|The Rolex Submariner
As the Rolex Submariner celebrates its 50th anniversary, we
can trace it roots back to the very first waterproof Rolex
Oyster. However, the appearance of the model 6204 Submariner in
1954, signaled the dawn of what we have come to identify as the
ultimate sports tool watch.
The Rolex 6204 was fitted with a Rolex caliber A296
semi-bubble back automatic movement and was waterproof to 600
ft. This model was followed by the 6200 and the 6205.
In 1957, these models gave way to the Submariner models 6538
and 6536/1, which also had the new caliber 1030 movement and a
larger case and better crown, which boosted the depth rating to
660 ft for the 6538, but dropped the 6536/1 to 330 ft.
The late 50’s was a transitional period for Rolex and the
Submariner, as they introduced updated models using the 1500
series of movements running concurrently with the short lived
caliber 1030 series. The first Rolex Submariner to use the
caliber 1530 was the model 5510, using the oversized crown of
the model 6538. This model 5510 is one of the rarest of Vintage
Rolex’s and was only produced for a year or two.
The Rolex model 5512, also using the Rolex automatic caliber
1530 and depth rated to 660 ft, quickly replaced the 5510. The
5512 was the watch that gave the Rolex Submariner its most
identifiable face, with the crown guards, Mercedes hands and
large waterproof case. This model was put up for sale alongside
the replacement for the Rolex model 6536, the model 5508 which
still did not have crown guards and was only depth rated to 330
ft. When the 5508 was retired, the 5512 was fitted with a
chronometer rated Rolex movement, the caliber 1560 and a new
model, the reference 5513 was introduced using the venerable
Rolex caliber 1530. The Rolex 5512 was marketed until the late
1970’s and the 5513 was finally retired in 1990.
All the previously mentioned vintage Rolex Submariners were
no-date models, a Submariner model with a date window was
introduced in 1965 with the debut of the Rolex Submariner model
Rolex later updated the product line and introduced models
with sapphire crystals and high beat movements in about 1985.
The new model that first debuted with a sapphire crystal was the
transitional Submariner 16800, using the Rolex calibre 3035,
chronometre rated with date mechanism. The Rolex Submariner 5513
was replaced with the Submariner model reference 14060 in about
1990. This model featured the Rolex automatic caliber 3000 and a
synthetic sapphire crystal. The model 16800 was later replaced
with the Submariner 16610 in about 1989-1990.