It has been said many times before, but only because it’s true: the Rolex Submariner is the world’s most famous diver’s watch. Born in the 1950s as a tool watch for scuba divers and eventually evolving into a must-have status sports watch, the Submariner is often imitated, but never duplicated.
The Submariner’s popularity has resulted in a booming market for these highly coveted Rolex dive watches—both at retail and in the secondary market. Considering the number of different Submariner models Rolex has made over the last 65 years and model’s thriving demand, determining how much to pay for a Submariner can be challenging. As such, we have compiled a Rolex Submariner Price Guide as a handy resource should you be in the market for one.
Brief History and Evolution of the Rolex Submariner
Rolex first introduced the Submariner in 1953 with a host of features to cater to needs of scuba divers. For instance, the watch was constructed from durable stainless steel, came fitted with a rotating bezel to measure dive times, included plenty of luminescence on the dial for optimal legibility, and most importantly, was water resistant to 100 meters.
The earliest models of the Submariner were time-only watches until the late 1960s, when Rolex debuted a Submariner Date model. Since then, Rolex has continued to make Submariner Date models and no-Date Submariner models. The Submariner has always run on automatic mechanical movements and its water resistance has evolved from 100 meters to 300 meters today.
For about 15 years after its initial launch, the Rolex Submariner was exclusively made in stainless steel. This all changed in 1969 when Rolex introduced the first yellow gold Submariner. In 1983, Rolex presented the very first two-tone yellow gold and steel Submariner. Fast forward to 2008, Rolex unveiled the very first white gold Submariner model. Today, you can find stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, and two-tone yellow gold and steel Submariner Date watches. On the other hand, Rolex has only ever made the no-date Submariner models in stainless steel.
Along with different metal options, Rolex has also made different bezels throughout the years. It is important to note that Submariner bezels were initially bi-directional. Rolex introduced the unidirectional bezel to the Submariner Date in 1979 and to the no-date Submariner in 1990.
For most of its history, the steel Submariner was only offered with a black aluminum bezel insert. Then, on the 50th anniversary of the Sub, Rolex presented a steel Submariner Date with a green aluminum bezel. Conversely, the yellow gold and two-tone Submariner watches were always offered with a choice of black or blue aluminum bezels. The biggest change to the Submariner bezel came in 2008 when Rolex switched from aluminum to ceramic bezels. Today, Rolex makes the yellow gold and two-tone Submariner Date watches with a black or blue ceramic bezel, the white gold Submariner Date watch with a blue ceramic bezel, the stainless steel Submariner Date with a black or green ceramic bezel, and the stainless steel no-date Submariner with a black ceramic bezel.
Current Rolex Submariner Models Price Guide
Below you will find a table outlining the Submariner models that Rolex currently produces along with retail price and average price range in the secondary market. As you’ll see, some models have a higher value in the secondary market because demand outpaces supply at the retail level.
|Type||Reference||Material||Bezel||Retail Price (US$)||Secondary Market Value|
|No-Date Submariner||114060||Stainless Steel||Black Ceramic||$7,500||$7,700 – $10,500|
|Submariner Date||116610LV “Hulk”||Stainless Steel||Green Ceramic||$9,050||$12,500 – $17,500|
|Submariner Date||116610LN||Stainless Steel||Black Ceramic||$8,550||$8,700 – $13,000|
|Submariner Date||116613LN||Yellow Gold & Stainless Steel||Black Ceramic||$13,400||$11,000 – $14,000|
|Submariner Date||116613LB||Yellow Gold & Stainless Steel||Blue Ceramic||$13,400||$11,800 – $14,000|
|Submariner Date||116618LN||Yellow Gold||Black Ceramic||$34,250||$27,000 – $30,000|
|Submariner Date||116618LB||Yellow Gold||Blue Ceramic||$34,250||$27,000 – $30,000|
|Submariner Date||116619LB “Smurf”||White Gold||Blue Ceramic||$36,850||$26,000 – $34,000|
Discontinued Rolex Submariner Models Price Guide (late 1980s – 2000s)
Below is a table outlining the now-discontinued Submariner models that Rolex made from the late 1980s until the new generation appeared in the 2000s.
|Type||Reference||Production Years||Material||Bezel||Secondary Market Value|
|No-Date Submariner||14060||1990 – 1998||Stainless Steel||Black Aluminum||$6,000 – $8,500|
|No-Date Submariner||14060M||1998 – 2012||Stainless Steel||Black Aluminum||$6,200 – $9,500|
|Submariner Date||16610LN||1988 -2010||Stainless Steel||Black Aluminum||$6,500 – $9,000|
|Submariner Date||16610LV “Kermit”||2003 -2010||Stainless Steel||Green Aluminum||$11,500 – $18,000|
|Submariner Date||16618LN (Black) 16618LB (Blue)||1988 -2008||Yellow Gold||Black or Blue Aluminum||$18,000 – $25,000|
|Submariner Date||16613LN (Black) 16613LB (Blue)||1988 -2009||Yellow Gold & Stainless Steel||Black or Blue Aluminum||$7,000 – $11,000|
A Word On Vintage Rolex Submariner Prices
As a general rule, a watch has to be at least 30 years old to be considered a vintage model. The world of vintage Submariners is a complex one with plenty of different models, references, and minute details to consider—and each of these components can have an effect on the value.
Subsequently, prices vary wildly from the low five figures all the way to the millions. The intricacies of the vintage Submariner market go well beyond the scope of this article but if you’re looking to purchase one, make sure to do your homework!