THE ROLEX SUBMARINER, THE MYTHICAL DIVING WATCH
The history of the Submariner
The very first Rolex Submariner emerged in 1953, and was then marketed under the reference 6204 in 1954. It was the first wristwatch produced to be waterproof up to depths of 100 meters for the reference numbers 6204 and 6205, and 200 meters for the reference number 6200. From its conception, the Rolex Submariner was destined for extreme sport athletes and didn't correspond at all to the standards of elegance of the time. It is, nevertheless, today one of the most widely sold sport watches in the world. It has also experienced the most evolution over the years.
The special features of the Rolex Submariner
Designed for divers, it can withstand deep dives with ease: a robust casing with reinforced waterproofing, 3 hands and a luminescent index, visible in the underwater darkness, an unidirectional bezel which gradually turns, allowing the diver to calculate decompression stops.
The models of the Submariner
There are 2 models of Submariner. The standard Submariner (without date) and the Submariner Date. One can also find the Submariner Comex on the market. This is not a Rolex model, rather a Rolex model series without a date adapted to include an added helium valve. Launched in 1969 with the reference number 5514, these were specially produced for Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise (Maritime Expertise Company), who specialised in underwater operations. They are recognisable by the inscription 'COMEX' on the dial or at the bottom of the casing and the helium valve for the reference numbers 5513 and 5514.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE ROLEX SUBMARINER WATCH
The reference 6538
Produced from 1956 to 1959, the 6538 reference has a thick casing and slightly indented bezel. Its dial is always black.
The reference 5513
Produced from 1962 to 1989, it is an evolution of the 5512, which emerged in 1959. Its casing is larger and 'shouldered'. Its bezel is more indented than the preceding generation and its graduations are thicker and therefore more legible in diving conditions.
The reference 1680
The 1680 reference, produced between 1969 and 1979, has the same casing and the same bezel as the preceding generation. It is a Submariner Date and has a date feature at 3 o'clock.
The reference 116610
The 116610 reference is also supplied with the date at 3 o'clock. It has a thicker casing, sports a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal instead of the plexiglas of the 1680, as well as a more indented bezel.
THE PRICE OF A SECOND-HAND ROLEX SUBMARINER
The Rolex Submariner have a rising value on the watch market. The Submariner Date, for example, has seen a 170% rise in value within 10 years, to reach an average price of €11,596 in 2014 compared to €6,974 for a standard steel Submariner.
Rare watches add a significant increase to the price. Collectors forked out four times more in 2014 for a Submariner Comex compared to 2005, whose price today is close to reaching an average of €80,000. There are many rare Submariner watches, produced for particular occasions and in a limited quantity. Among these are notably the red Submariner 'America', the 'Royal Navy', or the 'Tropical'. These watches are extremely highly prized among collectors and fly off the shelves at auction.
All the figures of this study emanate from the databases of LuxPrice-index© , who survey the results of more than 200 000 auctions from the main auction houses around the world across a 12 year span.