The Evolution of the Rolex Submariner

The Evolution of the Rolex Submariner

Rolex has been a dominant name in the world of luxury watches for over a century. Their iconic designs and precision engineering have made their timepieces a symbol of prestige and refinement. Among the many models produced by Rolex, the Submariner is perhaps one of the most popular and recognizable. In this article, we will be exploring three different iterations of the Rolex Submariner: the 16610, 116610LN, and 126610LN.

Rolex Submariner 16610

The Rolex Submariner 16610 was first introduced in 1988, ending its production in 2010. This model was a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the 1680, with several key improvements. The 16610 boasted a larger case diameter of 40mm, fitted with a sapphire crystal, which made it more scratch-resistant than the previous acrylic crystals used in earlier models. The 16610 was also equipped with Rolex's Caliber 3135 movement, a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.

The 16610 featured a black dial with white gold markers and hands that provided excellent legibility even in low light conditions. The bezel insert was made of aluminium and had a 60-minute scale, which was essential for divers. This model’s water-resistance held to a depth of 300 meters (1000 feet), making it a reliable tool for professional divers.

Rolex Submariner 116610LN

The replacement for the 16610, the Rolex Submariner 116610LN was introduced in 2010, with its production ending in 2020. A modern interpretation of the classic Submariner design, this model improved upon the features of the 16610. Retaining the same 40MM case diameter, the lugs and crown guards have been redesigned to give the time piece a more refined look. The 116610LN also comes fitted with a ceramic bezel insert, which is highly scratch-resistant and more durable than the aluminium bezel insert used in earlier models.

In replacement of the Caliber 3135 movement, the newly improved movement now featured the Parachrom Bleu hairspring for more accurate time keeping. The black dial comes with larger luminescent hour markers and hands for better readability in low light conditions. The 116610LN is fitted with a Triplock winding crown for an extra layer of protection against water ingress, similarly, holding out up to a depth of 300 metres for diving uses.

Rolex Submariner 126610LN

The Rolex Submariner 126610LN comes as the latest iteration for the Submariner, with its entry into the market in 2020. Though similar in design to the 116610LN, this time piece is another upgraded version of its predecessor. Its case diameter has been increased to 41mm, and the lugs and crown guards have been refined to give it a more elegant look. The refined eye can easily tell the 126610LN and 116610LN apart by the slight size differences, as well as the visual looks of the lugs. However, for those without a keen eye, one can differentiate between the two by inspecting the “Swiss-Made” below the 6 o’clock marking, where the 126610LN has introduced the Rolex crown sitting between the “Swiss” and “Made” wordings.

The 126610LN is fitted with a ceramic bezel insert, with a new and more refined design. The bezel also has a slightly concave shape giving a more three-dimensional look. Powered by Rolex's Caliber 3235 movement, the 126610LN has a new Chronergy escapement for improved performance and efficiency, boasting a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The 126610LN shares its water-resistant protection with other Submariner models, with a Triplock winding crown fitted for an extra layer of protection against water ingress.


Overall, the Rolex Submariner is a timeless classic, being a hot favourite for watch enthusiasts for over six decades. These models are excellent examples of Rolex’s commitment to excellence and precision engineering! Whether you prefer the vintage of the 16610, the classical design of the 116610LN, or the modernized 126610LN, each models will be sure to provide a classy and visually appealing match no matter the occasion and style!
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