Rolex has always been a brand that honors subtle evolution. With the brand’s strong design DNA, updates to their timepieces come in the form of small but important changes. Every now and then, however, they throw in a surprise – and that’s exactly what they did with the Rolex Kermit.
Introduced in 2003, the Rolex Kermit was launched to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Submariner. The handsome and conservative dive watch was considered a classic; and the bright green aluminum bezel of the Kermit was a bold, unorthodox move.
What was a polarizing model at the start is now a collector’s favorite – and with the new green ceramic bezel Submariner (126610LV), comes renewed interest in the collection. Here’s a guide to the Rolex Kermit’s variations through the years.
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY ROLEX SUBMARINER “KERMIT”
|Rolex Submariner Flat 4 Green 50th Anniversary Watch 16610LV
The Rolex Submariner “Kermit” Green Bezel 16610LV is most recognized for its bright green bezel, but along with it came another change in the Submariner’s design – the Maxi Dial. It featured larger hour markers and fatter hands than the standard Submariner Date, resulting in increased legibility.
The rest of its construction remained the same as the black bezeled 16610 Submariner, namely its 40mm steel case, caliber 3135 movement, unidirectional rotating bezel, and depth rating of 300m.
The use of the color green wasn’t new to Rolex. It is the signature color of The Crown, and is used in their logo and packaging. The color has also appeared in dials of the Rolex Datejust and Day-Date collections prior to the release of the Kermit.
When the Rolex Kermit was introduced, the Submariner had only been previously available with black and blue bezels, and green was a very unorthodox choice for its classic design. It was met with a lot of criticism at first, but eventually became a highly sought-after model.
Rolex Submariner Kermit 16610LV (photo: Christies)
Features of the Rolex Submariner Kermit
Aside from the obvious bezel color and larger dial of the Kermit, these are other features to take note of:
Bracelet – It comes with a hollow link Oyster bracelet made of 904L stainless steel. The solid end links give more heft to the watch, which is characteristic of older Rolex Submariners. It closes with an Oysterlock clasp and incorporates the Glidelock extension system, which allows for 2mm adjustments for a total extension of 20mm.
Movement – It is powered by Rolex’s workhorse movement, the ever reliable Caliber 3135, which appears in most Rolex date models before 2015. It is COSC-certified as a Superlative Chronometer and offers a 48-hour power reserve. It also powers the quick change date, which allows the wearer to change the date manually without having to adjust the central minute and hour hands past 12.
What’s in a name?
The Kermit’s official name in Rolex literature is Rolex Submariner Date ref 16610 LV. The LV suffix stands for “lunette verte” or with vert meaning green and lunette meaning bezel. Rolex affixes two to four letters after their reference numbers to denote the color of the bezel. These come from French words as it is the official language of Geneva-based Rolex.
The nickname “Kermit”, just like all other nicknames given to Rolex watches, are not official, and are monikers given by the watch collecting community. It’s a great way to refer to watches without having to say its full name, and one that has really stuck with Rolex’s sport watches.
|Rolex Submariner Green 50th Anniversary Watch 16610LV – Pointed vs Flat 4
In typical Rolex fashion, the Kermit underwent several incremental changes throughout its 7-year production. There are as many as nine different versions of it (named Mark I to Mark IX), with different configurations of the bezel, dial, cases, and packaging types. Here’s a simplified guide to different flavors of the Kermit.
1. The Flat 4
The most popular variation of the Kermit is the “Flat 4”, called such because of the different font for the number 4 on the bezel. It has a noticeable flat top, instead of a pointed end. These appear in the first edition or Mark I dials of the Kermit, which are considered the “true” anniversary models.
To make this even more confusing, there are actually two versions of the “Flat 4” bezel. One is the “Serified” version, whose numbers with internal angles have more pronounced serifs or small projections at the end of each stroke. The other is the “Non Serif” version, whose numbers don’t have the projections.
Kermit models with the “Flat 4” sell at a premium, as these can only be found on the earliest generation reference 16610LVs.
