Stainless Steel Submariners often look very similar and you might have a hard time telling them apart at first glance. Here are what we consider the key features when deciding on a Submariner Date (model 16610) with aluminum bezel:
The Solid End Link or SEL bracelet.
You can find this bracelet standard on Steel Submariners with Date (16610) produced after 2001 or so. The solid end link bracelets added a little bit of weight to the watch, but more importantly, it helps keep the bracelet from stretching at the end piece. Watches without the SEL bracelet will have a more vintage feel.
On 18K and Stainless Submariners this feature also coincides with what is known as the ‘gold through buckle’ meaning the gold stripe from the band is continued into the buckle, this feature was introduced as early as 1999 in the 16613.
Holes versus no holes
Take a look at the side of the case. If the Submariner Date was made before 2003 or so, it will have holes going through the lugs. These would allow you to easily remove the bracelet which is handy if you intend to wear the watch on a strap. However, Rolex found that most users never removed the band, so the holes have disappeared on modern pieces.
Luminous material: Luminova vs. Tritium
Luminova is phosphorescent and requires exposure to light during the day to glow in the dark, it is the standard on Swiss watches.
Tritium is radioluminescent and has a half life of about 15 years, since this material was phased out in the 1990s, most Rolex Submariners with this material will no longer glow in the dark. The basic thing to know here is that if you don’t see a T near the Swiss at the very bottom of the dial, it is not a tritium dial. Tritium develops a nice patina with age and is often of interest to collectors for this reason. Our listings will always indicate tritium if it is present on the dial.
This is the ‘ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX’ engraving that you can see just under the crystal around the dial. This was a transitional feature of the 16610 in 2007 – 2009 as it was becoming standard on all Rolex models. It doesn’t necessarily add to the enjoyment of the watch (some people even prefer the cleaner look of the earlier models). But, since this is such a transitional feature, it can be sought after by collectors.
If you’re looking for the differences between the Submariner Date (model 16610) and the ceramic bezel Submariner Date (model 116610) there have been a number of changes which I’ll detail in a later blog post.
Bernard Watch always stocks Rolex Submariner 16610 Watches.