Rolex Submariner 16610LV (Lunette Vert) - The 'true' anniversary Submariner
November 1 2008 at 9:10 AM
John (Login jbp99p) VRF Member from IP address 126.96.36.199
Love it or loathe it, Rolex made it and released it to market in the last quarter of 2003 to celebrate 50 years of the iconic Submariner.
Press kit given to Rolex AD's in conjunction with the 16610LV's launch
Ever since then I have wanted one. I had my name down on a waiting list like many others, watching as the model sold over it's rrp. It remained in relatively short supply until 2006 which is when 'I got the call'.
By then it was accepted the watch was nothing more than a 'regular' model in the Rolex line-up and the hype had subsided, so in the end I chose not to purchase it. However letting it go niggled me and I knew I would eventually have to get one. Recently that itch resurfaced and I set about obtaining one with papers dated in 2003, the true anniversary year.
On investigation of the model it became apparent Rolex distinguished early first models from later counterparts through subtle changes in design. As a collector my desire has always been to find the perfect example. I look for specific letter/serial ranges with papers, an unpolished watch with mint bezel and in this case bezel insert, the significance of which will become clear later.
Just recently I scored big time finding just the watch, a very early 2003 'F' serial, papers dated 13 October 2003, unpolished and still with it's case side stickers intact ! Finding a mint a 2003 issued model wasn't easy, many watches are now being serviced, a lot of cases have already had a short back and sides.
What follows is the result of my research prior to the purchase of my 16610LV, it's not conclusive by any means so feel free to post and add your own thoughts/observations. I have taken in a lot of case images from various posts on the internet without seeking permission first, so please feel free to email me if you recognise a picture of your own and I will credit you for it.
The first models were issued on a 'Y' serial in September 2003 with very early 'F's following in October/December hence only a narrow band of watches exist as true anniversary models. The earliest serial I have come across is Y94XXXX with papers dated 26/09/2003, however there was some speculation that it could have been a regular 16610 with changed dial. Given there were no accompanying images of the model ref; and/or s/n between the lugs I have my doubts over it too. I can confirm however a watch with s/n Y96XXXX to be correct thereby giving a ballpark reference as to when the first watches hit AD's. These will be the collectibles of the future in my opinion¡Kit's only my opinion so don't slate me over it ! It is the opinion of some that there were a very small batch of watches released on a 'Y' serial that utilised the last of the lug hole cases, however I am yet to see one in the flesh, for sale or even an image of one for that matter. If they do in fact exist then they are a even greater rarity than the early lug hole versions that followed. For now I have assumed the former variant not to exist.
N.b. Not all Rolex guarantee papers distinguish the anniversary model from the regular submariner. Some will have 16610LV designated, others 16610V and some simply 16610 (normally early models - 2005). However the anniversray reference number will be found on the green plastic hang tag.
Applying some very crude maths to calculate a start and end date for the true anniversary issues (this is based on documented 'Y' and early 'F' serial watches with dated papers, September ¡V November 2003 respectively) I have predicted it is likely that only watches up to 'F' serial F 11XXXX will have papers dated in 2003. I think of them akin to the 'R' and 'L' serial 16520's with the 'Floating Cosmograph' dial which existed only until early in the 'L' serial run.
What is apparent is that these watches are collectible, with values for recent serials being sustained whilst early models are already commanding much higher prices.
The 16610LV 'Green' Submariner is still produced today yet with speculation that it may be discontinued with the advent of the newly updated bigger cased Submariner. This would give the LV a relatively short production run of 5-6 years but whether this is what Rolex actually do is anyone's guess ! Conversely it could even spawn a mark 9!!!??? The emergence of a recent mark 8, a 16610LV with what I consider to be an older dial (mark 3 & 4) in the case of an 'M' serial may lend credence to the theory that Rolex is using up old dial stocks in it's final watches as they have done with other models ? Truth is no one really knows but the occurrence is a strange one as I highlight...and it's fun to speculate !
I have included a table of the various versions and the order in which I believe they exist based on serial number. Please post if you can help make the ranges more exact either through submission of your own watch or one you that may have owned.
Alternative format ;
Mark 1, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with gap between left and right feet of 'R' in 'Rolex', '5 Ticks', Flat 4 (2003 Issue Models ONLY), From Y966xxx 19 September 2003 To F068XXX November 2003
Mark 1, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with gap between left and right feet of 'R' in 'Rolex', '5 Ticks', Flat 4 (2004 Onwards) From F100000/F110000??? F Serial Late October 2004 To ???????
