The history of Rolex Submariner watches

When reading anything about the Rolex Submariner, you will encounter a long list of adjectives, almost always preceded by the word “most”. It can reasonably be described as the most iconic, recognizable, influential, imitative, and important sports watch ever made. Add to that the dubious honor of also being the most imitated, and you have a pretty amazing spread. pant58688-1
Today, just as Rolex itself has transcended the concept of being just a watchmaker and has evolved into the ultimate statement of achievement and luxury, so too has the Submariner moved to a higher level. The fake Rolex Submariner is now just a replica watch in the same way that the Beatles were just a band. Yes, technically speaking, but everything after that has been shaped by it.
The concept of “new vs. old” raises an interesting point. Even for Rolex, a brand known for rarely changing its design over the years, the Submariner is one of the least visually altered models in the company’s history. Almost every basic physical element can be found on the latest model, with only the internal movement having undergone any kind of overhaul. That’s the benefit of getting things right the first time.
Rolex’s relationship with the ocean goes back to before the first Submariner surfaced. The company has been tackling the challenge of water resistance almost since the brand’s inception in the early 20th century, culminating in the famous Oyster case in 1926. This, and the self-winding perpetual calendar movement perfected in 1931, changed the practicality and, more importantly, the image of the watch. The wristwatch could now legitimately be considered a masculine accessory, whereas previously it had been worn only by aristocratic ladies and was mostly regarded as a fragile and inaccurate piece of jewelry.
These two innovations by Rolex made the new breed of wristwatches both robust and easy for men to wear, effectively sounding the death knell of the ubiquitous pocket watch, which for centuries had been the traditional way for gentlemen to tell time. Indeed, these two inventions ahead of their time are still the backbone of the vast majority of the brand’s products today, nearly a century later.