Rolex Submariner 16610 vs 116610

Rolex Submariner 16610 vs 116610

The Rolex Submariner is one of the most popular watches of all time; because of its classic style and durability. Since its launch in 1953, the Submariner family has grown into many different designs and colors, but the most versatile one remains the stainless steel and black model.

The latest versions of the steel and black Rolex Submariner are the ref 16610 (produced from 1989 – 2010) and the current model, ref 116610. The two appear very similar and are usually the top choices when choosing a stainless steel Submariner model.

If you’re in the market for a steel Submariner, we’ve explored what sets these two watches apart and which one is best for your preferences.


Submariner Steel Comparison
Rolex Submariner Date 40 Stainless Steel Mens Watch 16610
vs Rolex Submariner 40mm Ceramic Bezel Steel Watch 116610



To the untrained eye, the 16610 and 116610 may just be the same timepiece. Both have a 40mm-sized case, a black dial with lume markers, a Cyclops window over the date and Mercedes hands.


While their case size remains the same, the current 116610 has a much larger appearance. This is because of several design changes that give the impression of a larger case: beefier lugs, larger crown guards that are twice the size of the older model, a wider bezel, and the Maxi Dial.
Rolex’s Maxi Dial design uses bigger markers and deeper lume plots, thereby helping the markers stand out from the rest of the dial and making it more legible.


Submariner Steel Bezel
The two models differ with their bezel material – aluminum vs ceramic



The most notable change between the two models is the material used for the bezel. The ref 16610 makes use of an Aluminum bezel, just like older Submariner models; meanwhile, the ref 116610 introduced the Cerachrom bezel.
The Aluminum bezel has a softer, matte and more toolish look that vintage Rolex fans like, but the disadvantage is that it can still be scratched or dented.
The Cerachrom ceramic bezel was unprecedented, because it is impervious to scratching and fading brought about by UV rays and chemicals. Fashioned from extremely hard ceramic material, it keeps the watch looking like new for longer.



Ref 116610 also introduced the Parachrom Bleu Hairspring to the Caliber 3135 movement used by the 16610. The Caliber 3135 was introduced in 1988 and quickly became one of Rolex’s most reliable movements.


Submariner Steel Bracelet
The ref 16610 has a has the foldover clasp with the safety catch, while the ref 116610 has an Oysterlock clasp with the Glidelock extension.



And finally, their bracelets also differ. The ref 16610 has a bracelet made of standard steel, while the 116610 already makes use of the 904L or Oystersteel. This, together with the solid center links, give the current Submariner a heavier, more solid feel on the wrist.
The ref 116610 is also equipped with the Glidelock feature – the extension system which allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet for up to 5mm without the use of special tools. Perfect for wearing over a dive suit, or for simply loosening it up on a warm day.




The tweaks made on the current ref 116610 are clearly enhancements, especially when it comes to technology. As is often the case, this has an impact on the price of the watch.


Submariner 116610
You can’t go wrong with a Rolex Submariner in your collection.
Pictured here: the Rolex Submariner Ceramic Bezel Steel Watch ref 116610

The ref 116610 can cost up to $3,000 more than the previous model; and since the ref 16610 has been discontinued, it can only be found in the pre-owned market. Both the price and where to source your steel Rolex Submariner will surely come into play when you’re deciding which one to get.

For a more tapered and toolish watch look, we suggest you go for the ref 16610. For a more modern, heftier look, go for the ref 116610. Either way, you will never go wrong with a classic Rolex Submariner.





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