Mark 2, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with gap between left and right feet of 'R' in 'Rolex', '5 Ticks', Pointed 4, From ??????? To F78XXXX 23 February 2005/F730XXX April 2005/F8XXXXX
Mark 3, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' located under right foot of 'R' in 'Rolex', '3 Ticks', Flat 4, From F Serial To DXXX440 2005
Mark 4, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' located under right foot of 'R 'in 'Rolex', '3 Ticks', Pointed 4, From D090842 July 2005 To D361XXX 2005
Mark 5, Round 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with end of left foot of 'R' in 'Rolex', '3 Ticks', Pointed 4, From D Serial Early December 2005 To ???????
Mark 6, Round 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with end of left foot of 'R' in 'Rolex', 'Between 28 & 32 Mins', Pointed 4, From D358XXX December 2005 To Z261804 22 December 2006
Mark 7, Round 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' aligned with end of left foot of 'R' in 'Rolex', 'Between 28 & 32 Mins', Pointed 4, Serial number On Inner Rehaut, From M Serial August 2008 To ???????
Mark 8, Oval 'O', 'R' in 'Oyster' located under right foot of 'R' in 'Rolex', '3 Ticks', Pointed 4, Serial number On Inner Rehaut, From M08332X Serial 2008 To ???????
Dial font attributes ;
It appears there is a correlation between dial font and layout depending on the 'set' used. By set I make reference to the following possible dial combinations ;
a) If the 'O' in the word 'Rolex' is oval (also referred to as 'squashed' or 'wide mouthed') then the positioning of the text 'Swiss Made' is only seen in either '5 tick' OR '3 tick' dials. If the dial is of a '5 tick' type then the 'R' in the word 'Oyster' will ALWAYS align with the gap between the left and right feet of the 'R' in the word 'Rolex'. If a '3 tick' dial type then the 'R' in the word 'Oyster' will ALWAYS locate under the right foot of the 'R' in the word 'Rolex'.
b) If the 'O' in the word 'Rolex' is of standard font (also referred to as 'normal' or 'round') then the positioning of the text 'Swiss Made' is only seen in either '3 tick' dial OR 'Between 28 and 32 minutes' dials. In both cases the 'R' in the word 'Oyster' will ALWAYS align with the end of the left foot of the 'R' in the word 'Rolex'.
Rolex press picture
Mark 0 - Basel Watch Fair 2003
N.b. Never released to market, model never had lug holes, actual models bear the model ref ; 16610 T between the lugs at 12 O'clock denoting no holes case.
New ('Z' serial) and original ('Y' Serial) 16610LV's together
Additional information regarding dial font and bezel insert differences ;
Credit for the following information goes to *philip*, it comes courtesy of a Rolex magazine publication ;
N.b. The magazine does not feature the existence of the '5 Ticks' and 'Between 28 and 32 mins' positioning of 'Swiss Made'. Unfortunately I was not been able to study the different marks to the same magnification as shown. Again if forum members are willing to post to confirm, your information is most welcome.
Final notes ;
Early models (mark 1 onwards) have the bracelet ref; 93250 stamped on the underside of one of the bracelet links - see bracelet picture below (watch on left). Exactly when this stopped I have not been able to determine, other than that later models to the present day have this reference printed on the clasp instead.
This message has been edited by jbp99p from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Nov 3, 2008 4:49 AM This message has been edited by jbp99p from IP address 184.108.40.206 on Nov 3, 2008 3:32 AM This message has been edited by jbp99p from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Nov 1, 2008 9:45 AM This message has been edited by jbp99p from IP address 18.104.22.168 on Nov 1, 2008 9:22 AM
The LV surely is a watch to be (re)disovered like the Black Out Explo & the green GMT
About the Mark 0 with holes in the lugs, when Françoise R.
has been questioned about it she answered that the watch was not
intended to be produced that way and was presented with slight variations
from definitive production at Basel to mislead fakers. (nb I did not get
that info directly from her)
nice report but as with all these mark 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11...
November 1 2008, 11:31 AM
nomenclature. With these subtle differences in dial features and classifactions, I wonder if collectors will be turned off in finding this model collectable. To be honest the first year LV in all likelihood will be the most sought after as all first release models are.
The Maxi and pre Comex Sub dial became to comical and lost a lot credibility with collectors as a true collectable because of all the different types of "marks". To this day you get 10 different perceptions of what a "Maxi or pre Comex" dial should be.
Already the new GMT is getting a mark 1,2,3,4,5, dial classification to go along with it.
From my dealings with collectors I am not seeing any monetary differences between the LV and Maxi mark 1,2,3,4,5,6 assigned numbers anymore. Although it is important to classify these dials for historical reference, but in reality I feel the monetary differences are not subjected to these mark 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and mark 10 classifications. I myself use the generation classification method.
