One of the most recognizable watches in the world is the stainless steel Rolex Submariner. The model first debuted in 1953 and although several metal options including solid gold and two-tone (along with a handful of different dial/bezel colors) have since been added to the collection, it is the stainless steel versions with black dials and bezels that remain the most popular among today’s collectors.
About the Rolex Submariner 116610LN
The stainless steel Rolex Submariner Date ref. 16610 held the title of being the most successful model from the collection for more than twenty years before it was discontinued in 2010 and replaced by the updated reference 116610LN, which is the watch that we will be discussing today.
The Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LN was the model that first introduced ceramic (Cerachrom) bezel inserts to the classic, stainless steel version of Submariner and it arguably represents the most significant update to the collection from the last several decades. This upgrade, along with an overall more contemporary design and revised bracelet, has made the Rolex Submariner 116610LN one of the most desirable luxury watches in the entire world.
Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LN
Submariner 116610LN Key Features:
Production Years: 2010 – 2020
Case Size: 40mm
Materials: 904L Stainless Steel (Oystersteel)
Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display
Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers
Bezel: Unidirectional. Black Ceramic (Cerachrom) Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale
Movement: Rolex Caliber 3135
Water Resistance: 300 Meters / 1,000 Feet
Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet w/ Glidelock Clasp Extension
Price (Approx): $10,000 – $12,500 (Pre-Owned)
Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Submariner.
A Brief Rolex Submariner History
The Rolex Submariner was originally developed as a purpose-built professional diver’s watch, intended to cater specifically to the scuba diving community. When it hit the market in 1953, the Submariner was the first wristwatch in the world capable of offering users a water-resistance rating of up to 100 meters.
Ever since its initial introduction, the Submariner has always been a part of Rolex’s catalog, and over the years, it has become one of the brand’s most popular and successful models of all time. Today, the Rolex Submariner has evolved in a number of different ways, and the watch now offers a 300-meter (1,000 feet) depth rating. However, despite the various updates and constant evolution, the Submariner still remains immediately identifiable as the same dive watch that first debuted more than a half-century ago.
Every aspect of the Rolex Submariner is designed for use while underwater and over the years, Rolex has continuously worked to refine and improve upon its initial design. While most watch collectors – and even professional scuba divers – will never find themselves 1,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, the ingenuity required to accomplish such a feat (and the peace of mind such water resistance provides) has earned the Rolex Submariner much adoration among watch collectors, and you can find examples of Rolex’s legendary dive watch on the wrists of countless individuals around the world, including both divers and non-divers alike.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN Case
Side-by-Side, there is a noticeable difference between the reference 116610LN and its predecessor, the 16610. While they are very similar in design with a full stainless steel finish paired with a black dial and bezel, the overall aesthetic of the ref. 116610LN is significantly more modern. The ref. 116610 series brought with it a revised case design – which is referred to by many collectors as the “Super Case” due to its bold and more angular proportions.
While it maintains the same 40mm case diameter as the Submariner watches from the previous generation, the larger crown guards and substantially thicker lugs give it a bigger overall appearance that is immediately noticeable on the wrist. Most notably, the case of the ref. 116610LN also includes a completely redesigned bezel assembly, which offers users smoother operation and an insert crafted from Cerachrom – Rolex’s proprietary ceramic material that is virtually scratchproof and impervious to UV exposure and corrosion.
Together with the highly corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel (labeled as “Oystersteel” in Rolex’s catalog) used for the case and bracelet, this edition of the Rolex Submariner will hold up better against saltwater and acids compared to most watches on the market that are crafted from traditional 316L stainless steel. Beyond its superior corrosion resistance, 904L stainless steel is also able to take on a brighter polish than traditional stainless steel alloys, allowing for a unique and luxurious appearance on the wrist.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN Dial
Like all other contemporary Rolex watches, the highly-legible display of the Submariner ref. 116610LN is protected by a sapphire crystal furnished with the brand’s signature Cyclops magician lens and an anti-reflective coating. Under the crystal resides Rolex’s updated “Maxi dial” display that features larger hour markers and broader hands for increased visibility.
