Rolex Submariner Date: The Ultimate Diving Watch
The Rolex Submariner Date is the quintessential diving watch. A Cyclops lens above the date display defines this timepiece. There are many stainless steel and gold versions available. Coveted collector's items bear nicknames like "Kermit" or "Hulk."
A Diving Watch With a Magnifying Lens
Most people can't imagine the Rolex Submariner without a date display. Many even consider the rather unpopular Cyclops lens an indispensable component of this diving watch. Rolex first added the date function to this line in the mid-1960s, starting with models under the reference number 1680. Today, the Submariner Date is one of the Swiss luxury watch brand's most beloved watches.
Its 40-mm Oyster case features a screw-down case back and the patented Triplock crown, lending this timepiece its water resistance of 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). The large, luminous indices and hands are easy to read, even under poor lighting conditions. This Submariner also has a unidirectional bezel with 60-minute graduation. Rolex outfitted each watch with an aluminum bezel inlay until 2010. They then switched to an inlay made from their proprietary ceramic, Cerachrom, starting with the ref. 11660.
Compared to its sister model without a date display – known as the Submariner No Date – models with a date display offer a much wider variety of design options. The Submariner Date's cases and bracelets come in stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, or Rolesor, a two-tone variant that combines stainless steel and 18-karat yellow gold. The Submariner Date is also available with a number of different dial and bezel colors, such as black, blue, or green.
In September 2020, Rolex introduced seven new Submariner Date models. These watches are 1 mm larger than their predecessors, measuring a total of 41 mm in diameter. Another change took place inside the case, which now houses the caliber 3235 with a 70-hour power reserve.
Reasons to Buy a Rolex Submariner Date
- Oyster case water resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft)
- Date display with Cyclops lens
- Chronometer-certified in-house caliber
- Available in stainless steel, white gold, yellow gold, and two-tone variants
- Various color options available for the dial and bezel
Prices at a Glance: Rolex Submariner Date
|116619LB||36,500 USD||White gold case, blue dial and bezel inlay|
|116618LN||34,000 USD||Yellow gold case and bracelet|
|16610LV "Kermit"||21,000 USD||Green aluminum bezel|
|1680||17,500 USD||First Submariner with a date display|
|116610LV "Hulk"||16,500 USD||Green dial and ceramic bezel|
|16613LB||13,000 USD||Two-tone, blue dial and aluminum bezel|
|116610LN||12,500 USD||Ceramic bezel|
|16610LN||11,500 USD||Aluminum bezel|
How much does a Submariner Date cost?
Prices for many stainless steel Rolex sports watches have risen significantly in recent years. This also applies to the current Submariner Date, the ref. 116610LN. Mint-condition models are in high demand but in low supply. Even some pre-owned pieces have seen notable price increases over the last few years. Many factors influence how much a Submariner Date costs, including its year of production, condition, and accessories, with full sets demanding the highest prices. Two-tone and solid gold models are no less expensive; however, prices for these models are growing at a much slower rate than their stainless steel counterparts.
Watches produced since 2010 feature a so-called "maxi case." While it shares its 40-mm diameter with its predecessor, this case type has wider lugs and a larger crown protector. That same year also saw the change to Cerachrom bezels. Cerachrom is a type of ceramic unique to Rolex.
Plan to spend around 12,500 USD on a new stainless steel timepiece with a black dial and bezel from the current collection (ref. 116610LN). This same watch starts at about 11,000 USD pre-owned. If you're looking for an early, vintage model – such as the Submariner Date ref. 1680 – be prepared to dig a bit deeper into your pockets. Depending on the watch's condition, prices range from 17,500 to 21,500 USD.
September 2020 saw the release of a new stainless steel model with a classic black bezel. This timepiece, the ref. 126610LN, replaced its predecessor. Despite its 41-mm case, the watch feels slimmer overall thanks to its narrower lugs. Like the other new Submariner Dates, its power comes from the in-house caliber 3235.
This new movement has an improved, 70-hour power reserve and boasts Rolex's proprietary Chronergy escapement. This escapement is made of a nickel-phosphorous alloy, which is more resistant to magnetic fields and allows for more precise timekeeping. Rolex lists this watch for 9,150 USD.
A Hint of Green: The Submariner Date Kermit and Hulk
Collectors should be on the lookout for the refs. 16610LV and 116610LV. Rolex introduced the former in 2003 in celebration of the Submariner's 50th anniversary. Fans were quick to dub this model the "Kermit" because of its green bezel. Its black dial is also slightly different from the standard Submariner Date. Rolex outfitted this model with a "maxi dial," which has larger indices. You can call a Kermit your own for about 21,000 USD new or 16,000 USD pre-owned.
