Rolex is undeniably the most iconic and well-known luxury watch brand in the world.
Upon its founding, no-one could ever have imagined just how influential Rolex would become.
One of the most iconic and distinct Rolex models is the Rolex Submariner. It is instantly recognized by its shape and design, and a watch which has had a huge influence and has worked as a big design inspiration for many watch brands.
With its unique style and shape, the Rolex Submariner is truly something unique, but the Submariner wasn’t always like that. The history of the Rolex Submariner stretches back many years, and at the time upon its release, no-one would believe just how important of a watch it would become. Not only for Rolex but for the watch industry.
In this article, we’re sharing the top 33 most interesting facts about Rolex Submariner.
33 most interesting facts about Rolex Submariner
1. The Submariner model went into production in 1953
2. The first Rolex Submariner was introduced to the public in 1954
It was released at the Basel Watch Fair.
3. The Rolex Submariner is part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line
While it is its own model, the Rolex Submariner falls under the Oyster Perpetual line.
Rolex has essentially expanded its Oyster Perpetual range by introducing many of its watches with a second name. eg. Oyster Perpetual Submariner. The reason is that the case on the watches in the Oyster Perpetual range has a similar shape. Oyster the first waterproof watch Rolex made, and after that, all waterproof watch by Rolex had the name Oyster. Furthermore, Perpetual merely means that the movement is self-winding.
4. The Rolex is one of the most iconic wristwatches in the world
The Rolex Submariner is instantly and distinctively recognized by its design and shape. When many people see a Rolex Submariner, even if they don’t have much knowledge in watches, they can recognize the Rolex Submariner. The Rolex Submariner has gone to history as one of the most iconic and important watches in the history, and you may even say that the Submariner has set the standards for how a diver watch should look.
5. The case reference number of the first Submariner was either 6204 or 6205
It is unclear which model came first – nevertheless, the models are almost identical and has minimal differences.
6. The first Submariners didn’t have ”Mercedes’ hands”
Today, the Rolex Submariner is known for its distinctive hour hand, which is referred to as a ”Mercedes hand”. The first Submariners did, however, not have it.
Instead, they have regular, straight hands.
7. Few of the 6205 watches carried the name Submariner on the dial
It’s unclear if any 6205 of the first versions of the Submariner carried the name on the dial. This would come to roll out more broadly later on.
8. It is believed that there were unexpected trademark issues connected with the name “Submariner”
When Rolex released the 6204 and 5205, some watches of the 6204 have the Submariner logo printed below the center pinion At the same time, others have the Submariner logo completely blacked out.
9. Rolex produced a small number of 6200 Submariners
The Submariner 6200 was the first timepiece in the Submariner range that would carry the ”Mercedes hands”. The 6200 Submarine was released in 1954.
10. The Submariner 5512 and 5513 were first to use an oversized crown
After Rolex released the two Submariner models 5512 and 5513, they were the first to use an oversized crown, and they did so to make it easier for drivers to adjust the watch with gloves on. After all, the Submariner is a diver’s watch. After the use of an oversized crown on these two models, they became a standard feature of the Submariner line.
11. Rolex discontinued its use of radium paint for the luminous indices in the early 1960s
They did so in order to change to the safer tritium-infused paint.
12. Rolex discontinued its user of gilt/silver gilt dials on the Submariner watches in 1965–1966
Rolex did so and switched to white printing instead.
13. When the 1680 Submariner was released in late 1960, it was the first Submariner to be equipped with a date function
14. Rolex released the 50th anniversary Rolex Submariner to celebrate 50 years of the submariner
The anniversary watch was the Rolex Submariner-Date anniversary edition 16610 LV. This model was unique from all of the other Submariner models as it had a distinctive green bezel in Rolex’s own signature color as well as a Maxi dial.
The production of the anniversary watched ended in 2010.
15. Rolex Introduced a new case for the Submariner-Date in 2008
The new case from the GMT II model was introduced for the Submariner Date version. This new case has heavier lugs and crown guards, an updated class with a quick adjustment function, and maybe most notably, a cerachrome bezel instead of aluminum.
16. Rolex eventually updated its no-date model in 2012
Rolex began by launching the GMT II case for the 16610 date Submariner, but in 2012, Rolex released the no-date version, the 114060 with the new updated case at the 2012 BaselWorld watch show. This watch came to replace the 14060M.
17. The Rolex Submariner is waterproof to a maximum depth of 300 m (1000 ft)
This does not, however, mean that it is waterproof to a literal depth of 300 meters. It just means that it can withstand the pressure resembling 300 meters of depth.