Flat 4, Bertolli, and Pointed 4 Bezels
2. The Bertolli
Aside from the bezel fonts, the Rolex Kermit’s bezel colors also evolved. There were five known variations of the Kermit bezel. Four were in racing green colors, while one stood out with its lighter olive green color. This color appears in Flat 4 Mark I dials, so you could say they are both Flat 4 and “Bertolli” Kermit watches.
Why the nickname “Bertolli”? This is presumably after an Italian range of olive oil whose bottle appears in a similar green hue. This particular bezel was only produced for a few months and is the rarer version of the Flat 4 dial.
3. The Pointed 4
While the first two versions of the Kermit came with the Flat 4 font, later versions come with a “Pointed 4”, where the number four’s upper parts meet at a point, creating a triangle.
There are three generations of the Kermit with the pointed 4, which are further classified based on their font thickness and on the shape of the number 5, which had either rounded or squared corners.
If you’re wondering what the difference is among these three Kermit watches, then it is simply a matter of aesthetic. The case, dial, and movements remain the same, except that they have minor differences on their bezels. Since Rolex is widely known for making small, incremental changes to their watches, these are prized by collectors and often sell at a premium.
A Decade Long Break and the Rolex Hulk
The Rolex Kermit (16610LV) was eventually discontinued in 2010 to give way to another green Rolex Submariner – the green dial and bezeled “Hulk” (116610LV). The Rolex Hulk‘s green-on-green color and heftier case size inspired Rolex fans to name it after the Marvel Comics character.
Aside from the matching sunburst dial and bezel, as well as the new shade of green used, the Rolex Hulk differs from the Rolex Kermit in a few ways. First is the Cerachrom ceramic bezel that replaced the aluminum insert of the Kermit. Second is the “Super Case” with heftier lugs which makes the Hulk appear larger on the wrist despite staying 40mm like the Kermit.
Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV beside Rolex Submariner Kermit 126610LV
The bracelet on both the Kermit and the Hulk are both Oyster models, but the Hulk was given a newly designed version. It features more robust solid links, while Rolex retained the machined Oysterlock safety clasp which prevents accidental opening, and the Glidelock extension system. This system is a common characteristic of diver’s watches, as it allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet and put it over a dive suit. The Glidelock allows for an increase of 2mm increments, up to roughly 20mm, without having to use any tools.
The Rolex Hulk was produced from 2010 until 2020. It was discontinued by Rolex to make way for the new generation of Rolex Submariner watches with 41mm cases – a first in the Submariner’s almost seven-decade history.
Kermit II, Cermit or Starbucks?
All the 2020 models are now 41mm, rather than 40mm, and come with a new and improved movement, the Calibre 3235.
When Rolex introduced the new generation of Submariners, they discontinued the all-green colorway of the Hulk, but also brought back the green bezel and black dial of the Kermit.
|2020 Rolex Submariner Green Bezel 126610LV beside Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV
This new version of the Kermit now comes with a Cerachrom ceramic bezel (ref 126610LV). With its green ceramic bezel and black Maxi dial, the new model is actually an intriguing take on both the Kermit and the Hulk, but the colorway leans towards the Kermit.
Many Rolex fans have taken to calling it the “Cermit” or the “Kermit II”, but the name “Starbucks” is also growing in popularity, after the coffeehouse chain’s official colors.
Modern Upgrades to the Kermit II or Starbucks
The new Rolex Submariner Kermit 126610LV, together with the new generation of 41mm Submariners, are equipped with streamlined cases that recall pre-Super Case Submariner models. The lugs flow more closely to the wrist, in contrast to the bulkier feel of the Super Case.
The bracelet, meanwhile, was increased from 20mm to 21mm but despite this, the new Submariner still feels smaller on the wrist. Small changes did indeed make a difference.
Rolex Submariner Green Kermit Cerachrom Mens Watch 126610LV
The movement is where the new Rolex Submariner 41mm brings the most important evolution. Rolex’s long-lasting and reliable Caliber 3135 finally got an upgrade with the 3235 – this time with a Chronergy escapement that gives 15% more efficiency, and an improved accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day. Altogether, these provide a 70-hour power reserve, increased from 48 hours.
The Rolex Kermit’s combination of timeless design and distinctive green bezel makes it a unique classic. Explore our selection of Rolex Kermit watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.
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