Rolex is a brand that needs no further introduction.
And the Rolex Submariner is a watch that needs no further introduction, either.
The Rolex Submariner is arguably one of the most iconic watch designs in the world, having played an important role in the history of watches – both in terms of watch functions, innovation, and design.
Today, the Rolex Submariner has become what many people consider the definition of a dive watch.
Having been manufactured since the 1950s, the Submariner design has a design that has changed considerably little over the decades, and this goes to prove that the Submariner has a design that is truly timeless, putting it as one of the most iconic watches in the world.
In this article, we’re looking at one of the modern iterations of the Rolex Submariner – the Submariner 116610LN.
Background and history of the Rolex Submariner
The Rolex Submariner was first introduced at Basel watch fair in Switzerland in 1954. Despite the fact that the Submariner is now many decades old, there’s a clear resemblance between the first Rolex Submariner and the most modern 116610LN.
Apart from the aesthetics, the first Rolex Submariner is very different from the 116610LN. The idea behind the watch stays true, which is to be a rugged, sporty timepiece, made to be a durable diver’s watch with a great water-resistance, featuring the most defining feature of a diver’s watch which is a rotatable bezel that allows the diver to keep track of how long they’ve been submerged in the water and thus how much oxygen is left in the tank.
The modern Submariner 116610LN features a new case that is built on the original Submariner, but today, it features crown guards which protects the crown, it features a larger ”Maxi case” which is up to date with the standards of a modern watch, at 40mm. It also features a number of new materials used for the watch, which we’ll go more into detail further on.
Initially, the Submariner was made for divers as a tool that would be truly helpful for divers. Over time, however, this has come to change, and now, the vast majority of Submariners purchased never go diving, and the closest they get to water is when washing the hands. Part of this is that there are much more accurate and advanced diver’s tools available on the market for divers, and there’s thus no real need for a watch for the modern professional diver.
Over time, the Submariner more and more became a commodity watch that became more and more popular among the public and non-divers. The modern iterations of the Submariner carried traditional design features which many people saw a charm in, and despite the fact that the Submariner is a diver’s watch, it is a watch that is very universal, and which looks just as great with a suit as it does for more casual occasions.
Today, the status of the Submariner being a tool watch has more and more gone towards being a beautiful piece of jewelry – which is the case for the whole market of luxury watches. In modern times, the Submariner has the status of being a luxury sports watch that is durable, reliable, and an interesting piece of craftsmanship and its long heritage and history adds to the charm of this particular watch.
The Submariner 116610LN is part of the most modern generation of the submariner. Finished in brushed stainless steel, it contributes to the sporty look of the watch and stays true to the philosophy of its successors. With the Submariner having become one of Rolex’s most popular watches, its lineup of Submariners now consists of an array of different watches, but the two at its core, staying most true to the original Submariner are the Submariner date which we’re focusing on in this article and the Submariner no-date.
The Submariner 116610LN features a date function, unlike the first Submariner, and while this is a feature that made no sense at the time for a diver, having become more of an everyday commodity watch, the date function is a helpful additional feature. Some people prefer the no-date Submariner due to it being a more legible watch that offers a symmetrical dial, but there’s no denying that the date function is indeed helpful for an everyday watch.
There are split opinions about the date and no-date submariner, with people arguing that one is a better alternative than the other, but either way, there’s no denying that the Submariner 116610LN is a popular watch.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN specifications
The Rolex Submariner 116610LN has a bunch of new design features from the previous 16610, and unlike many other generations of the Submariner, the new Submariner features dramatic differences and not just subtle design and function features. First off, the new generation Submariner 116610LN has a larger case, known as the maxi case, which features wider lugs and a case that looks more bulky and rugged. The watch appears large for a 40mm watch, especially when comparing it to the earlier generation which was also 40mm, and this has to do with the fact that it has over-sized crown guards which are almost twice as wide, and the lugs are almost twice as wide as well.
The millimeter dimensions remain the same, but the watch wears bigger than the predecessor due to the way the case is designed. Different from the first and earlier versions of the Submariner, it is also made in 904L steel which is a corrosion-resistant version of the steel that won’t rust, which has been seen happening on some of the earlier Submariner models. Rolex previously used the standard 316L stainless steel which all other watch manufacturers
The stainless steel now used by Rolex tends to scratch more easily than 316L steel, however, for a diver’s watch that, at least in theory, is subject to salt water which has a corrosive effect, including sweat and other chemicals that comes in contact with the watch.