Released in 2010, the 116610LV is a much more affordable option. It comes with a "maxi case" and a green ceramic bezel. What's more, its dial is also green and features a beautiful sunburst pattern. This unique color scheme led to this timepiece receiving its own nickname: "Hulk." Never-worn pieces sell for around 11,000 USD, and used watches cost roughly 10,000 USD.
In September 2020, Rolex launched a brand new Kermit edition. The ref. 126610LV keeps the Kermit's black dial and green bezel but is 1 mm larger and has narrower lugs. As with the other 2020 Submariner Dates, this watch features the in-house caliber 3235 with a Chronergy escapement and 70-hour power reserve. You can purchase this timepiece for the recommended retail price of 9,550 USD.
Ref. 16610LN: The Last Submariner Date With an Aluminum Bezel
Rolex produced the reference 16610LN from 1987 to 2010. Many fans prefer this model and refer to it as the last true Submariner due to its narrower case and aluminum bezel. This version is clearly a tool watch, while its successor (the ref. 116610) feels much dressier. Today, the 16610LN is extremely popular and can demand high prices.
Be sure to have at least 11,500 USD on hand for a mint-condition watch, though many sellers will ask for more. Pre-owned pieces change hands for about 8,800 USD on Chrono24.
Gold and Two-Tone Submariner Date Models
The first Submariner Date with a yellow gold case and bracelet bears the reference number 16618. Rolex offered this watch with a black or blue dial and bezel. Regardless of the color, prices for this timepiece come in at around 26,000 USD. Used models cost slightly less at 23,500 USD.
More recent yellow gold editions with the reference number 116618 also come with black or blue elements. Prices for new and pre-owned pieces are quite similar, ranging from 31,500 to 33,000 USD.
Rolex also offers more recent models with a 41-mm case, narrow lugs, and the caliber 3235. These timepieces bear the reference numbers 126618LB ("lunette bleu" or "blue bezel") and 126618LN ("lunette noir" or "black bezel"). Both have an official list price of 36,950 USD.
Rolex calls the two-tone combination of stainless steel and yellow gold "Rolesor." Watches with this finish can be found under the reference number 116613LB or LN. The letters "LB" and "LN" stand for "lunette bleu" (blue bezel) and "lunette noir" (black bezel), respectively. The dials also come in the corresponding color. Pre-owned pieces cost around 14,000 USD, while those in mint condition demand about 15,200 USD. You can save a bit of money by buying an older model with the reference 16613. These vintage watches cost between 9,900 and 13,000 USD.
In late 2020, Rolex announced the ref. 126613LB and retired its predecessor. Its two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold case is 41 mm in diameter and houses the caliber 3235. This timepiece demands a list price of 14,300 USD. If you prefer black to blue, you should take a closer look at the ref. 126613LN. Other than its color, this model is identical to the blue edition in terms of size, technology, and price.
If a Submariner Date in white gold is more your style, you should take a closer look at the ref. 116619LB. As you may have guessed by the reference number, this model is outfitted with a blue bezel and dial. One of these watches requires an investment of around 37,000 USD new and 31,500 USD pre-owned in very good condition.
Rolex also updated the white gold Submariner Date in 2020. This version has the reference number 126619LB and is 41 mm in diameter. It has replaced its predecessor and combines a blue bezel with a classic black dial. Its official list price is 39,650 USD, though – like every Rolex sports watch – that number is expected to rise.
Water Resistant to 300 m: The Oyster Case
Thanks to its careful construction, every Submariner Date since the ref. 16800 has been water resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). Older models could withstand up to 20 bar (200 m, 656 ft) of water pressure. Like all Oyster models, the case is composed of a single piece, known as monobloc, and the case back is screwed onto the center section. The ref. 16800 also marked the introduction of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to the series.
How well a timepiece can keep water out is a crucial characteristic of a diving watch. The crown is a possible weak point, as it requires a hole be made in the case. This is why Rolex equips the Submariner Date with their Triplock system, which features four rubber gaskets to keep out water and dirt. Furthermore, the crown screws down into the case when not in use. It is only unscrewed when the watch needs to be set or manually wound.
A counterclockwise unidirectional bezel is another mandatory feature for any diving watch. This allows you to easily keep track of how long you have been underwater. It's impossible to turn the bezel clockwise, meaning you can never accidentally lengthen the dive time. It's also important to be able to tell the time in darkness. This is why the Submariner is equipped with luminous hands and indices. Since the ref. 116610, Rolex has been using their own luminous material, Chromalight, which glows blue in the dark. Chromalight's color differs from the previously-used luminous substance, SuperLuminova, which glows green.