The Rolex Submariner is very unique in design, and even those who know little about watches can point out the iconic design of the Submariner. The Submariner has been in manufacturing for over 50 years; its design has developed, but you can still identify the unique look of the contemporary Rolex Submariner with its original and first Rolex Submariner.
Nowadays, the contemporary Submariner is distinguished by its “cathedral” or “Mercedes” hands, with a rounded piece close to the point of the hand. On the other hand, the early Submariner designs didn’t have this type of hands, but rather, they had plain pencil hands. The contemporary Rolex Submariner is equipped with the reliable and high-precision in-house Rolex Caliber 3130, and this is clearly something that wasn’t always the case since the beginning of Submariner production.
Rolex Submariner: The Beginning
The truth is, there were forerunners in the Rolex collection before the creation of the Rolex Submariner. These are all water-resistant watches created in the early 1930s, but they’re not complete tools for divers. Ultimately, Rolex entered a joint venture with Panerai, which sold diving equipment and Rolex watches. Panerai Radiomir was integrated with the Oyster-shaped case with the caliber movement supplied by Rolex.
Jeanneret, one of Hans Wilsdorf’s employees, developed the idea of creating a completely new Rolex division that would make sports watches, including a diver’s watch. Since Wilsdorf was known to hear his employees, he agreed with the idea and came up with the concept of a self-winding movement and a screw-down crown.
Jeanneret ultimately developed a friendship with Jacques Cousteau, a renowned explorer, and a diver. The outcome of this relationship was that he was trying to persuade Rolex to consider making a watch particularly designed for professional divers. Since Cousteau was a precious asset in creating a professional diver’s watch that knows the desires and requirements of a professional diver, the Submariner has been developed.
You won’t find the name “Submariner” on the dial for the first models. Some 6204 do, however, do have the text of Submariner printed below the center pinion, while others do not, and it is assumed that the reason was that Rolex faced unforeseen signature difficulties with the name of “Submariner.”
When the model was introduced, the Submariner was prominent with divers and oceanographers. They have the rotating bezel which is unidirectional in order to guarantee that the time can only be shorter, ensuring that the diver does not run out of oxygen while underwater, as this is the biggest point of use for the rotating bezel of the Submariner. In addition, the Submariner flip-lock clasp was designed primarily to be used with neoprene gloves, making it much easier to operate. Having no crown guards, the Submariner came to include crown guards to safeguard the crown from damages.
Great for Divers and Water Sports
Since diving at great depths results in a great deal of pressure, the demand for a diver’s watch with a higher water resistance came around. As a byproduct, Rolex has incorporated the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000. This model was the first edition of what is now known as the Sea-Dweller, and it had a water resistance of 610m/2000 feet as it was introduced in 1967. The Sea-Dweller was created on the established Submariner model and designed for Comex S.A. Industrial deep-sea diving company. Rolex has attained higher water resistance by making the crystal thicker.
Rolex’s Submariner model also portrayed more classic features, such as “cyclops” that work as a magnifier for enhanced legibility, notably underwater, and luminous indicators that enable time to be checked underwater.
Rolex Submariner’s Innovations
It’s reasonable to assume that the Rolex Submariner has undergone several innovations, changes, and improvements over the years that have eventually improved watches in a range of aspects. In the past years, from the 1970s and beyond, Rolex began producing Submariners in yellow or two-tone gold. In addition, Rolex has also developed new colored dials as contrasted to the black dial they have been using since the start.
Rolex has also used its 904L steel made in its manufacturing facility, and the fact that Rolex can go so far and wide to make their own steel is proof of Rolex’s utmost precision and never compromising attitude. The 904L steel is corrosion resistant and incredibly tough, making it the perfect steel for a diver’s watch.
In A Nutshell
Nowadays, the Rolex Submariner is unquestionably the most rated and popular Rolex model, but the Submariner hasn’t always had the enormous popularity that it has today. In actuality, this wouldn’t take till the 1960s, when the popularity of the Submariner rose when it was showcased in several James Bond movies worn with his own wrist. As a matter of fact, the Submariner was also used in a series of underwater scenes that confirmed that the watch was durable for the greatest number of spies and his missions, but also classy for suit and tie—something that continues to be the case today.