Despite the updated dial proportions on the Rolex Submariner 116610LN, the overall aesthetic follows the same core design of its predecessor with a gloss black surface, white text, and applied hour markers outlined in 18k white gold. With that in mind, the ref. 116610LN was released alongside the reference 116610LV, which is essentially the exact same watch but fitted with a green dial and matching green ceramic bezel insert.
While the overall appearance of the dial and hands on the reference 116610LN are near-identical to those found on its predecessor, the larger hands and hour markers of the Maxi dial better match the updated case proportions of the Submariner 116610LN, creating a cohesive look that perfectly represents the evolution of Rolex’s legendary dive watch. Additionally, unlike its five-digit predecessor, the hands and hour marks of the ref. 116610LN are finished with Chromalight – Rolex’s proprietary luminescent material that provides an exceptionally bright and long-lasting blue glow for up to eight hours.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN Bracelet
When the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LN was introduced, it received a notable bracelet upgrade that features completely solid links paired with a redesigned clasp that includes the brand’s sophisticated Glidelock extension system. Unlike most other dive watch clasps on the market, Rolex’s Glidelock allows for incremental adjustment of the bracelet length (in 2mm increments up to a total of approximately 20mm), which can be performed on-the-fly and without the use of any tools.
The purpose of the Glidelock extension system is to allow divers to increase the length of their bracelets so that they can be worn over the thick sleeves of wetsuits. Although this feature was originally designed specifically for scuba diving, the incremental adjustment ability of the Glidelock clasp also serves as a convenient way to either expand or contract your bracelet length as your wrist fluctuates in size throughout the day due to humidity and hydration levels.
Despite the fact that most people do not dive with their Rolex Submariner watches, the Glidelock extension system is a highly functional addition and a major point of consideration when buyers are trying to decide between different generations of Rolex’s iconic dive watch. Due to its versatile size and expertly-designed bracelet, the Submariner 116610LN fits nicely on most wrist sizes and is a luxury sports watch that can be worn all day, every day without ever becoming uncomfortable or feeling unbalanced on the wrist.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN Movement
The Rolex Submariner 116610LN is powered by the brand’s self-winding Caliber 3135 movement. Like other modern Rolex movements, the Cal. 3135 is designed and built entirely in-house by Rolex and is designed for precision and reliability above all else.
First introduced during the late 1980s and still in use today, the Rolex Caliber 3135 is widely considered to be one of the best mass-produced mechanical movements ever created, and the updated version of this legendary 31-jewel automatic movement fitted inside the Submariner 116610LN features Rolex’s proprietary blue Parachrom hairspring for superior resistance to magnetic fields, shocks, and temperature fluctuations.
The Caliber 3135 movement also features an automatically changing calendar feature, which is displayed under the Cyclops magnification lens at 3 o’clock and instantaneously changes over right at midnight. It’s also important to note that the Cal. 3135 is chronometer-certified – a status that is reserved for only the most precise and reliable movements on the market. In short, as long as you properly maintain your Rolex Submariner 116610LN, the proven Caliber 3135 inside it should continue to produce accurate readings for multiple lifetimes of wear and use
Rolex Submariner 116610LN Price
As of September 2020, the Rolex Submariner 116610LN has been discontinued (along with all other Submariner watches from this generation), which means that the secondary market is now the only place where you can purchase this ultra-desirable luxury dive watch. Although the retail price for the Submariner 116610LN was $8,550 when it was still in production, there was no actual way to purchase one without spending a decent amount of time on a rather lengthy waiting list. Consequently, even before it was discontinued, the actual price of the reference 116610LN on the pre-0wned market was higher than its brand-new retail price, simply due to a large number of people willing to pay a premium to skip the line.
However, in the time that the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LN was discontinued, open market prices for the watch have increased significantly – as is often the case when a highly-desirable Rolex model becomes no longer available at a retail level. On average, you can now expect to pay anywhere between $10k and $12k for a Rolex Submariner 116610LN on the pre-owned market, which still represents an excellent deal for a modern version of one of the most iconic luxury watches of all time.