What's It Worth? The Venerable, Ever-Collectible Rolex Submariner

Publish Date

Rolex Submariners have been the mainstay of the watch collections of men of means since the 1970s. First launched in the 1950s, the Rolex Submariner took a few years to catch on — but by the ’80s the Submariner was Rolex’s most popular and enduring design. Millions were manufactured, and this watch has remained the single most popular watch.

Over the years, Rolex made over 300 models, reference numbers and varieties that consider such esoteric details as whether the dial has feet first or meter first; whether the dial was red, white or pink; whether the dial was black or faded to brown; how many lines of writing were on the dial; the color and style of the minute register; even the shape of the crown guards.

When Submariner is written on the dial in red, it is automatically worth at least $7,000, with some going as high as $10,000 to $30,000. Last month, we bought from an Atlanta Jeweler one of the rarest Rolex watches in the world — the so-called “non Submariner” Submariner (upper photo). Less than a hundred were made. It actually was a Submariner, but because of legal action, Submariner doesn’t appear on the dial. All of these were made in the 1950s50.

Does your jeweler know the difference between a $3,000 Rolex and a $100,000 Rolex? We do. Remember — we wrote the book on Rolex.

Depending on the configuration, that Submariner at left can have a value of $3,000 to $30,000.

Rolex Submariners, GMTs, Daytonas, and Explorers prior to 1985 can be worth an extraordinary amount of money. If you need an appointment in St. Petersburg or Tampa, give us a call or email JeffreyPHess@aol.com.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser


download PDF

GIA, Gemological Institute of America Inc IWJG, International Watch and Jewelry Guild NAWCC, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Inc DDC, Diamond Dealers Club New York ISG Global Network