Understanding the Rolex Submariner References


The Rolex submariner, one of the most iconic toolwatches ever made. 

First made in 1954 and still present today. Just as we did for the Rolex Datejust we made a questionnaire to ask yourself how to figure out which reference is linked to which watch! In the future we will dive into the details of which MK is which dial but for now we’ll give you the basics to get you started!


Note: This scheme is applicable for watches from the 1960’s up to the early 2000’s. IT does exclude a few early references/ references made for the army for now to keep it simple.

Question 1: Does the watch have a date or not? 


Question 1: NO


Question 2: Does the watch have a  plexiglass or a scratch free sapphire crystal? 

You have one with a plexi crystal:


You either have a 5512 or 5513 in your hands. Does it say ‘ superlative chronometer officially certified on the dial? It is a 5512. If not, a 5513. Congrats you have one of the most iconic watches ever made in your hands! 


It has a sapphire crystal: 

Here is the same question applicable, if it says ‘superlative chronometer officially certified on the dial’ it is a 14060M if not it is a 14060. 


Ps: turn the bezel, you will notice it only turns counter clockwise. On the plexi babies they turn both ways!


Question 1: Yes, she has a date

Good, now ask yourself the same question about the crystal.

If it has a plexi crystal you have a reference 1680 in your hands.


If it has a saphhire crystal, things get a bit more complicated. It will also be waterproof up to 300m instead of 200m as the plexi one did


You will either have a 16800, 168000 or a 16610 in your hands 

The 16800 on the other hand is almost impossible to spot. This thanks to it only being made for 9 months and the only real difference between this reference and its precursor it the type of steel. 


To spot the 16610, I am very sorry to say but these are hard to spot compared to the late 16800’s. They both have the gloss dials with white gold markings. A bit of a curve ball that they threw at us but why change a design that is already perfect! 


It looks like a lot at first sight but I am sure you will quickly see the logical sense of it once you give it a read!


Do not forget to save this for later use!