Rolex is the most recognized luxury watch brand in the world, boasting an impressive collection of dress and sports references to suit any lifestyle or profession. One of the most iconic timepieces in the brand’s catalog is the Submariner diver’s watch, which debuted at Basel World 1954. At the time of its release, the Submariner offered a greater depth resistance than any other watch in the Rolex catalog and also utilized a rotatable timing bezel and a dial topped with a luminous display.
Over the course of the next 60+ years, the Submariner would evolve into an impressive collection of dive watches, offering a large selection of features sets that include different metal finishes and dial and bezel color options. While there are several newer model options available on the market, no other variation of the Submariner is more fascinating or exciting to collect than the vintage Submariner.
Tips for Purchasing a Vintage Submariner
Fake Rolexes are very prevalent in the secondary market. Some are pretty obvious, while others are so sophisticated that even the most experienced Rolex connoisseur can’t spot them. Needless to say, purchasing a fake vintage Rolex is a serious concern for every collector.
Here are a few factors to consider before making any vintage watch purchase:-
– First, do your research. Make sure you are familiar with the fine details that characterize the particular watch that you are interested in buying, such as the font on the dial or the shape of the hands. If those features aren’t present, then you are likely dealing with a counterfeit watch.
– Are all of the original parts included? Finding an all-original vintage Rolex can be tough, as it’s pretty standard practice during service to replace any worn or damaged parts with new components. A Submariner with all original parts will likely command a higher price on the secondary market.
– Purchase through a reputable seller. This point circles back to doing your research before making your purchase. If you choose a seller that is in good standing among the watch community then the chances that the Rolex you are buying is authentic is guaranteed. Bob’s Watches provides vintage Submariners for even the most skeptical collectors.
– Check the engravings on the watch. This information can tell you a lot about the individual watch, such as its production year and reference number and can help verify its authenticity.
– If the watch comes with papers, make sure that they are authentic. It isn’t entirely unheard of for papers to be fake.
There are over a dozen vintage references in the Submariner line, all varying in price and rarity. Below are just a few of the most well-known references.
Ref. 1680 – This reference was the first Submariner to receive a date display on the dial as well as a Cyclops lens on the crystal. Also referred to as the “Red Submariner”, the logo is printed in an eye-catching red font. This particular reference is highly sought-after among avid collectors. Price: $13,995 and up, depending on rarity and condition.
Ref. 6538– The Submariner has long been associated with the James Bond franchise, making the rare ref. 6538 that appeared on Sean Connery’s wrist in Dr. No particularly sought-after by collectors. This reference was also one of the first of the big crown Submariners and was the first reference to offer an increased depth rating of up to 200 meters. Price: $90,000+
Ref. 16800– Collectors often seek transitional models for the interesting history that often accompanies them. The ref. 16800 is no different, introducing the line to the sapphire crystal, the calibre 3035 perpetual movement, and an increased depth rating of up to 300 meters. As a newer vintage timepiece, the ref. 16800 boasts an attractive price and is ideal for entry-level collectors. Price: $6,500
Vintage Submariner Value
Most vintage Rolexes stand to appreciate over time, simply based on the fact that they are discontinued,and there will likely always be a buyer on the market willing to purchase your timepiece, should you choose to sell it. While most watches won’t appreciate drastically right away, the odds that they will rise in value while being a treasured addition to your watch box many years from now are pretty high. Market research has shown that the Submariner value is climbing swiftly, far exceeding what would be expected based solely on inflation, making them a smart investment over a long period of time.
Whether you seek a vintage Submariner as an investment piece, for the incredible history that accompanies the entire line, or as an eye-catching statement piece, most collectors can agree that every watch collection needs at least one.