The Rolex Submariner Date reference 116610LV, aka “Hulk,” is the Rolex Submariner we all know and love (there are always dissenters, I imagine) but with a green ceramic bezel and green dial. It commands a price premium over the more traditional black ceramic bezel and matching black dial “classic” Rolex Submariner 116610LN reference model and further exists in the interesting pantheon of green Rolex watches that have often been released as special anniversary pieces for the brand.
As is the case with many timepieces that I eventually end up being very fond of, the green-dialed Rolex Submariner was not a timepiece I was immediately enamored with when it was first debuted in 2010. It was hardly that I didn’t like it – especially as I am pretty sure green is my favorite color – but rather that I was a bit ambivalent towards it. I believe my thinking at the time was that the black-dialed Submariner was so good, it was going to be tough to convince consumers to get green instead of black, or to ask them to pony up and buy both. I also want to note that while the green “Hulk” Rolex Submariner 116610LV isn’t a limited edition, it’s not the type of watch Rolex will make forever. Its popularity has kept it in production, but Rolex could quietly stop making it at any time without notice or reason.
Over the years, I’ve admired the green Submariner from afar seeing it on fellow watch lovers, celebrities, and even hearing some people criticize it. Someone whose taste I admire even called it “uncool.” Mind you, at the time, this person was wearing a Rolex (a vintage Daytona on a bund-style cuff strap) so they weren’t exactly hostile to the brand. I believe their reasoning was that in their opinion wearing the green-dialed Rolex Submariner 116610LV came across to him as though someone was “trying too hard.” Trying too hard to what? Well, perhaps stand out or be unique.
I agree that if that is why you purchase this watch, or any watch for that matter, then it isn’t cool. I do, however, disagree that the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV isn’t a cool watch – it just depends on how you wear it. First of all, green is obviously a key color for Rolex, given that it is the brand’s primary trademark hue. What I like, however, is that Rolex likes to play with various shades of green. That means the various green Rolex watches out there, from Daytona watches to Presidents, have different shades and finishes of green. I personally think that if I were sufficiently funded I would very much like to have a collection of as many different green-dialed Rolex watches as I could get my hands on.
Another justification for me in adding the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV Date to my collection is that I already had another similar modern Rolex Submariner watch in black. However, this wasn’t the Submariner Date but rather the Rolex Submariner “No Date” reference 114060 which has a beautiful symmetrical dial. Thus, I didn’t have a Rolex Submariner Date in my collection, so adding the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV didn’t feel too redundant.
I speak about this because it is important for collectors to think about not only the wearing versatility of any particular watch they want to add to their collection, but also about the overall versatility of their collection, having watches for various occasions, not having too much redundancy. For example, if you have too many steel dress watches that are mostly the same, then you are bound to wear some of them more than others. That leaves some watches very lonely – and that just isn’t fair to those watches… right?
This is really not the time for me to once again review the Rolex Submariner watch in general. We’ve done that a number of times in useful articles that I’ll point out to you such as the Rolex Submariner 114060 I previously mentioned and an overall review of the Rolex Submariner 116610 here. We also compared the Rolex Submariner to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay watch here. Right now, I’ll focus on this green bezel and dial Rolex Submariner 116610LV reference model and what is important to say about it specifically.
With that said, I should of course remind you of some key reasons why Rolex Submariner watches are so popular to begin with. For me it is less about its long heritage going back to 1953, and more about how Rolex has nurtured a beautiful, elegant, timeless, masculine, and sporty design into a modern watch as it has continually improved it.
While the Rolex Submariner has always been a good watch, it wasn’t until the 1990s, in my opinion, that Rolex started to hyper-focus on using modern technology and production techniques to inject as much meticulous detailing into the watch as possible. The use of 904L steel which polishes up better than 316L in certain ways along with extremely tight component tolerances lends themselves to a look that no other watch brand has been able to really replicate.
That’s sort of funny if you think about it because the Rolex Submariner is among the most copied watches in the world. Nevertheless, I’ve never worn anything that feels the same as an authentic Rolex Submariner on the wrist, nor that has the same visual impact, especially the brushed finishing on the bracelet and the pristine detailing of the dial. At 40mm wide, it is the smallest sport watch I will wear.
