The first ceramic bezel Submariner appeared in 2009 with the introduction of the steel and gold Rolex reference 116613. A stunning blend of classic and modern dive watch design, the ref. 116613 has since become a highly sought-after dive watch, both at retail and on the pre-owned Rolex market. Other metal variations of the ceramic (aka “Cerachrom”) bezel Submariner would later follow. However, none is as intriguing as the Rolex Submariner two-tone example.
The Rolex Submariner was introduced to the market in the early 1950s and was the first timepiece in the brand’s catalog to offer water resistance up to 100 meters. This depth rating would eventually be increased to up to 300 meters, where it remains for the modern versions of the Submariner that are sold today. Other notable upgrades made to the line over the past six decades include improved materials (904L Oystersteel), longer-lasting lume (Chromalight), higher-beat Caliebr 3135 perpetual movements, tougher scratch-resistant sapphire crystals, and unidirectional rotating timing bezels.
The Submariner was first offered in stainless steel, then in yellow gold. The first two-tone Submariner wasn’t released until 1984, with the reference 16803. This take on Rolex’s famous professional diver introduced the line to a brand new level of collectors who sought a gold Rolex but didn’t have the budget for an all-gold timepiece. Fast forward to 2009 with the release of this article’s featured ref. 116613, a completely redesigned dive watch with an upgraded bracelet and case, a redesigned bezel fitted with a ceramic insert, and a larger display on the dial.
The Rolex Super Case
The newest generation of the Submariner is equipped with what avid collectors refer to as the “Super Case.” Despite its name, the case maintains a standard 40mm diameter but can credit its larger appearance on the wrist to the addition of a bigger crown guard and thicker lugs. A new “Maxi” dial with larger luminous plots and the ceramic bezel also add to the overall larger stance of the case on the wrist.
The ref. 116613 presents the case in 904L-grade Oystersteel with an 18 karat yellow gold crown and bezel, a patented combination of metals that Rolex refers to as “Yellow Rolesor.” The time is either displayed on a black or blue dial with some references featuring a stunning, gem-set Serti dial. Newer examples of the ref. 116613 also feature Rolex Chromalight lume, which many collectors seek for its stunning blue glow that lasts up to eight hours. No matter which configuration you choose, the result will always be a contemporary and nautical design that is just as suitable on land as it is at sea.
The Oyster Bracelet: A Diver’s Best Friend
The ref. 116613 is only produced on a flat three-piece link Oyster bracelet constructed from 904L stainless steel with solid 18-carat yellow gold links. Solid steel and gold end links and a machined Oysterlock safety clasp with a Glidelock wetsuit extension system offer a substantial hold on the wrist and tool-free adjustment that many older-model Submariners cannot match.
The bracelet is supple and will hug the wrist nicely, while simultaneously providing a reliable hold over even the thickest wetsuits, thanks to the innovative Glidelock extension system. This feature allows the wearer to rapidly adjust the length of the bracelet (up to a total of 20mm in 2mm increments) on-the-fly to fit over the sleeve of virtually any diving suit.
The Caliber 3135
At the heart of the Rolex 116613 beats a Caliber 3135 perpetual movement. Introduced in the late 1980s, the Cal. 3135 beats at a high rate of 28,800bph and includes an automatically changing date mechanism, a standard 48-hour power reserve, and a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring in newer references. The Caliber 3135 is one of Rolex’s most reliable movements and continues to power many of their modern timepieces.
The Submariner ref. 116613 is the pinnacle of modern Rolex dive watch design with a high-beat movement, a contemporary feature set, and increased depth-rating. Its two-tone finish is likely to appeal to most collector’s tastes with a blend of stainless steel and 18 carat yellow gold. If you’re in the market for a modern dive watch, the ref. 116613 is certainly an option to consider.