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ROLEX BLOG

The Classic Submariner: a Case for the 16610

April 14, 2016

BY Paul Altieri

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A trio of reasons to give the older Sub a second look

Produced from 1988 until 2010, the Rolex Submariner ref. 16610 was the predecessor of the ever popular and most current Submariner, the 116610. With its abundance of improvements and modifications — most notably the Cerachrom ceramic bezel and oversized style — once the new shiny Sub plunged onto the scene it quickly surpassed its older brother as the go-to luxury diving watch. Although the ref. 116610 is a fantastic watch and a welcome addition to any timepiece collection, so is the 16610 in its own right. Here are our top three reasons to give the Rolex 16610 a go.

Rolex Submariner 16610

The Rolex Submariner ref. 16610 was the predecessor of the ever popular and most current Submariner, the 116610.

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Style

The stainless steel case and bracelet, along with the black dial and black bezel with white markings is a design that is so appealing that it has made the Rolex Submariner the most popular luxury diver’s watch of its generation. Similar in many respects, yet fundamentally different where it matters, choosing between the style of the more mature model and the younger one is a matter of personal taste. Although on paper the two siblings are quoted as being the same size at 40mm, in reality, it’s not the case. Thanks to its smaller crown guards and slimmer lugs, it’s not as bulky on the wrist, and thus more graceful and classic than its sportier counterpart. It can also be argued that the dial, with its smaller indexes and hands, is a more refined approach than the contemporary “Maxi” dial. If you lean towards a more elegant aesthetic, even when looking at sports watches, then the 16610 would be a solid choice.

Rolex Submariner 16610

The style of the Rolex Submariner has not changed too drastically from its first model.

Versatility

From 2003 onwards, Rolex took away the holes in the lugs that would allow for easy bracelet and strap switching. So watches dated prior to that year, such as this particular ref. 16610 circa 1989/1990, can sport a diverse range of straps and bracelets for a simple way to change up the watch’s character. The black Italian leather strap seen here on the Submariner is a cool change of pace from the traditional stainless steel bracelet.

Rolex Submariner 16610

From 2003 onwards, Rolex took away the holes in the lugs.

Value

Naturally the older model of the Submariner will have a lower upfront expense than the newer version. In the secondary market of luxury watches, a Submariner 16610 can be picked up for approximately $4,500 – $5,500, while the 116610 sits around the $7,000 mark. But another consideration to keep in mind is the cost of replacing the bezel. Replacing the aluminum bezel insert of the 16610 is significantly more affordable than what it would cost to purchase a ceramic bezel on the more modern models.

Rolex Submariner 16610

A Submariner 16610 can be picked up for approximately $4,500 – $5,500, while the 116610 sits around the $7,000 mark.

So if you’re in the market for a pre-owned Submariner, give the ref. 16610 a consideration. Its classic look, rich heritage, and stylish appeal won’t let you down.

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