The Rolex Submariner is arguably one of the most iconic watch model in the world.
All over the world, the Submariner is instantly recognized – even by people who are less knowledgeable about watches.
The Rolex Submariner has established itself as one of the most important and influential watch models in the world and has been the inspiration for many watches and watch brands in designing their own watches.
The Rolex Submariner is a watch with a long history, but unlike many watch brands, Rolex has a history of focusing more on evolution rather than revolution. This means that while the Rolex Submariner was launched several decades ago, the modern Rolex Submariner watch looks surprisingly alike its predecessors. Rolex changes its watches very little, but rather focuses on iterating its existing models, building upon them, and making subtle changes that improve them.
The Submariner has also proven itself as one of the most timeless watch designs in the world. Despite the earlier models being many decades now, the demand for them is larger than ever. The timeless design of the Submariner makes it a unique classic that is simply a must-have in every watch-collectors’ collection.
It’s safe to say that the history of the Rolex Submariner is long and rich, and despite it having changed surprisingly little over the years, the Submariner has still undergone a number of changes – both visually and technically.
Despite the Rolex Submariner having been evolved little, and primarily had subtle design changes, one of the most notable changes to the Rolex Submariner was the addition of a green bezel.
How and why did Rolex introduce this Rolex Submariner?
That’s exactly what we’ll look at in this article.
We’re of course talking about the Rolex Submariner 16610LV, also known as the Kermit.
The Rolex Submariner 16610LV was released in 2003 with the release of a 50-year anniversary watch. This Submariner was released as an anniversary watch to celebrate 50 years of the Rolex Submariner which is the most important and iconic watch of the brand. The model wasn’t revolutionary, but what was distinct with the model was that it featured a Rolex green bezel, which is now an iconic and recognized color of Rolex, instantly associated with the brand.
The fact that Rolex introduced a green bezel for the 50th anniversary made sense, and the new color gave a completely new look to the Submariner. Other than that, the watch was identical to the black-beveled Rolex Submariner 16610 which had already been in production for several years.
The 1660LV featured the new ”Maxi dial”, which means that it has larger hour markers and fatter hands that improves the readability thanks to its enlarged applid indexes and fatter hands.
As such, the Submariner 16610LV was the first Submariner to feature Rolex’s now iconic Maxi dial which was originally seen on the Yacht-Master released in 1991. And thus, unlike what most people tend to believe, the only thing different with this watch is not just the color of the bezel.
This Maxi dial ties back with Rolex’s earlier vintage models and their dial set-ups, and is a nod to Rolex’s past, adding more historical importance to the 50th-anniversary Submariner.
According to many, the green bezel was a unique and daring update to the Submariner, as, despite the small change had a huge impact on the visual appearance. Some people absolutely detested the new look of the Submariner and thought that Rolex took a turn that was too daring, whereas other people loved the connection with Rolex’s iconic color for an anniversary timepiece.
Being a watch that is identical to the 16610, the watch featured the iconic Submariner case, was equipped with the 3135 caliber, a unidirectional rotating bezel, made in a corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel. The movement has 31-jewels and beats at a 28,800 vph frequency, with a 50-hour power reserve.
The watch has a 300-meter water-resistance like the other Submariner models simultaneously offered in the lineup. It features the trip-lock cron and a very hard sapphire crystal that doesn’t scratch as easily as plexi.
The Rolex Submariner Kermit wasn’t a huge success due to the fact that it split opinions, but over time, the interest for the watch has increased significantly due to its historical importance in Rolex’s history, and this has caused the price for these pieces to increase significantly on the secondhand market, especially since they are now discontinued.
There are two variations of the Rolex Submariner 16610LV that has a minimal difference. First, there is the original Kermit Submariner, and then there is the Kermit “Flat 4”. The small differences between them are widely discussed among collectors. Most people won’t notice the small difference, but on the Flat 4, the watch has a different font for the number 4 on the dial. The latter 1660LV watches have a four that makes a point on the inside of the 4, but the earlier feature a 4 where it meets with a flat line on the inside of the four.
Apart from this, the Submariner changed very little in its production run from 2003 to 2010.
In 2007, another change came about to the 16610LV which was that Rolex added the ROLEXROLEXROLEXROLEX… laser engraving on the reheat. Because the pre-engraved models were the earlier versions of the model, and are watches that have more vintage design features, the non-engraved versions tend to be the most popular and sought-after among collectors.
These small variations are something that collectors tend to discuss a lot and affect the demand for these watches as well. Therefore, the flat 4 Kermit tends to be more sought-after, which thus naturally tends to affect the price.
When it comes to watches, it really is the details that make the difference.
What does ”LV” stand for?
LV in the reference 16610LV stands for lunette verte, which refers to the color of the bezel (vert meaning green and lunette meaning bezel).
Rolex adds the letters at the end of the reference numbers on watches that have other variations (such as color differences) to help differentiate between different models by their reference numbers.
For example, during the production of the 1660LV, Rolex also made the 16610LN, which referred to the color of the bezel being black.
Why the use of green?
At first through, it feels as if the use of a green bezel isn’t the most natural choice on a watch. Especially not for a conservative brand like Rolex to use a bright and bold color as green, but as I’ve already touched briefly on already, there’s a good reason for the green bezel color used on the Submariner 16610LV.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Rolex has used that specific green color as part of their brand identity and their marketing, which makes sense because the color green symbolizes wealth, money, finances, banking, ambition, vision, and stability. -All of the things that many people tend to associate (and Rolex wants people to associate) the brand with.
As a result, it makes sense that Rolex made a green Submariner as a celebration for the 50th anniversary.
The historic importance of this watch and the thought behind it is something that will affect the demand for the watch among collectors in the future, and make it a sought-after collector’s piece – which we’ve already seen signs of on the market today, with prices of the 16610LV continuingly increasing.
The end of the Rolex Submariner 16610LV production
At the beginning of the Rolex Submariner 16610LV production, there were plenty of discussions about whether or not the watch would be a limited edition timepiece, because the watch was part of Rolex’s standard lineup of Submariner watches, however, time would tell that the watch would only be in production for seven years – much shorter than its peer Submariners had been, as it was replaced by the 116610LV with a green bezel and an added green dial as opposed to black, and with a completely new case design.
This relatively short production period has resulted in the fact that there are relatively few 1660LV Submariners on the market, which we can expect to affect the price of these watches significantly in the future.
When the watch was introduced, it wasn’t a huge hit, but after having been discontinued (and being so for many years now), the interest in the watch has increased, and now become a variant of the standard black submariner that has become increasingly desirable.