How the Rolex Submariner Became a Watchmaking Legend

How the Rolex Submariner Became a Watchmaking Legend

The Rolex Submariner is a symbol of luxury, precision, and elegance. Since its debut in 1953, this iconic diving watch has been admired by watch enthusiasts and professional divers for its unmatched performance and classic design. But what makes the Submariner such a beloved timepiece, and why has it stood the test of time?

We will explore its rich history, exceptional craftsmanship, and the key features that set it apart from other diving watches. We will also go into the investment potential of this sought-after timepiece, discussing its value retention and the collectability of vintage models.


Key Takeaways

  • The Rolex Submariner is the quintessence of diving precision, combining modern advancements in watchmaking with its timeless allure.

  • Its Oyster case and Perpetual movement provide key functionality for underwater dives while maintaining an elegant design.

  • Renowned for investment potential and quality materials, the Rolex Submariner is a desirable collectible item available from G&G Timepieces.

The Quintessence of Diving Precision

The Rolex Submariner is the epitome of diving precision, boasting a unidirectional rotatable bezel, waterproof case, and luminescent display that cater to the needs of professional divers.

The Submariner’s design has evolved over time, maintaining its iconic status while incorporating modern advancements in watchmaking. Built with high-quality materials like Oystersteel and Cerachrom bezel inserts, the Submariner is a testament to Rolex’s commitment to durability and resistance.

Rolex 2023 Submariner Date 126619LB

Through continuous improvements in functionality and design, the Submariner has remained the benchmark for Rolex divers watches since its introduction in 1953. The watch’s allure stems from its blend of form and function, rendering it an excellent choice.

The Legacy of the Oyster Perpetual Submariner

The history of the Rolex Submariner can be traced back to its introduction in 1953 as the pioneering divers’ wristwatch, with a waterproof Oyster case, self-winding Perpetual movement, and a dial with large luminescent hour markers and hands.

With a guarantee of being waterproof up to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet), the Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date set a new standard for diving watches and has since increased its waterproof depth to 300 meters (1,000 feet).

Rolex 2018 Mint Submariner "Hulk" 116610LV

Since its debut, the Submariner has been subject to various alterations and enhancements over the years. However, Rolex has retained the fundamental characteristics that render the Submariner a timeless diving watch.

The watch stems from its elegant design and extraordinary functionality, establishing it as a timeless piece that appeals to almost everyone.

Key Functionality for the Depths

Designed with the needs of professional divers in mind, the key features of a submariner’s rotatable bezel include a graduated rotatable bezel, a luminescent display, and large hands and hour markers.

The bezel’s knurled edge provides a secure grip when setting the dive time, even when wearing gloves, ensuring accurate and safely monitor diving time and decompression stops.

The Submariner’s waterproof casing and dial’s luminescent chromalight display significantly contribute to its practicality in underwater settings.

The watch is guaranteed to be waterproof up to a depth of 300 meters (1,000 feet), making it suitable for deep dives. The luminescent display enhances visibility in dark environments, an essential feature for divers navigating the depths.

Design Evolution

Over the years, the Rolex Submariner has seen numerous design changes, while retaining its core features and iconic status.

The earliest models featured glossy dials with luminous hour markers and hands, which later transitioned to matte dials in the mid to late 1960s. Despite these design changes, the Submariner’s black, luminous dial, rotating dive bezel, and steel bracelet have remained consistent throughout its history.

Rolex Unworn 2023 Submariner 126613LN

Modern advancements in watchmaking have also been incorporated into the design of the Submariner, ensuring that it remains a state-of-the-art timepiece. With the introduction of the Cerachrom bezel insert, the Submariner has become even more durable and resistant to scratches and fading.

These design enhancements have fueled the Submariner’s sustained success and distinguished presence in the luxury diving watch industry.

Craftsmanship and Materials

The exceptional quality of the Rolex Submariner is not only in its design, but also in the materials and craftsmanship employed in its creation.

Rolex uses high-quality materials such as Oystersteel, a 904L steel alloy known for its corrosion resistance and strength, and Cerachrom bezel inserts, made from a hard, corrosion-resistant ceramic.

Rolex 2023 Submariner Date 126618LB

Combining these materials with Rolex’s proficiency in watchmaking guarantees that the Submariner is not just an attractive watch, but also a sturdy and dependable one.

