The history of The Rolex Submariner
In the mid 1950’s or to be exact, 1954, the Rolex company introduced the first Rolex Submariner, Model number 6204. As always Rolex wanted to make sure their watches set the standard. As so did the Submariner, it was water resistant up to 200 meters or 660 feet in the American market. Rolex tried to define the watchmaking industry by setting goals that were not accomplished by any other watch company before. The depths that the Rolex Submariner withstood were unheard of during such era.
What is unique is that Rolex teamed up with filmmaker Jacque Cousteau who has made a documentary in 1954 and during production and filming he was seen proudly wearing his Rolex Submariner.
Rolex knew that by allowing big stars to wear their watches, they will be able to reach millions of consumers with free advertising. Their big breakthrough, for the Rolex comapny, was when the Submariner watch was seen worn by Hollywood stars such as Sean Connery in the James Bond movie. That was during the 1950’s when James Bond character was seen wearing a Rolex Submariner, model number 6536/1. The Rolex Submariner was the primary watch choice for James Bond movies as it appeared in 9 movies.
In the 1960’s Rolex introduced the Rolex Submariner with the date which gave it a more daily appeal as well as mass market. The Submariner with the date model that was introduced in the 1960's is similar to the models we see today with a few changes. What is interesting is that with all of the innovation to the Rolex Submariner, some elements have stayed the same. The face, hands and crown have changed a bit, but overall the look and feel is the same. What are some of the innovations or changes Rolex made over the years. Well for one, they are now using a thicker more solid steel, 904L, which makes the Rolex heavier and more solid. The movements change to 31 jewels from the older version of 26 and 27 jewels respectively. In addition, the dials material that made the luminous glow in the dark changed to “Superluminova” which on some models glow in blue or green.
The 1970’s brought a breeze of fresh air and change. The Rolex Submariner was only produced in steel in its early days, but Rolex decided to introduce other metals such as two tone, yellow gold and different dial color such as bright blue. In 2004 Rolex celebrated the Submariner 50th anniversary by unveiling a model called Rolex 50th anniversary Sub. The model featured a green bezel 60 minute, black face with larger Maxi markers, and the same stainless-steel bracelet marked 93250.
Through the evolution of the Rolex Submariner we can see that even though there were many changes, the base-model stayed the same. The original Rolex Submariner 1680 with the date is very similar to the current Rolex Submariner model 116610 even though their obvious differences.
Vintage Rolex Submariner, a jewel on its own merit, will always be the quint essential collectors watch for its simple look and innovative history.