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.