The meticulous attention to detail in every stage of the manufacturing process speaks to the high standards that Rolex upholds, producing watches that are built to last and maintain their value over time.

Oystersteel: A Material Above

Oystersteel, a high-quality 904L steel alloy, sets the Rolex Submariner apart in terms of durability and corrosion resistance.

This superior stainless steel alloy is a testament to Rolex’s commitment to using only the finest materials in the construction of their watches, such as the oyster 41 mm oystersteel.

The use of Oystersteel contributes to the Submariner’s enduring appeal, as it retains its beauty even in the most challenging environments.

Crafting a Submariner from Oystersteel involves the following steps:

  1. Precise selection of top-tier materials

  2. Careful assembly by proficient engineers

  3. Construction of the watch case and bracelet at Rolex’s Plan-les-Ouates facilities

This dedication to craftsmanship guarantees that the Submariner can withstand the test of time and maintain its value.

Cerachrom Bezel Insert

The Cerachrom bezel insert is another testament to Rolex’s commitment to using the best materials for the Submariner. This scratchproof, corrosion-resistant ceramic material makes sure the bezel remain in immaculate condition even after extended use.

The Cerachrom insert is not only durable, but its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, seawater, or chlorinated water, maintaining its vibrant hue over time.

Rolex 2023 Submariner Date 126610LN

The manufacturing process of the Cerachrom bezel insert in Rolex watches is a patented process carried out exclusively by Rolex in-house. This specialized process guarantees the durability and longevity of the color on the bezel insert, ensuring that the Submariner’s aesthetics remain pristine throughout its life.

Rolex Submariner Aesthetics

The aesthetics of the Rolex Submariner emphasize readability and comfort, rendering it a perfect timepiece for professional divers and watch aficionados alike.

The clear dial design, featuring large luminous hour markers and hands, ensures easy reading in various conditions, while the versatile Oyster bracelet provides a comfortable and secure fit on the wrist.

With its focus on functionality and timeless elegance, the Submariner’s design has made it a popular choice for various occasions, including:

  • Casual wear

  • Business attire

  • Formal events

  • Black-tie events

Its enduring appeal and versatility have solidified its status as an icon in the world of luxury diving watches.

Dial Design and Visibility

The Submariner’s dial is designed for readability, with large, luminous hour markers and hands for instant, reliable reading.

This attention to visibility is crucial for divers, as minute hands enable instant recognition and ensure there is no confusion underwater, allowing for accurate timekeeping in various lighting conditions.

Rolex Unworn 2023 Submariner Date 126613LB

Available in a variety of color schemes, including black dial, blue, and green, the Submariner’s dial design caters to different tastes and preferences. With its focus on legibility and functionality, the Submariner’s dial design has become an iconic feature of the watch, reflecting Rolex’s commitment to essentialism.

The Oyster Bracelet: Comfort Meets Function

The Oyster bracelet, a vital element of the Submariner’s aesthetics, provides both comfort and practicality. Its features include:

  • Three-piece link construction

  • Sporty design

  • Durability and versatility

  • Secure and comfortable fit on the wrist

The Oyster bracelet is an ideal complement to the utilitarian lines of the Submariner, making it the perfect choice for diving and other sports activities.

Equipped with an Oysterlock clasp and Glidelock adjustment system, the Oyster bracelet ensures security and adaptability for the wearer.

The Glidelock system allows for precise adjustments in 2mm increments, accommodating variations in wrist size due to water pressure or wetsuit thickness. This advantage is particularly beneficial for divers who require a comfortable and secure fit in various underwater conditions.

Model Spotlight: Submariner Date vs. Non-Date Variants

The Rolex Submariner is available in two main submariner date models: the Submariner Date and the Non-Date. Catering to different preferences, the Date model offers the added convenience of a date display, while the Non-Date maintains a pure, minimalist design without the date function. Both models showcase the timeless appeal and functionality that have made the Submariner an iconic timepiece.

Whether you favor the utility of the Submariner Date or the timeless aesthetic of the Non-Date, both models encapsulate the Rolex Submariner’s everlasting elegance and performance. So, which one will you choose?

The Submariner Date: Adding Convenience

The Submariner Date features a date display at the 3 o’clock position on the dial, adding practicality for everyday wear. This added convenience is especially useful for those who wear the watch in professional or formal settings, where keeping track of the date is important.

