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The Glorious Journey of the Iconic Rolex Submariner from Tool Watch to a Status Symbol

Rolex is esteemed and treasured for its legendary watches in its catalogue. However, out of all, the Submariner perhaps stands out as the most popular and coveted. This Rolex watch has served as the prototype of diver’s timepieces for more than half a century. Even after almost 70years, the watch enjoys unparallel fame and devotion.

So let’s here take a quick look at the fascinating history of the legendary Rolex Submariner that started its journey being a tool watch but became a status symbol with time.

The Original Purpose behind Its Creation

The 1950s was apparently a glorious decade for Rolex as it unleashed many splendid models that captured collector’s attention instantly. The models were like the iconic Rolex GMT-Master, the Day-Date, the Explorer and the Turn-O-Graph. And in 1953, the watchmaker introduced the Submariner that became an instant hit.

However, Rolex created the Submariner initially for solving a problem of Scuba divers. Rene Paul Jeanneret was a member of the Rolex’s board as well as a passionate diver. So keeping the needs of Scuba divers in mind, he urged the watchmaker to develop the tool timepiece.

The conception was that it would be a wristwatch serving more than a mere time-telling device – a valuable tool with more functionality. Thus, finally, Rolex paved the way for the first-ever Submariner as the Reference 6204.

Evolution over the Years

Like many other models of the brand from the 1950s, the Rolex Submariner also faced unstable situations in its early life. Rolex unveiled the Submariner Reference 6204 in the 1954 Baselworld, followed by instant success. However, two other editions also made their debut almost at the same time, and they were the Reference 6200 and Reference 6205.

Nonetheless, if you look at the Submariner Reference 6204 today, you will find virtually all essential features, but it was devoid of the skills of contemporary timepieces. For instance, the watch features a black rotating bezel but without the small hash marks in the graduations for the initial 15minutes.

Moreover, the dial flaunted slimmer hands instead of the Mercedes-styled hands. Also, the case came in small diameter and had no crown-guards. Now:

Rolex refined and upgraded the collection over the upcoming six to seven years. The watchmaker modified the Submariner both externally and internally. In 1959, Rolex unleashed the ninth edition of the Submariner as the Reference 5512.

The case diameter of this Sub increased from nearly 38mm to a more oversized 40mm. The brand added the crown guards and the bezel was now more comfortable to rotate. Overall, the design of the Submariner 5512 remained the same for many years.

However, Rolex ceased the production of the Reference 5512 in the late 1970s, replacing it with the Submariner Reference 5513. The new Sub enjoyed production until 1990.

Becoming A Status Symbol

Rolex made the most significant modifications and upgrades to the Submariner in 1969. The brand introduced the Reference 1680 offering a date function and a few other refined features. However, the interesting fact is that this was the point when the Rolex Submariner started taking its initial steps towards turning to be a status symbol.

Well, the addition of the date-window faced different opinions. Regardless, the pragmatic watch aficionados perceived it as a useful feature as it made the Submariner both a diver and everyday watch. The fact is that the date functionality increased its eligibility for regular use.

However, the elite Swiss watchmaker released the model in different gold and Rolesor combinations. It merely magnified the glorious reputation of the model. On the contrary, Rolex made the non-date versions of stainless steel, offering only black bezels and dials.

The Current Rolex Submariner 2020

No doubt, the most significant release of 2020 is the new Rolex Submariner with the largest 41mm case diameter. Rolex also furnished the latest Sub references with a more proportional and broader bracelet. Moreover, the brand unveiled another Submariner version in 18ct white gold that sports a black dial and blue bezel.

The new Rolex Submariner 2020 also received a new-generation movement – the Calibre 3235. This movement is known to be one of the finest Calibres ever produced. On the other hand, Rolex equipped the new no-date Submariner with the Calibre 3230, replacing the Calibre 3130.

Overall, the current 2020 Rolex Submariner collection includes eight models. While three in stainless steel and 18ct gold respectively, two models are crafted in Rolesor.

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