Gerard is the ‘instigator’ of the 52Mondayz feature, but we all thought it was a good idea to chime in. Besides the fact that it makes this a bit more personal and versatile, you also get to learn more about what we wear and why we wear it. So the first contribution from my hand will be about my Rolex Submariner with reference 116610.
Rolex Submariner 116610LN
Although the Rolex Submariner needs very little introduction, here’s a recap of the history of this watch. This model was first launched in 1953, and this iconic diver has seen minimal change over the years. When comparing the current Submariner to the first models, you can clearly see the DNA of this watch. Over the years, it became more robust, and newer materials like ceramics replaced the fading bezels. Today’s Rolex Submariner will probably look the same in 50 years, unlike the vintage models that grew their unique patina over time.
So apart from small changes, the Submariner has only evolved into a better version of itself since 1953. Saying it straight forward, the current Submariner is simply one of the best divers in the market. The only downside is that its nearly impossible to buy one. And in all honesty, that is a massive downside. In my book, a watch should never be unavailable at an authorized dealer, while they seem to be stocked up elsewhere, brand new and at a much higher price. Luckily I pulled the trigger on one a few years ago when prices were still reasonable.
Through the years, I’ve had quite a few Submariners. My first Swiss-made mechanical watch was a 1966 Sub no-date with reference 5513. With this watch, my watch adventure took off over 20 years ago. Several models followed, probably making the Submariner my most worn watch in the first decade of this century. This is also one of the reasons why I picked this watch for my first 52Mondayz contribution. In the end, another, somewhat hilarious reason will be mentioned as well.
At the time of the launch of the 116610 back in 2010, I wasn’t even enthusiastic about the newer, bulkier version of the Submariner. While the case diameter remained 40mm, the lugs got a lot bigger for the first time in the history of the Submariner. On the other hand, it featured the maxi dial with the larger hour markers. Somehow these more prominent markers make the dial better balanced. These were first seen on the 16610LV anniversary edition.
So at first, I didn’t even consider buying this watch. Yet over time, I had the opportunity to wear a few, and I slowly got used to them. During an event in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, I gave my Daytona to a friend and got his Submariner 116610 in return (thanks Ramses) to wear for a couple of weeks. Being able to wear this watch for a few weeks, taught me to appreciate it to the full extent. Over time I’ve learned that this Rolex Submariner is the most comfortable diver and one of the few watches that I can wear 24/7. Partially due to the micro-adjustable bracelet. This gives you all the flexibility you need, and it simply works brilliantly.
Iconic or fun
In the end, this watch is amongst my all-time favorites, and, together with the various Omega Speedmasters that I own, it gets the most wrist time. For me, a watch has to be either iconic or fun. Where iconic means the design is good enough to withstand time, the category fun can have various meanings. Thinking about it, I remember going to Baselworld with a Casio DB610 database watch from the 1980s, getting more enthusiastic comments than ever. The Submariner fits perfectly in the first category, iconic. The design is just spot-on.
Despite the bulkier case, the Rolex Submariner 116610LN didn’t increase in size. With its 40mm case, it has the perfect size in my book. One downside of a metal bracelet is that it can be too tight or loose at moments. With the micro-adjustment mechanism in the clasp, the Oyster bracelet is comfortable under all circumstances. The rounded parts of the folding clasp only add to the comfort. Combine that with a smooth functioning fliplock, and you’ve found the perfect metal bracelet. Both functional and straightforward in design, the Oyster bracelet is one of the best around.
The 116610 as the Only Watch?
The Rolex Submariner Date 116610 could easily be my only watch. Could. Yes, you read that correctly. No matter how perfect it is, I like change. And it’s not the only iconic diver. But it’s a damn good one for sure. If I would have to narrow my watch collection down to only a few watches, the Submariner would probably make it to the finals. Just not sure if it would win from one of his predecessors, the Submariner, with reference 1680. Where the current Submariner 116610 is amongst the best in comfort, I would probably choose the vintage one.
Aware of the fact that I am slowly making it a confusing writeup. Yes, it’s fantastic, and no, it could not be my only watch. Why? Because I can’t think about having just one watch. No matter how fantastic one is. Even with the old bracelet, which is considered too flimsy by some, the 1970s Submariner was already excellent. That was just before it was upgraded with a sapphire crystal around 1980 and that rehaut engraving, which was added in 2007 if I remember correctly — probably making it one of the purest versions of the Submariner. With a matte dial and those large ‘Tipp-ex’ hour markers as I like to call them.
For a moment, I thought it was lost. This is the second reason why I chose this watch. For obvious reasons, I don’t keep watches at home. So I have a safe deposit box at ‘De Nederlandse Kluis.’ Yet on a rare occasion, I left it at home. Having to leave quickly shoving the Submariner 116610 in a place out of sight. Weeks later, I realized that I had not seen it for some time and wondered where it was. Only to find it again after 3 (!) months. As you can imagine, it brought the biggest smile to my face. And it spent considerable time on my wrist after being reunited. Where I mostly wear Speedmasters nowadays, the Rolex Submariner 116610 made a great change. Especially after disappearing for some time.