £5,000 to £30,000 for used Rolex Submariner watches. The massive difference in price can be appointed to several factors including:
- Provenance – the better the proof of authenticity / original ownership to more expensive the watch will be
- Model variety – the Submariner is available with several case materials. The cheapest being Rolex Oystelsteel – then Oystersteel and Yellow Gold and finally White Gold
- Popularity – there is huge interest at the moment in the Rolex Smurf (blue bezel), the Rolex Hulk (all green) and the Rolex Kermit (green & black). Prices of these models reflect their popularity especially the HULK which has NOT been reproduced in the new line up.
- Rarity – some models are much rarer than others. We have seen models from the 1970’s sell for over £25,000. Standard steel cased models but the harder to find NO DATE version, complete with box, papers and original jeweller’s receipt.
- Do your research – this is a major investment. Research the specific model on websites such as Chrono24.co.uk and Watchfinder.com. Narrow it down to a specific model number and year eg – “Submariner 116610LN Black”
Some of the Most Expensive Rolex Submariners
Rolex Submariner watches are some of the most sought-after timepieces in the world of luxury watches, and their value often increases over time. In the pre-owned market, some of the most expensive Rolex Submariner watches are those that are vintage or rare, with unique features or special editions. Here are some examples of the most expensive pre-owned Rolex Submariner watches:
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 6200: This vintage watch, produced in the 1950s, is one of the rarest and most sought-after Rolex Submariner models. Its value can exceed $300,000 in the pre-owned market.
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 1680 Red Submariner: This watch was produced in the 1970s and features a red Submariner logo on the dial. It is a highly collectible vintage watch and can fetch over $100,000 in the pre-owned market.
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610LV “Kermit”: This watch, produced in the mid-2000s, was a limited edition and featured a green bezel and black dial. It is highly sought-after by collectors and can fetch over $20,000 in the pre-owned market.
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610T: This watch, produced in the early 2000s, is a transitional model that features a mix of old and new design elements. It is a rare and collectible watch that can fetch over $15,000 in the pre-owned market.
- Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538: This vintage watch, produced in the 1950s, is often referred to as the “James Bond” Submariner due to its appearance in several Bond films. It is a highly sought-after collector’s item and can fetch over $100,000 in the pre-owned market.
Overall, pre-owned Rolex Submariner watches can vary in price depending on their age, condition, rarity, and special features. Collectors and enthusiasts are willing to pay a premium for watches that have historical significance or are in exceptional condition, making them highly valuable in the pre-owned market.
Rolex Smurf 116619LB / 126619LB
The Rolex Submariner 116619LB & 126619LB – also known as the Rolex SMURF. A stunning diver’s watch with BLUE bezel. LB stands for “Lunette Bleu” which literally means blue bezel. The Rolex ref 116619LB is the true ALL BLUE Smurf. The newer Rolex ref 126619LB features a BLUE bezel and contrasting BLACK dial.
Rolex Kermit 16610LV / 126610LV
The Rolex Submariner Kermit watch incorporating two models reference 16610LV and 126610LV. A highly collectible Rolex diver’s watch with a distinctive green bezel and contrasting black dial. LV stands for “Lunette Verte” which literally means green bezel. The newer 126610LV with it’s darker green bezel is sometimes referred to as the Rolex Starbucks as shown below.
Rolex Hulk 116610LV
The Rolex Submariner 116610LV – also known as the Rolex HULK. A very popular Rolex diver’s watch with a distinctive green bezel and matching green dial. LV stands for “Lunette Verte” which literally means green bezel.
Introduction to the Rolex Sea-Dweller
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is a professional dive watch that was first introduced in 1967. It is part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line of watches and is designed specifically for deep-sea diving. The Sea-Dweller is the result of Rolex’s collaboration with the French diving company COMEX, and it was created to meet the needs of professional divers who needed a watch that could withstand the extreme pressures of deep-sea diving.
© courtesy of Bobs Watches
One of the key features of the Rolex Sea-Dweller is its depth rating. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was initially certified to a depth of 610m. Today’s models have a waterproof rating of 1,220m (4,000ft) and 3,900m (12,800ft) – the latter being the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea.
The Sea-Dweller achieves these depths through its innovative design, which includes a helium escape valve that allows for the release of built-up gases during decompression. This feature makes the watch an essential tool for saturation divers who spend extended periods of time in pressurized environments.
Triplock Winding Crown for added Protection
The Sea-Dweller also features Rolex’s patented Triplock winding crown, which provides an additional layer of protection against water infiltration. The crown screws down tightly onto the case, creating a hermetic seal that prevents water from entering the watch. The watch is also equipped with a unidirectional rotatable bezel, which allows divers to accurately track their immersion time and decompression stops.
Calibre 3235 Automatic Movement
Like all Rolex watches, the Sea-Dweller is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement that is renowned for its accuracy and reliability. The movement is protected by a solid caseback that is designed to withstand the pressures of deep-sea diving. Current models incorporate Rolex calibre 3235.