When Rolex introduced the current generation of Rolex Submariner watches with broader lugs and the “Maxi Dial” face I finally decided to try them out in earnest. It isn’t just the case itself with its brilliantly-refined proportions that make the size look good, but also the fact that the bracelet tapers – allowing for greater wearing comfort as well as a visual increase in the perceived mass of the case.
Water resistant to 300 meters (as if anyone doesn’t know the Rolex Submariner’s iconic water resistance rating) the Rolex Submariner makes the perfect daily sport watch with its relatively thick case and classy look that can actually become formal when necessary. In black, the Rolex Submariner has the versatility of a black tuxedo (James Bond does sporty stuff in a tux), but what about in green?
The beauty of the green Submariner is that it isn’t as stylistically versatile as the black model. That means while the green color doesn’t work everywhere (such as with a tuxedo), when it does work it looks incredible. Moreover, in our culture green has a range of useful symbolism varying from the color of nature to the color of money. Thus, when you can pull off the green color, it just makes you smile to see the unique color (for a classic watch, that is) mixed with an incredibly iconic look.
That isn’t to say that all green watches work well. What works well with the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV is a very interesting formula. For me, that formula begins with something classic, generally accepted, and timeless. In other words, the “core look” of the Rolex Submariner. Then, once you have a design people know about and generally like, you can make things interesting by tweaking just one element. That tweak here is changing black to green… and voilà. What you have as a result is just a little bit of controversy in something that is otherwise not controversial.
This concept is so important for me to convey that I want to mention it again. A very successful formula for good design is to take something that is generally accepted and admired and giving it just a slight amount of controversy. Too much controversy and you alienate pretty much anyone who is even remotely conservative. Make something too conservative and you alienate everyone who wants a timepiece that says something about themselves as an individual. You see, that is the operative concept there – being able to communicate something about yourself
As much as I love wearing a black Rolex Submariner, it doesn’t tell anyone who knows about watches anything about me. It just says I like sport watches and have enough disposable income to afford a luxury product. It doesn’t really say what makes me unique. A downside of wearing many Rolex watches, and especially the most popular ones, is that they force you to blend in. Alternatively, if you want to communicate something more distinctive about yourself but don’t want to make it too “out there,” then consider what I said earlier about getting something otherwise conservative, but with a controversial twist to it. In this case, that controversy is the color green.
Prior to the Rolex Submariner 116610LV there was the previous “50th Anniversary” (of the Rolex Submariner) reference 16610LV that had the same black dial but with a green bezel. Debuted in 2003, the bezel of the Rolex Submariner 16610 series was an aluminum insert, which by contrast feels cheap and primitive to the Cerachrom ceramic bezels used on Rolex Submariner models today. Understand that making a black ceramic bezel is easier than green because black as a color is more stable. Colors such as green tend to be far less consistent in the ceramic baking process. This is why you actually see relatively few ceramic colors, and mostly black or white. Darker colors are much easier to get done well, but tones such as blue, red, orange, yellow, pink, or green are either uncommon or wholly unavailable because they end up looking like crap.
I don’t know all the details of the chemical formula Rolex uses to get the green color in the Cerachrom bezel, but it is still the only green ceramic they make. You’ll notice of course that black ceramic bezels easily outnumber the other colors Rolex produces. With that said, I believe that Rolex probably makes more “colorful” ceramic bezels than anyone else out there. The rich green bezel is only slightly pale (a reality with ceramic) but otherwise is the rotating diver’s bezel you know and love on a Rolex Submariner – just green.
Interestingly enough, Rolex does not match the bezel color exactly with the tone of green they use on the dial. Not everyone likes this, but I have grown to appreciate it. Whereas the green bezel is polished but still a bit matte, the dial of the Rolex Submariner 116610LV is more metallic green. In some lights the bezel and dial match, and in other lights the two colors are distinct shades of green. Personally, I like the variety and how the watch plays with the light. I appreciate how sometimes the colors appear to fluidly blend together and how at other times there are distinct shades of green.