But excellent report nevertheless. Arthur
This message has been edited by aakviper from IP address 22.214.171.124 on Nov 1, 2008 11:33 AM
However, over the years I've chopped\ changed my mind about various models in the rolex line up but never liked the green clad sub !! I saw one last year in the flesh which permanently settled my view. I just don't get why anyone would want a green sub ???
Thats the beauty of watches though - we're all different in what we like\ dislike & thats what makes it so damn interesting
Hi Henrik.....surprised you are asking me :)....(more)
November 2 2008, 9:09 AM
I'm sure it was your early coverage of the watch when first released that I came across via archive posts when doing my research and stimulated my avid interest in the watch. I think it as cult classic and those early posts were so cool as the first watches appeared.
Back to your question...yes the first watches with mark 1 and 2 dials would appear to have bezel inserts whose green is more olive for a better description than subsequent watches. Tommaso's 'Y' serial below demonstrates this clearly when compared to mark 7 & 8 watches for example.
This message has been edited by jbp99p from IP address 126.96.36.199 on Nov 2, 2008 9:09 AM
a serial number less that F8XXXXX then I predict it will have an oval 'O', '5 Ticks' and 'Pointed 4' ...unless it is an ealier 'F' serial i.e. prior to F2XXXXX then it is likely to have the 'Flat 4' instead. Either way you are picking up a very nice watch. Would be interested to know the result and the date on the papers if present.
Hi Tommaso...beautiful 'Y' serial you have there (more)...
November 2 2008, 8:46 AM
can i ask whether your papers are dated and if so what is the date on them ?
I know what you mean. You are correct in pointing out the dial of the mark 8 is in fact the same dial as found in the mark 4. I introduced the mark 8 however based on the fact that I had never a mark 4 dial in a new case with s/n & RRR on the inner rehaut before. So yes you could view it as a mark 4 or 8.
That's a lot of info you gathered together, thanks for the work.
I had no idea what serial number my LV had and I couldn't even remember when I bought it. All I remembered was that it has the flat 4 on the bezel and different green color also.
Of course I had to check my watch and search for the papers after this read and I found that my LV is actually one of the 2003 models, bought 20. Dezember.
I noticed that you will probably have to adjust the range of F-serial number that fit in the year 2003 as mine has F204xxx!
If you are interested to see picture of the certificate etc. let me know and I will take care of it.
Hi, I've a submariner lv serial number F 707.... dated 04/2005, it look like ''mark2'' (4 pointed) but swiss made is written shortly like ''mark3'' but of course like i said before the 4 is pointed.
Sorry for my english
Someone from the rolexforums (Mike) turned me onto this thread. What Great info! Thanks for creating it John! I hooked my brother up with what was the first SubLV in Cincinnati Ohio from my local AD that I have a strong relationship with. The watch now resides just outside London with my brother, but I had him email me the details. This is all 100% legit because I got the watch from the AD myself and ferried it across the pond. His watch is a Y946XXX serial with no lug holes. The purchase date on the warranty card is 12/22/2003, but my contact at the AD got it in earlier than that and asked if they could keep it to show to customers until I needed it for the trip. I believe they had it at least a few weeks before the warranty card was filled out. I have not received pictures yet to see which dial it has, but will report back when I found out. I thought you would appreciate this info as this seems to be one of the earliest. Feel free to contact me with any further questions.
my LV is out of upper serial range for Mark 6 versions. Sold in Europe in 2007. What do you think about the watch? Btw, never had a black 16610; is there a significant difference in size of the dots?
In January, 2004 I bought a 50th Anniversary Sub watch with the intention of holding it to give to my son when he graduated college. (He had just been born in 2003!)
The papers are dated January 24, 2004 and the serial number is Y946xxx. It came with a metal anchor fob and also a press kit. It has never been worn; never removed the plastic protection sheets from the sides of the case; never wound it, never even put it on my wrist.
It does have the oval "o" in ROLEX Not sure what the 'ticks' thing is all about.
The ticks John mentioned were the ticks found underneath and / or between the "swiss made" words located at the 6 hour-marker of the dial. Hope this helps and congrats for owning a "true" 50th Anniversary 16610LV aka Kermit (or "half" green for the matter since the launch of the "full" green 116610LV)
Hi John, great work on this post. I was fortunate enough to recently acquire an F serial number watch with box papers. I am so glad I was able to acquire a Mark I watch. Thanks again for all your good work and research!
Just for ref, my LV has the mk3 dial (wide O 3 ticks) and the flat four but is dated 16 Sept 13 on the papers. This would suggest that the whole mk1/2/3 was necessarily used one after the other right? You state from F on your write up for the mk3 but I would say this is early 2003 (serial is also early F02....)