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Diving into What Makes the Rolex Submariner so Popular

It Has Earned Its Place

Boasting legendary status in the luxury watch space, no timepiece comes close to the recognition, prestige, and popularity of the Rolex Submariner. Gracing the wrists of celebrities, royalty, top athletes, and regular folk alike, let’s explore what makes the Rolex Submariner so popular.

A Brief History of the Rolex Submariner

Making its debut in 1953, the Submariner joined the Rolex Oyster Professional line of watches. Leading up to what makes the Rolex Submariner so popular and differentiated with this particular line of Rolex watches from other Rolex timepieces was that Oyster Professional pieces were tool watches. Indeed, the Rolex Submariner was built first and foremost as a diving watch. In fact, the Submariner was the first diving watch waterproof to 330 feet (100 meters) deep.

Perhaps, unbeknownst to some, Rolex had already developed sturdy dive watches with another now-famous watch brand, Panerai, for the Italian Navy.

Rolex took what they learned with the Panerai project and applied it to create their own diving wristwatch. Sporting a 37mm case and crafted entirely in steel, the very first Rolex Submariner was the ref. 6204. The Oyster case housed a black dial with luminescent hands and indexes for legibility under water, in addition to the rotating bezel to track immersion times.


The Evolution of the Rolex Submariner

While the inaugural Rolex Submariner set the fundamental design codes, Rolex, of course, has modified and enhanced the iconic dive watch over its six-decade existence.

For instance, while early Submariner models did not include protection around the winding crown, Rolex added crown guards to later models for added robustness. Furthermore, other cosmetic evolutions included Mercedes-style hands, sapphire crystal, alterations in luminescent materials, and so on.

In the mid-1960s, Rolex added a date version of the Submariner with the ref. 1680. A few years later, in 1969, Rolex offered a yellow gold Submariner with the ref. 1680/8. This factor contributed towards what makes the Rolex Submariner so popular.  These new Submariner models signaled a move from a tool watch position to a more luxury sports watch approach. This is further emphasized when the Submariner becomes available with diamonds and other precious gems. In the early 1980s, Rolex rounds out the Submariner collection with the two-tone Rolesor ref. 16803.


The Rolex Submariner Today

The most recent change to the Submariner was the inclusion of the Cerachrom ceramic bezel in 2008. A material prized for its resilience to fading and scratching, Rolex has now furnished all Submariners with Cerachrom bezels. Today, the Submariner collection is a varied one. There are models in stainless steel, yellow and white 18k gold, as well as two-tone versions. Plus, there are non-date and date models. And let’s not forget about the various colors including black, blue and green.

Thanks to its killer looks, technical capabilities, illustrious history, and steady evolution, the Rolex Submariner will continue to be the world’s most beloved luxury sports watch for a long time to come. You can check out an elegant selection of used Rolex Submariner watches here at BeckerTime.