A key to the Deep

Underwater exploration

The Submariner was originally created specifically for underwater exploration and diving. Over the years, it has proved to be equally at home out of the water and has become the emblematic all-round watch, worn by explorers, athletes, filmmakers, artists and others across all walks of life.

Dimitri Rebikoff


When it first came out of the Rolex workshops, the Submariner was an immediate success with many pioneering deep-sea professionals who were asked to test it for the brand. One of those trailblazers was Dimitri Rebikoff, a French engineer specialized in underwater research, for whom the Submariner quickly became indispensable. In his 1953 report, Rebikoff wrote that the watch had performed outstandingly well in trials: “We are able to confirm that this watch has not only given entire satisfaction in diving conditions which were extremely tough and particularly dangerous for the material used, but that it has proved an indispensable accessory for all diving with independent equipment.”

Submariner evolution

Constantly evolving

Since its creation in 1953, the Submariner has constantly evolved, enhancing its waterproofness, robustness, and functionality. The case was enlarged from 38 to 40 mm in 1959, when it was equipped with a crown guard. On the bezel, graduations were added to mark each minute of the first quarter hour. The bezel itself was given a more pronounced knurling to ensure a better grip with diving gloves. Waterproofness eventually increased to 300 metres (1,000 feet) in 1979 for the Submariner Date and 1989 for the Submariner. These two models were enhanced – respectively in 2008 and 2012 – with a new rotatable bezel equipped with a Cerachrom insert featuring graduations in gold or platinum. Since 2020, the Submariner and Submariner Date feature a 41 mm Oyster case and are equipped with calibre 3230 and calibre 3235 respectively.

Milestones in the evolution

A true divers’ watch, the Submariner paved the way for other Rolex deep-sea diving watches, namely, the Sea-Dweller, the Rolex Deepsea and the Deepsea Challenge.

Submariner Date