The Submariner Date model offers:

  • Exceptional performance and durability

  • Added functionality for those who desire it

  • Timeless design

  • Practical features

  • Versatility and functionality

This timepiece offers an instant and reliable reading, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a versatile and functional accessory.

Pure Form: The Non-Date Submariner

The Non-Date Submariner maintains a pure, minimalist design without the date function, appealing to purists and collectors who prefer a more traditional aesthetic. The clean and uncluttered dial offers a sleek and symmetrical appearance, reminiscent of the original design of the Submariner line.

The lack of a date complication allows for a slimmer case profile, enhancing the watch’s overall elegance and simplicity. For those who appreciate the timeless design and classic appeal of the Rolex Submariner, the Non-Date model is a perfect choice.

Investment and Value Retention

Rolex Submariner watches, particularly vintage models, are well-known for their potential as investments and their ability to retain value. As timepieces that have stood the test of time, both in terms of design and performance, Submariner watches have become highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Factors influencing the resale value of a Submariner include:

  • Model

  • Materials

  • Rarity

  • Market demand

Vintage Submariner watches, in particular, are highly collectible and can fetch high prices on the secondary market. With their lasting allure and classic design, Rolex Submariner watches remain a compelling investment, demonstrating the brand’s dedication to quality and craftsmanship.

Vintage Watches and Collectibility

Vintage Submariner watches are highly collectible, with some models fetching high prices on the secondary market due to their rarity, unique features, and potential for investment. This collectability is a testament to the appeal and timeless design of the Rolex Submariner, which continues to captivate watch enthusiasts around the world.

Rolex 2017 Submariner Date 116618LN

Models such as the Rolex Submariner 5513, 6536, 5512, 1680, and 16610LV are among the most coveted vintage Submariner models, with their rarity and uniqueness contributing to their high demand and value. As a result, owning a vintage Rolex Submariner not only offers a piece of horological history but also the potential for a valuable investment.

Factors Influencing Resale Value

Several factors can influence the resale value of a Rolex Submariner, including:

  • The model

  • The materials used

  • Rarity

  • Current market demand

For example, limited edition models or watches with unique features may have higher resale values due to their scarcity and desirability among collectors.

Additionally, the condition of the watch and the materials used, such as gold or platinum, can also affect its resale value. By taking these factors into account, potential buyers and collectors can make informed decisions when considering the investment potential of a Rolex Submariner.

G&G Timepieces: Your Trusted Source for Rolex

For those interested in owning a piece of history or making a profitable investment, G&G Timepieces is a reliable provider of Rolex watches. With a focus on brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, G&G Timepieces offers expert knowledge and support to help you find the perfect timepiece to suit your needs and preferences.

With comprehensive services, including buying, trading, and sourcing Rolex watches, as well as repair and worldwide shipping, G&G Timepieces is committed to providing exceptional customer service and a seamless experience for watch enthusiasts. Trust in G&G Timepieces to help you find the Rolex Submariner that’s perfect for you.

Comprehensive Services Offered

G&G Timepieces, one of the official Rolex jewelers, provides a range of services for customers seeking Rolex watches, including buying, trading, and sourcing timepieces. Their dedication to customer satisfaction extends beyond the purchase, offering services such as Rolex watch repair, maintenance, and restoration to ensure your timepiece remains in pristine condition.

In addition to their buying and trading services, G&G Timepieces offers worldwide shipping and a 7-day money-back guarantee. This commitment to customer satisfaction and support ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience when purchasing a Rolex Submariner from G&G Timepieces.

Expertise in High-End Timepieces

With a focus on brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, G&G Timepieces offers expert knowledge and support in the world of high-end timepieces. Our team is dedicated to providing customers with the guidance and assistance needed to make informed decisions when purchasing a luxury watch.


In conclusion, the Rolex Submariner is a testament to the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship, precision, and timeless elegance. Its rich history, iconic design, and investment potential make it a sought-after timepiece for collectors and enthusiasts alike. With its focus on legibility, durability, and comfort, the Submariner is the perfect choice for those seeking a luxury diving watch that transcends time.

Whether you opt for the Submariner Date or the Non-Date model or decide to invest in a vintage piece, the Rolex Submariner is a true classic that will maintain its value and appeal for generations to come.