Posts Tagged ‘ Scuba diving ’

Rolex Submariner: A History

Throughout the world in the 1950’s was a huge demand for diving watches. Scuba diving was becoming increasingly more popular and so too were it’s accompanying watches. Divers needed an accurate way of measuring how fast they were coming back to the surface and decompressing. DCI (decompression illness) was something they wanted to avoid at all costs.

By the year 1954 there were three models of the Rolex Submariner were for sale. These first versions did not show the depth on the dial like they do today. In the Rolex catalog it stated that two of the three were waterproof up to 200 meters or 660 feet and the other was 100 meters or 330 feet.

Also, these early models did not have the word “Submariner” written on the dial. Another lacking feature was the crown guards. The crown was exposed on these early models. The bezel was similar to today’s Submariner in that it is marked in 5 minute increments.

The name Submariner was not used for the watch until the 1960’s. There were many other names being considered such as Frogman, Skin Diver, or Dive-O-Graph but in the end Submariner won the battle.

Rolex kept making improvements to the Submariner. The luminous marking on the second hand was now towards the middle of the hand rather than at the end. Also the infamous Mercedes hands were invented where the hour hand seems to have a Mercedes symbol.

In the mid 1950’s one minute markers were introduced on the bezel between the first 15 minutes on the countdown.

Crown guards were also adopted around this time. The models before the crown guards were considered James Bond models because they appeared in the first four James Bond movies.

In 1966 Rolex added a date feature to the dial on the Submariner. Also, the word Submariner was written in red instead of white until 1974.

There were many contracts for the Submariner to be sold to different armies around the world. These watches came came with a cloth strap rather than a metal one.

By the 1980’s Rolex had installed a safety feature on the bezel. Previously the bezel could rotate in either direction, but Rolex realized it might rotate clockwise while underwater and make the diver climb to the surface faster. Now it can only rotate counter-clockwise.

Also in the 1980’s Rolex upgraded to a scratch resistant sapphire crystal.

Some of the weirdest watches ever produced were the Deep Sea Specials. These watches were enormous and created to show the waterproofing concept of screw-down crowns and gaskets. The Trieste model set a world record diving 3155 meters, which is over 10,000 feet. Years later it set another record going 11,000 meters or 35,798 feet.

The Rolex Submariner stands as one of Rolex’s most popular watches. It’s classic design is one sought after buy more than just divers. It is a popular watch that only seems to find more demand with every year passed.
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