When it come to the Rolex submariner it has some what of a cult following. Sleek lines, well made, well priced and stylish. It crosses the line of a great investment and a great timepiece you can wear and own. When buying one or pawning one, you need to know a few things.
History and birth:
Despite the admiration of the Rolex Submariner story, The Submariner was not the first water resistant watch Rolex crafted. The Submariner back story goes even further to the 1930’s when Panerai produced ‘tool watch’ a 47mm cushion-shaped Oyster case watch. This was fitted with a pocket watch movement and set up an affiliation with Panerai who at the time were specialists in diving equipment. The Submariner that we know today hasn’t changed enormously since its release at Basel watch fair in 1954. It has gone on to be not only become one of the most iconic timepieces in the world, but also one of the most desired and emulated. Between 1953 and 1954 three different versions were produced, the 6200, 6204 & 6205 these all differed slightly.
First came the 6200 ‘Big Crown’ only a small number of these submariners were produced. The 6200 had a thicker case in comparison to the 6204 & 6205 models. It also came with a larger winding crown and was marked ‘Brevet’ this is derived from the French word brevette meaning Patented. The 6200 was made with an explorer type dial, pencil shaped luminous hands and a ‘lollipop’ second hand. These explorer dials also featured an equilateral triangle at 12 o’clock, were as later models would go on to have a more elongated triangle. Earlier versions didn’t have the word Submariner or any depth indication printed on the dial although the watch had been tested & depth rated to 200 meters
The 6204 was also produced in 1953 and had slight differences to the dial and crown. It was the first of all the models to display Submariner in small print on the dial this version also has a larger gap between the words oyster & perpetual and had a more elongated crown in comparison to the 6200. The crown was smaller and displayed a Swiss cross instead of the former ‘brevette’. In 1954 the 6204 was re-launched they made the submariner logo larger and was issued to the British Royal Navy.
The 6205 was the third model to be produced this watch was very similar to the 6204 model but didn’t always display the Submariner logo, confusingly and for reasons unknown there are a few 6204 models where the submariner logo has been masked by black paint consistently in the same place and of the same size this suggests it was done at the time of manufacture. But by late 1954 all were being fashioned with the submariner logo and in 1960 the Submariner name was finally registered to Rolex
Newer models: 1990-2019:
Most second hand models are around this time 1990-2010, as you can often get one from £6 – 8k, the difference is once again in the reference number.
This is your classic submariner, with a fully rotational Bezel, made of Oyster steel, the date with a bubble and water resistant to 300 meters. This has a black face and Bezel, as you will know variations in the reference number mean changes in color and material.
Fondly known as “Kermit” and sporting a loud green bezel, black face this submariner was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the watch, it has proved a popular addition and often fetches more than it’s brothers. The LV stands for “lunette vert” which mean “green bezel” it is not a roman numeral as many say.
Submariner “no date” 114060:
This is another classic Submariner, as of 2019 it is still in production, but rumors say that is soon to end. Much like it’s brother 16610, in every way except it has no date. It can be bought new from Rolex.
One of the great things about the Submariner other than it’s look and toughness, is that the resale market is very strong, having one in your safe or around your wrist is a guarantee of a same day cash loan for a London pawnbroker, like Hopkins and Jones. They know they can resell fast and for a great price so you will get a loan much faster than with other items.
If you find yourself in in a position to buy a 16610 LV, you should, the limited 8 year run of production means they are a great investment and likely to climb in price.