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Rolex Submariner, the adventure from the deep
The Rolex Submariner is a sports diving watch. It appeared in the 1950s and has always been widely accepted, not only for its beauty itself, but for the quality of the piece as a whole.
Having a very particular garment can bring us good memories, whether they are ours, a loved one or relatives who came before us if it is a family heirloom. Many parts can fall into this category, but if it’s a Rolex Submariner, the story changes completely.
This type of Rolex is perhaps the most popular luxury watch that exists.
The marketing strategies used by the firm also had a great impact because James Bond, Agent 007 has used it in multiple films and by its own design it can also be worn on elegant occasions. It is defined by many as a statement of prestige and luxury.
The story behind the clock
The history of the Rolex Submariner began in the early 1950s. At that time the director of Rolex , René P. Jeanneret, one amateur diver, imposed a challenge to his own company, the develop a diving watch , but could also be elegantly on any occasion.
It took Rolex three years to introduce the new product. In 1953, Auguste Piccard and his son Jacques tried to break a world diving record, in the bathyscaphe they set a rolex made just for this occasion. When it surfaced, the watch was still working perfectly.
1954 marked the year of presentation of the first two Submariner watches in history. It happened at the Basel Watch Fair. , the models with the references 6204 and 6205, were the first in history with a water resistance of 100 meters.
The start marked another challenge, that of getting better and better specimens. So the following year they released a third version, one so appreciated, that many called it the Holy Grail of Rolex.
It is valid to clarify that none of these three first models had the word Submariner on the dial . The word was recorded at the end of 1954 and also did not wear the crown protectors.
Over the following years, Rolex continued working on the design and including improvements to make this not only an attractive model, but a strong one, recognized and accepted for its characteristics.
He launched several modified versions in that time and one or the biggest changes was the introduction of the Rolex caliber 1030 with chronometer certificate in references 6538 and 6536 , in 1955, more efficient than the previous ones.
The publicity also helped because it was used in the film against Dr. No. In it, the agent James Bond carries the 6538, which made the watch raise its general acceptance to the point of establishing itself as an icon, a category that it maintains in today.
It took a long time to make design changes. Between 1958 and 1978 the first attempts were made to improve it. In this period , reference numbers 5512 and 5513 were released. And in 1962, 5512 appeared , a reference that was in production until 1989.
These improved designs included some significant changes. The size of the box increased, now they were between 36 and 40 mm. Protectors were also added to the crown, and the words Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified appeared on the dial.
The Cyclops lens
Model improvements are a constant at Rolex, everything that contributes to customer comfort and satisfaction is a priority. Based on this precept, in 1966, Rolex added another feature that differentiates the Submariner from others and that references it as an icon: a date window and a Plexiglass glass with the famous Cyclops lens to extend this date.
Controversial for many, it is still true that this lens is a distinctive element of many Submariners.
Rolex Submariner Materials
If a Rolex Submariner made of steel was coveted by all, a gold one would be much more so. Perhaps this was the thought generated to make that from 1969 the first version in gold was introduced, until then they were only made in steel.
They intended to do it in white gold, even prototypes were designed, but it was never serially reproduced. Then they thought a version of yellow gold that had the dial and bezel in blue.
In 1969 it finally appeared reference 16618, responsible for marking the introduction of the luxury precious metals to wearing a Rolex.
It was also the first Submariner to have a different color dial and bezel.
In the 1970s Rolex reintroduced changes to the Submariner in materials, all to enhance its extraordinary capabilities.
The reference 16800 from 1979 wore a sapphire crystal and greater tightness, now the dive could be carried out up to 300 meters. Then in 1981 it was improved with the appearance of the new 16618, both with unidirectional bi- signals and the Rolex caliber 3085.
1983 was the year of the appearance of the Submariner in Rolesor, the company name for two-color models in gold and steel and five years later they launched the reference 16610.
It is valid to recognize that with each change there is an added improvement, a company purpose to achieve perfection through great challenges. Without completely changing their aesthetics, they have managed to change a classic.
In 2003, Rolex introduced the following variation of the Submariner celebrating the collection’s 50th anniversary . For the occasion they released a new version of steel with a green bezel and although many thought it would be a unique model for the celebration, Rolex produced it without limited or numbered editions.
The Rolex Submariner today
The Rolex Submariner has not stayed static, current versions of the Submariner Date continued to appear as of 2009. These sport ceramic bezels, thick handles on the case and a new bracelet.
These improvisations were applied only to the beginning to the Rolesor version, soon joined the white gold version with the dial and bezel in blue and steel versions in green and black in 2010. In 2012, Rolex began to equip the Submariner No Date with these same elements.
The summary truth is that Rolex has only made small changes in decades and that it is perhaps its greatest achievement. The Rolex Submariner can be used on almost all occasions, from sports to elegant. It is an icon, an unmistakable piece, a well-known and desired watch.