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ROLEX & THE SUBMARINER

How the Submariner was born


In 1953, the pioneering vision of a passionate diver and Rolex board member, René-Paul Jeanneret, led to the creation of the iconic Rolex Submariner. This diving watch aimed to be robust, aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable, a true masterpiece for underwater exploration. With the advantage of Panerai's expertise as a subsidiary of Rolex and guidance from the renowned Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the Submariner took shape, boasting unprecedented waterproofness to 100 meters upon its launch. Early advertisements for the Submariner highlighted a critical issue faced by deep-sea divers: the loss of a sense of time underwater. To address this, Rolex introduced the grip-edged rotating bezel, allowing divers to monitor their immersion time and decompression stops accurately. By aligning the zero marker with the minute hand during descent, divers could keep track of their time underwater effectively.


The Submariner underwent several design changes during its initial years until the emergence of the reference 5512 in 1959. This model marked a pivotal moment as it combined all successful elements from its predecessors, setting the blueprint for the Submariner's future evolution. Over the years, Rolex has maintained a remarkably consistent design for the Submariner, preserving its iconic features while incorporating internal movement upgrades. The brand's commitment to evolutionary refinement has solidified the Submariner's status as a timeless classic—truly getting things right from the outset.

Black and white advertisement of the Rolex Submariner

The Submariner over the years:


In 1954, the world witnessed the grand unveiling of the very first Submariner model, making its illustrious debut at the iconic Baselworld trade show under the reference 6204. This historic timepiece marked a watershed moment as it proudly claimed the title of being the first consumer watch with a water resistance capability of up to 100 meters. The Submariner, an embodiment of classic sports watches, swiftly ascended to become the most revered and adored luxury sports watch on a global scale.


Over the course of the next four decades, the Submariner underwent a remarkable evolution driven by a slew of groundbreaking technical advancements. These transformative shifts encompassed improved water-resistance capabilities in terms of depth, the integration of new movements, and a plethora of aesthetic refinements. In a resplendent celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2003, Rolex introduced the world to the Rolex Submariner-Date 16610LV, a special edition characterised by distinctive elements such as the striking green bezel and the Maxi dial adorned with larger indexes. The production of this edition concluded in 2010.


In a pivotal year, 2008, Rolex made an audacious move by endowing the Submariner with a larger case size, drawing inspiration from the renowned GMT II model, which featured larger lugs and an enhanced crown guard. This momentous year witnessed the introduction of a Cerachrom bezel and a new quick-set clasp, marking a watershed moment in the evolution of this legendary diver's watch. This marked a year of monumental changes. With the advent of Baselworld in 2012, the venerable model reference 14060M, Rolex's Submariner without a date, gracefully made way for the new model reference 114060. This transformation ushered in a "Maxi Case," featuring "Chromalight" indexes, a ceramic bezel, a blue parachrom balance spring, and the ingenious "Glidelock" bracelet.


But the most remarkable and groundbreaking transformation occurred in recent times. In a move that sent shockwaves through the world of horology, Rolex unveiled the all-new Rolex Submariner Date 41mm 126610LN. This unveiling marked the first occasion in its 51-year history that the Oyster case of the Submariner had been enlarged to 41mm, a subtle shift from the previous 40mm case size. While this may appear inconsequential to the uninitiated, for those who hold the Submariner in the highest esteem as one of the most iconic and recognisable watches ever created, this was nothing short of monumental. Not since the introduction of the Ref.16800 in 1979 had the size of the Submariner seen any change.

Intriguingly, when the Ref.1680, sporting a 39.5mm case, was succeeded by the Ref.16800, it only grew by a mere 0.5mm. For 41 years, the 40mm case had been an unassailable constant, a hallmark of the Submariner's design. However, the latest Submariner, the Ref.126610, and its increase to 41mm signalled a departure from the familiar, a shift away from the established norm.


This momentous transformation sparked questions and discussions within the watch community. Why had Rolex chosen to make this change? Should enthusiasts embrace it or resist it? The answer lies in Rolex's quest to address previous criticisms of the Submariner's design. The 116610, part of the Maxi Case Submariner, had faced scrutiny for its perceived bulkiness and block-like aesthetics. Rolex aimed to restore the Submariner's elegance and grace, and this was achieved through a complete redesign of the Oyster case. The slimmer lugs, tapered design, and more slender crown guards contributed to a more refined and proportionate appearance. Astonishingly, the new Submariner appeared smaller than its predecessor, a truly remarkable feat. Yet, the change in size was not the only significant alteration. Rolex introduced an entirely new movement, replacing the trusted Calibre 3135 with the Calibre 3235. Released in 2015 with the Pearlmaster, the Calibre 3235 is a flagship movement from Rolex, featuring over 90% new components compared to its predecessor and boasting no fewer than 14 patented innovations. This modern self-winding movement delivered several benefits, including an extended power reserve of 70 hours, up from 48 hours in the 3135. It also incorporated the Paraflex shock absorber and the exceptional Chronergy escapement. The transition was a testament to Rolex's commitment to evolution and innovation.


The Rolex Submariner Date 126610LN, while experiencing a notable change in size, retained all the features that have made its predecessor a legend. It maintained its 300 meters of water resistance, Cerachrom bezel, Triplock screw-down crown, sapphire crystal with Cyclops date aperture, gloss black dial, rehaut, blue Chromalight luminescent material, brushed Oyster bracelet, and the Oysterlock deployant clasp

 

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MVS Watches is your destination for meticulously curated vintage timepieces, exemplified by the Rolex Submariner Date "Swiss" Dial 16610. Our devotion revolves around uniting collectors with the essence of horological heritage, allowing them to possess a fragment of history itself. Immerse yourself in the captivating charm of a bygone era, a realm enriched with tales of the past. Discover this unique timepiece below and embark on a journey through time:



Rolex Submariner "Swiss" Dial on orange cushion with anchor

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