18. The earlier Submariners were water resistant to 200 meters (660 ft)
Since the earlier models, the Submariner has acquired an additional 100 meters of water resistance. The earlier models were thinner and are not as rugged as they are today.
19. The case of the Rolex Submariner is made from a solid block of stainless steel
20. Rolex doesn’t use any steel for its Submariner case
In fact, Rolex uses 904L steel which provides greater corrosion resistance than the normal 316L steel.
21. The modern Submariner model has a watch case with a diameter of 40.0, mm and a thickness of 13.0 mm
22. The case and bracelet of the Rolex Submariner weigh 155 g
23. The golds which cane white or yellow are made in Rolex’s own foundry
24. The movements in the Rolex Submariner are officially certified by the COSC
All movements are Swiss chronometers.
25. The French diving company COMEX used the Rolex Submariner and Sea Dweller as standard issue
In the late 1960s, COMEX which was a French diving company chose the Rolex Submariner and Sea-Dweller for their saturation divers. The COMEX company had watches especially made for them which can be instantly recognized throughout their ”COMEX” logo on the dial. Since these watches were made in highly limited numbers, the price of these watches has skyrocketed in recent years.
At the time when COMEX cooperated with Rolex, their requirements for the perfect diver watch was set to another level when they specially ordered the Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 with helium escape valves that earlier only had been seen on the Sea-Dweller. The custom-made watch for COMEX was known as the Submariner ref. 5514 and was never actually sold in stores by Rolex, in fact, it is believed that 154 examples of the special Submariner were delivered to COMEX.
This partnership between Rolex and COMEX continued until the company was sold in 1997.
26. The Institute for Deep Sea Research in Cannes issued a report on Oct. 26, 1953, about the Rolex Submariner
They had made five months of tests with the watch, which consisted of 132 dives in depths of 12 to 60 meters. The report said that they experienced no water inside the watch or moisture inside of the glass like they have experienced with other dive watches.
27. The Rolex originally had a bezel that rotated in both directions
The first rotating bezel Rolex utilized was found on the 1953 Rolex Thunderbird.
Eventually, Rolex came to use a unidirectional bezel with a ratchet spring allowing the bezel to turn only counter-clockwise.
The purpose of the bezel as to help divers keep track o their immersion time and thus their oxygen. The unidirectional bezel which only rotated clockwise meant that if the bezel accidentally rotated, the time could only become ”shorter”, and this protected divers from spending too much time under the water.
28. The rotating bezel was introduced for the Submariner in 1954
This was when the first Rolex Submariner was released.
29. The Rolex Submariner has appeared in a number of James Bond movies
The most iconic is probably when Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner ref. 6538 in Goldfinger in 1964 on an undersized NATO strap. While James Bond is mostly known for being an avid Omega user, this is one of the facts about Rolex Submariner and its history which many don’t know about.
30. Sean Connery wore a Submariner 6538 in his four first movies
What watch would be more appropriate for Sean Connery than sporty, masculine, and rugged Rolex Submariner?
31. When the Rolex Submariner became available in 1954, you could choose between 3 different models
The three models were the following:
- Submariner reference 6200 with a self-winding caliber A.296 movement and a water resistance of 200 meters
- Submariner reference 6204 with a 100-meter water resistance (which came to become 180 meters)
- Submariner reference 6205 with self-winding movement caliber A.260 and a water resistance of 100 meters.
At this time, there were no crown guards on the Submariner models like there is today.
32. The modern Submariner models have a minuscule laser-etched Rolex Crown on the inside of the crystal
The tiny etched Rolex crown is hard to spot, but it is situated at the bottom of the crystal in line with 6 o’clock mark.
33. Rolex started etching “ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX…” on the inner rehaut in late 2008
Partly an attempt to make it more difficult for counterfeiters pull it off as the real deal, Rolex started laster etching the inside of its rehaut in late 2008, They also started engraving the serial number engraved on the reheat as well.
As you can see from the facts about Rolex Submariner, the road to greatness doesn’t take one day. The Rolex Submariner has been evolved, updated, and improved for more than 65 years, and over those years, the Submariner model has made a big mark on the watch industry. Not only has it established itself as the ultimate diver’s watch, but a luxury watch of beautiful lines that is so universal that it can be used whether you’re desk diving or diving in the ocean.
Which of these facts about Rolex Submariner did you find the most interesting?