All Rolex are equal, but some are more equal than others – and the Rolex Submariner is just that. Upon reading Suttons and Robertsons buyer’s guide to the Rolex Submariner, you’ll be left under no illusion as to why the Sub is not only an important turning point in modern watchmaking, but you’ll understand exactly why it is such good buy – or pawn – and why it is the watch that simply keeps giving.
Defining the Sub
First introduced in 1953, the Submariner was the world’s first watch to be water resistant to 100 metres. The original watch that graced James Bond’s wrist, the Sub was a sporty number the like of which we had not seen before; luminous hands and hour markers and a 60-minute rotating timing bezel housed in a Rolex Oyster Case became the by-word for not only dive watches, but sports watches across the board.
As a Rolex Pawnbrokers, we have seen many different models of Rolexes over the years, but the Submariner’s story started back in the 1950s.
When the Submariner appeared at the Basel Watch Fair of 1954, it marked a turning point in watchmaking and captures the zeitgeist of the time. Scuba diving was beginning to take off – thanks to the underwater exploration work of filmmaker, Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau’s friend and fellow driver also happened to be the Public Relations Director of Rolex, Rene-Paul Jeanneret. Jeanneret could see that – with some tweaks and additions – and Cousteau’s underwater experience, Rolex could create a watch that could do more than just tell the time. And, so, the first Submariner model, the ref. 6204, was presented to the world.
For watch enthusiasts out there, it’s important to note that the Rolex Submariner was not the first dive watch ever produced. 1932’s Omega Marine and 1953’s Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms are considered to be the world’s first diving watches, but what made the Rolex Sub create more of a ripple lay in the detail. The Submariner saw the world’s first practical automatic caliber – the Perpetual – and the first volume produced and water-resistant casing, the Oyster.
It would have been easy for Rolex to sit back on their laurels; while they hadn’t produced the world’s first diving watch, they would seem to have produced the world’s definitive dive watch. Rolex’s subsequent development and review of the Submariner certainly explains its hefty pricetag. At Suttons and Robertsons, our branches buy and loan against Rolex watches and we watch the Rolex resale market very closely – that’s why we’re able to a offer a loan against your luxury Rolex that includes a free expert valuation of your asset and instant cash loans.
When investing in a Rolex, it is always important to seek out the detail. In the Sub’s first year alone, there were three versions – the 6200, 6204 and 6205 – all with slight differences that sets each model apart from the others. With a Rolex Submariner of any age, the devil will always be in the reference number.
The Submariner Enters Popular Culture
Within 10 years, the Submariner had morphed from being a dive watch to being a status symbol that was worn on the wrist. The Rolex Submariner was as likely to be seen on the big screen as in the boardroom, peaking out from under a tuxedo or casually worn on the wrist at Malibu beach. While the Sub was growing in popularity as a reliable and trustworthy watch, Rolex’s product placement success managed to secure a spot in 8 Bond films, on the wrists of four different 007s. From Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball, to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (where Lazenby got to wear three different Rolexes in his only outing as Bond), to Roger Moore’s electromagnetic Sub in Live and Let Die and ref.1680 in The Man With the Golden Gun, before bowing out in 1989’s Licence to Kill, with Timothy Dalton.
But it wasn’t just Bond.
The Submariner’s popularity is evidenced across the board, with someone for everyone to aspire to. Steve McQueen wore the ref. 5512, while actor Mark Wahlberg has a large Rolex collection. Guitarist Slash shows how effortlessly cool the Rolex Sub by going for the ref. 116610LV Hulk.
One of the biggest changes to the Rolex equally got purists stamping their feet yet brought the Submariner to a wider market by making it, well, even more useful. By adding the date function, the Sub became more of an every-day-wear watch. While there has always been a no-date version, only made with stainless steel and black dials and bezels, the date version has seen some interesting colour combinations.
A weighty investment
The Submariner might be a robust and enduring wristwatch but it won’t weigh your wrist down. At only 155g – that’s 5.5oz – the Submariner is now water resistant to a depth of 300m and is almost 60 years old.
The Rolex star just continues to rise, with brand new watches fetching over double their ‘value’. The demand for Rolex remains supersonic yet Rolex sticks to their production schedule, regardless of demand. This means that they will only make a certain number of a certain model and that’s that. This is where the re-sale value of a Rolex comes into play. Not only is it the best place to turn your Rolex investment into cash, but it is also the very best way to pick up one of the many models. With the romance and history of the Submariner, getting your hands on one of the many classic ref. numbers, with a whole host of dials and bezels to choose from, by choosing a watch that has already been owned – once or more- could be the best way to do it.