What is the Rolex Submariner?

The Rolex Submariner has somewhat of a cult following – thanks to its sleek lines, excellent craftsmanship, stylish appearance reasonable price. It crosses the line between a great investment, and a fantastic timepiece you can wear. When buying or pawning one, there are a few things you should know!

The birth of the Rolex Submariner

Despite the admiration of the Rolex Submariner story, it was not the first water-resistant watch Rolex crafted. The Submariner story traces back to the 1930s when the ‘tool watch’ was produced in affiliation with Panerai (who specialised in diving equipment at the time) – a 47mm cushion-shaped Oyster case watch fitted with a pocket watch movement. The Submariner that we know today hasn’t changed enormously since its release at Basel Watch Fair in 1954. It has gone on to become not only one of the most iconic timepieces in the world, but also one of the most desired emulated. Between 1953 and 1954, three different versions of the Rolex Submariner models were produced, the 6200, 6204 and 6205, which all differed slightly from each other.

First came the 6200 ‘Big Crown’, a Rolex Submariner that was only produced in small numbers. The 6200 had a thicker case in comparison to the 6204 6205 models. It also had a larger winding crown was marked ‘Brevet’, derived from the French word ‘brevette’, meaning ‘patented’. The 6200 was made with an explorer-type dial, pencil-shaped luminous hands a ‘lollipop’ second hand. These explorer dials also featured an equilateral triangle at 12 o’clock, whereas later models would go on to have a more elongated triangle. Earlier versions didn’t have the word ‘Submariner’ or any depth indication printed on the dial, although the watch had been tested depth rated to 200 metres.

The Rolex Submariner 6204 was also produced in 1953, and had slight differences to the dial and crown. It was the first of all the models to display ‘Submariner’ in small print on the dial. This version also had a larger gap between the words ‘oyster’ ‘perpetual’, with a more elongated crown in comparison to the 6200. The crown was smaller displayed a Swiss cross instead of the former ‘Brevet’. In 1954, the 6204 was re-launched with a larger Submariner logo and was issued to the British Royal Navy.

The Rolex Submariner 6205 was the third model to be produced. This watch was very similar to the 6204 model, but not all watches displayed the Submariner logo. Confusingly for reasons unknown, there are a few 6204 models where the Submariner logo has been masked by black paint, consistently in the same place of the same size. This suggests that it was done at the time of manufacture. However, by late 1954, all Rolex Submariner watches were being fashioned with the Submariner logo, and in 1960, the Submariner name was finally registered to Rolex.

Newer Rolex Sub Models: 1990-2019

Most second-hand Rolex watch models were produced during this period. It is often possible to obtain one for between £6 – £8k. The difference is, once again, in the reference number.


The Rolex 16610 is the classic submariner; with a black face a fully rotational bezel made of oyster steel. The date is displayed in a bubble, and the watch is water resistant to 300 metres. As you know, variations in the reference number mean changes in colour material.


Fondly known as “Kermit”, sporting a black face loud green bezel, this Rolex Submariner was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the watch. It has proved a popular addition, and often fetches more than its brothers. The LV stands for “lunette vert”, French for “green bezel” – it is not a roman numeral as claimed by many.


Another classic Rolex Submariner – which as of 2019, is still in production, but rumours say will soon cease. Much like its brother 16610 in every way, except it has no date. It can be bought new from Rolex.

Why should I buy a Rolex Submariner?

One of the great things about a pre-owned Rolex Submariner, other than its look toughness, is that the resale market is very strong. Having one in your safe, or around your wrist, is a guarantee of a same-day cash loan for a London pawnbroker such as Suttons and Robertsons. We know they can resell fast for a great price, so you will get a loan much faster compared to other items!

If you ever find yourself in a position to buy a pre-owned Rolex Submariner 16610LV, you should!  The limited 8-year run of production means they are a great investment likely to climb in price.

Pre-owned Rolex watches at Suttons & Robertsons 

Here at S&R London Jewellers, we are renowned for our collection of pre-owned luxury watches from world leading brands such as Rolex, TUDOR, TAG Heuer, Gucci, Bvlgari, Breitling, Cartier and more. Discover pre-owned Rolex watches like the Rolex Submariner model.

If you have a specific pre-owned luxury, designer, or vintage watch model that you are looking for, then feel free to get in touch with our team at S&R, and we will be happy to assist, or to guide you in the right direction! 

Discover the original article here: www.suttonsandrobertsons.com/articles/rolex-submariner-buyers-guide/

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