The 116610LN also features a completely new bezel compared to its predecessors. All predecessors to the newest generation Submariner feature aluminum bezels, but the new watch is fitted with a for watches relatively new material which is ceramic which Rolex calls ”cerachrom”.
The ceramic bezel of the Submariner 116610 is essentially scratch-resistant as opposed to aluminium which has proved to both scratch and fade. Of course, ceramic can shatter, however, that this happens is rare due to how the ceramic is placed on the watch, protected by steel around it.
The bezel is unidirectional in true diver’s watch fashion, which prevents the bezel from accidentally rotating in the wrong direction and thus causing a diver to believe there is more time and thus more oxygen left in the tank. Shall the bezel accidentally rotate while underwater, the diver will have less time left, and thus avoid risking running out of oxygen while diving.
The bezel also has platinum inserts at the number indicator due to the fact that platinum is a material that is more resistant to fading and tarnishing.
The bezel has edges which are ridged that allow for easy grip and effortless rotation – even when wearing diver’s gloves.
The movement of the Submariner 116610LN
The new Submariner 116610LN naturally features a new and improved movement. Being a date variant, the watch has a movement with date function. Rolex isn’t known for making beautiful movements, and this is also the reason why Rolex makes no watches with a see-through case back. The first date version Submariner was released in the 1960s. Rolex is, however, known for making movements that are reliable, shock-resistant, and accurate, and which continue to tick year after year, and this is exactly what you need for a diver’s watch.
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to Rolex’s movements. The Submariner 116610LN is equipped with a caliber 3135 and features a blue Parachrom hairspring and has a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
As a watch that you have for everyday use, the 48 hours of power-reserve is great since it allows you to leave your watch for a day or two, pick it up, and still have it working perfectly, preventing the need of adjusting the date and time.
The watch has a sapphire crystal, like most watches today, which is more scratch-resistant than plexiglass, which has been used on most Submariner watches throughout its history, which tends to scratch very easily.
The sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating applied to the crystal, however, it is only applied to the bottom of the crystal, and not on the inside. This is something that some people complain about since it makes the watch look shiny in some angles and thus makes reading the watch tricky in some cases. The Submariner’s anti-reflective coating is often compared with Omega’s Seamaster, which has an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the crystal, thus making it much easier to read, and less shiny.
In traditional Submariner fashion, at least when looking at the newer generation versions, the watch is waterproof to 300 meters. The reason I say that is that the earlier models only were waterproof to 200 meters.
The 116610LN is equipped with Rolex’s trip-lock crown system which means that the watch has three rubber gaskets inside the crown mechanism that allows for a greater water-resistance and more security to the wearer in terms of the watch’s water-resistance.
The lume on the Submariner is bright and allows for effortless legibility – even when diving many meters beneath surface.
The earlier Submariner models were equipped with tritium, but the problem with tritium is that it is radioactive, and over time, the lame will fade, eventually dying out completely, which can be seen on many older Submariners, which doesn’t have a working lume anymore.
The 116610LN, on the other hand, is equipped with Rolex’s own Chromalight material. The lume has a blue light unlike earlier models which have a green lume, and this is because the blue lume has a light frequency that results in better glow under water. The color of the lume was also changed with the new Submariner which appears brighter, even though the light emitted is not stronger. With the maxi dial, the lume markers are bigger which helps improve legibility.
The bezel also has a luminous dot on the bezel at 12 o’clock that helps the diver know how much time is left before the oxygen tanks are empty. To be able to read the time, the hands of the watch are also equipped with a luminous material.
The watch has a rugged Oyster bracelet and features Rolex’s advanced glidelock system. This gridlock system allows the wearer to easily adjust the size of the bracelet without the need of any tools in a few seconds, and then snatch it back into place at the desired size. This gridlock system is meant to allow the wearer to easily adjust the size to fit on top of a wetsuit, but it is also a great additional feature which is great for everyday use when the wrist expands or shrinks.
The bracelet is very solid, and like the rest of the case, brushed. The bracelet is a big part of the watch’s personality and contributes to the sporty and solid look.