Rolex Submariner LV vs. LN

The Rolex Submariner undoubtedly represents an horological pinnacle. Built in 1953, but making its official debut at the Basel Fair in 1954, it boasted design input from the likes of legendary diver and oceanic explorer Jacques Cousteau. It has gone through several iterations during its uninterrupted 70-year production run. Precious metals and proprietary materials such as Rolesor (steel and yellow gold) and Cerachrom (fade- and scratch-proof coloured ceramic) have helped the Submariner assert its inimitable personality. Yet its design fundamentals remain intact. A status symbol though it may be, it has never compromised functionality. Its combination of utility and luxury make it the watch of choice for serious sportsmen and pop-culture icons alike.

Several standout features reinforce its diving-tool credentials. Among these is the waterproof Oyster case, a 1926 invention by Rolex which allows the hermetic fastening of the crown, bezel and case against the middle case; the unidirectional, 60-minute-graduated rotating bezel which helps divers avoid the underestimation of immersion time; and the luminous markers, initially radium-based, later tritium, followed by Luminova, Super-Luminova and finally the proprietary Chromalight.

When Rolex introduced a green aluminium bezel on its ref. 16610LV — the 50th anniversary edition Submariner affectionately dubbed ‘Kermit’ — it was an instant smash. Subsequent green-accented pieces in the Submariner range have also been highly coveted. Consider, for example, the whopping margin between the discontinued references 116610LN and 116610LV. Both are equipped with a Ceracrhom bezel and a Maxi dial, yet the 116610LN tends to sell around €11,800, while the green bezel / green dial ‘Hulk’ 116600LV tends to go for €20,000.

References 126610LN and 126610LV, released in 2020, featured the slightly extended but more elegantly profiled 41 mm case. The 126610LN could be had for €14,300, while the green bezel / black dial ‘Starbucks’ 126610LV  tended to sell around €16,600 —  a difference that is rather modest.

In 2023 Rolex discontinued the ‘Starbucks’ and rolled out a 126610LV Mk2, whose bezel is a lighter shade of green reminiscent of the 50th anniversary ‘Kermit’; it retails for €15,700. The new 126610LN, meanwhile, sells for €13,700.

Given the longevity and status of the Submariner range, it appears that a window has just opened, one that will be brief. Grabbing a ‘Starbucks’ 126610LV MK1 now would be a very smart move indeed.