© courtesy of RolexMagazine (external link for more information)
The calibre 3235 is a self-winding mechanical movement – the forefront of the art of watchmaking. Innovative design – with 14 patents – offering extraordinary levels of precision, 70 hours power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism (being made of nickel-phosphorus – a material insensitive to magnetic interference.)
Over the years, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has undergone several updates and improvements. In 2017, Rolex released a new version of the Sea-Dweller to celebrate the watch’s 50th anniversary. The new model features a larger case, a ceramic bezel insert, and a cyclops lens over the date window, among other updates.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is a tool watch that is designed for serious divers and professionals who require a watch that can withstand the rigors of deep-sea diving. However, its robust construction, innovative features, and timeless design have also made it a popular choice among collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate the watch’s durability and precision.
The James Cameron – Deepsea Challenge
Planning a trip to the deepest parts of the world’s oceans then you’ll want the Rolex Sea-Dweller to accompany you. And that’s what James Cameron the mogul movie director did. He bravely took the Rolex Sea-Dweller to world record depths in his one man Deepsea Challenger submarine.
The watch above is a stunning example of a used Rolex Sea-Dweller sold recently by our partners at Kensington Gate Watches. All watches sold here are independently Certified Authentic
Cameron Deepsea 116660 and Single Red 126600
James Cameron, the mogul movie director, bravely took the Rolex to world record depths in his one man Deepsea Challenger submarine. Amazingly they descended to a body crushing depth of 6.8 miles. Needless to say, the Rolex survived and a legend was born – the Rolex Deepsea. It’s a stunning watch with a deep and alluring blue to black dial. The original Rolex 116660 Cameron Deepsea and the Sea Dweller Red 126600 are the most popular models. However, all versions are getting hard to find in full set condition with box and papers.
What to pay for a Rolex Sea-Dweller
Expect to pay anything from £7,000 to £90,000 for a pre-owned Rolex Sea-Dweller. The wide price differential can be appointed to several factors including:
- Provenance – you will pay more for unequivocal proof of authenticity / original ownership.
- Model variety – with several case materials – the cheapest Rolex Sea-Dweller features the Rolex Oystersteel case- then Oystersteel & Yellow Gold and finally the most expensive White Gold
- Rarity – some models are simply rarer than others. The lowest production runs usually attract the highest prices. For example a Rolex COMEX Sea-Dweller 1665 could fetch anything around £90,000
- Do your research – get to be an expert on the model you’re looking to purchase. Use websites such as Chrono24.co.uk and Watchfinder.com. Narrow it down to a specific model number and year eg. – “Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea D Blue James Cameron 126660”
More about James Cameron and his legendary dive.
In 1960 Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh broke records when they reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep part of the Mariana Trench. Their vessel was called the Trieste – a 2 man deepsea “bathyscaphe” submersible. They achieved a maximum depth of 10,911 metres (35,797 ft)
World’s Deepest Solo Dive
In 2012 James Cameron completed an historic solo expedition also diving deep in to the Mariana Trench. His dive rewarded him with a place in the record books – World’s Deepest Solo Dive. He was accompanied (externally – attached to his submersible) by a Rolex Sea-Dweller. Inside his submersible – out of respect for his record breaking Trieste peers – he took a Rolex Deepsea Special watch from 1960.
Such a difficult question to answer with honesty and conviction. It depends on how much you want one and when you want it. A £7,000 Submariner can easily fetch in excess of £12,000 on the used watch market. Do loads of research before parting with any money. Look at a website like WatchCharts.com and track the price of a specific model.
Rolex only make a certain number of watches per year. Just because demand is high doesn’t mean their going to work a night shift to churn out some more watches. Remember – this is a highly desirable luxury item. As such, meeting demand head on would have a negative effect on their resale value
Anything from £3,000 upwards to over £50,000. It hugely depends on the specific model, it’s provenance, and, in some cases, who previously owned it. We have more information on pricing factors and examples of expensive Rolex Submariner here.
Yes and No. As with most luxury watch brands at this time the market is very volatile. It makes sense to follow the value of a specific model on a website like WATCHCHARTS.com. Our philosophy is simple – if you’re buying a watch to make money – forget it, there are better long term investments. If you are buying it because you love the craftsmanship, engineering, innovation and beauty – get your cash out now.
Longer than any of us have to worry about. Get it professionally serviced every 4 or 5 years and it will never miss a beat.
Further Reading & External Shopping Links
It’s simple, free and greatly appreciated if you can show your support for ChronoDivers. Just click on the shopping link below to browse the selection of Rolex watches either on eBay or with our shopping partners (where available). You don’t need to buy anything – just click the link – thank you very much!
- eBay Guaranteed Authentic – filtered selection of genuine Rolex watches
- Official Website (external link) – Rolex.com