Moreover, the lighter color of the dial (as opposed to black) actually seems to aid in appreciating the finer details of the Submariner dial such as the beautifully crafted applied hour markers and hands (which are in 18k white gold) with their applied luminous material. Unlike my “No Date” Rolex Submariner, this one has a date window at 3 o’clock along with the corresponding “cyclops” magnifier lens as part of the sapphire crystal. Yes, another controversial element on Rolex watches, I am utterly unperturbed by the magnifier lens’ presence, even if I don’t check the date all the time. When I do, however, I love how the date size is much larger visually thanks to the magnification. It really is a system that works well, and I’ve never seen anyone do it as well as Rolex.
I have yet to broach the question of how well the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV works on a variety of straps. Those creative minds out there that like to play “strap dress up” with their watches no doubt have come up with clever pairings for the Rolex Submariner 116610LV watch. I, however, have a major problem taking my bracelet off the Rolex Submariner because the two go together so well. Not only visually, but the Rolex Submariner bracelet is easily one of the, if not the single best, top luxury watch bracelets in production, and it would be too easy to miss.
I will once again extoll the virtues of GlideLock, which is Rolex’s particular micro-adjust system in the bracelet that allows you to micro-adjust the bracelet for precision comfort or when you just want it to be a bit looser or tighter. Further, this serves as the wet-suit extension, and you have the opportunity to open up the bracelet enough to fit it over a wet or dive suit (should you need to).
Inside this and other Rolex Submariner watches with the date is the in-house-made Rolex caliber 3135 automatic movement. Operating at 4Hz with about 42 hours of power reserve these movements are now covered by Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer certification, which is an in-house testing process plus third-party COSC Chronometer certification. That means Rolex warrants accuracy of about 2 seconds per day, which is far superior to even COSC Chronometer certification. While COSC Chronometer certifications are still useful given that they are performed by an outside third-party, they offer inferior testing ranges and standards compared to Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer rating… which is also something called the “Green Seal.”
I’ll thank Bob’s Watches in Southern California for this particular green Rolex Submariner watch as I acquired it from them. Rolex watches are interesting in that for many people getting a pre-owned one is uniquely pleasurable as compared to getting a new one. Not only will you save some money (surprisingly little for steel Rolex sport watches given how well they hold value), but you get to know that someone before you bought the watch for a celebratory purpose, and now you get to inherit some of that joy.
Watches are celebration items. People almost always get nice watches in order to celebrate something – whether they are thinking about it or not. I know I am that way, and so having something that has already been chosen by someone at a happy moment in their lives means a lot to me. Of course, you need to ensure the quality and condition of a pre-owned watch is appropriate, but that is part of the service that the better pre-owned Rolex dealers such as Bob’s Watches offer. OK, that’s the end of the plug for my friends there, but honestly, I wouldn’t even pay attention to them if they weren’t the type of place I would feel more than comfortable doing business with myself.
When I see a Rolex Submariner watch on wrist out in the real world, I know the wearer likes nice things but is also probably down-to-earth. What is funny about the Rolex Submariner is that for all the luxury branding of Rolex and its price, it just doesn’t feel pretentious. With that said, the standard black models are also like a Mercedes E Class car – totally nice and totally practical, but rather generic in their message about the owner. With the Rolex Submariner 116610LV Hulk on someone’s wrist, I get a much more vivid look into their personality.
They had to know about the Submariner, look at the black model, then look at the green model, then actually be OK with not having the black model, and then actually choose the green model (and pay the premium). That means people who wear the green Rolex Submariner 116610LV have some added personality traits I can guess about just by looking at what is on their wrist – and I think they like sending out those extra, albeit subtle messages. Price for the Rolex Submariner Date reference 116610LV is $9,050, which is a $500 premium over the black-colored 116610 that costs $8,550. rolex.com
>Model: Submariner Date ref. 116610LV
>Size: 40mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone seeking an iconic watch, but one that has a unique personality that says something about the wearer’s taste.
>Best characteristic of watch: Distinct aesthetic combined with Rolex brand identity and quality.
>Worst characteristic of watch: You probably won’t love it if you don’t like the color green, or may be bothered by the fact that green bezel doesn’t match the green on the dial.