Rolex Submariner Nicknames

When it comes to diver’s watches, the first one that comes to mind is the Rolex Submariner. Widely considered as the most iconic dive watch, the Submariner has only been gently revised over the years, staying true to the timeless design launched in 1954.

While keeping its design DNA, the Submariner has also evolved into many different versions. With its rare dials and colorful bezels, it has become more than just a tool watch, but a paragon of style. Along with those different identities came a whole slew of nicknames — not official Rolex terminology, but still widely used by Rolex fans.

 

Here’s a guide on every Rolex Submariner nickname and how it came about:

 

Sub Vintage

 

Rolex Submariner ‘James Bond’ 6538 & Rolex Submariner ‘Milsub’ 5513 (photo: Christies)

 

JAMES BOND

You’ll find James Bond wearing an Omega Seamaster these days, but the very first timepiece he wore was actually a Rolex Submariner. In the inaugural James Bond film, Dr. No (1962) Sean Connery wore a Submariner ref 6538, forever cementing the Submariner as the original watch of 007. This reference is characterized by an oversized winding crown and a case without crown-guards. While later-era Submariners were also worn in James Bond films, the ref 6538 has the distinction of being called the “James Bond” Submariner.

 

MILSUB

The Rolex “Mil-Sub”, a compound of the words “Military” and “Submariner”, refers to watches that were produced for the British Ministry of Defense. Beginning in 1957, Rolex produced four different references that were modified to meet the requirements of the British Armed Forces – the ref 6538 and 6540 in the 195s, and the ref 5513 and 5517 in the 1970s. Mil-Subs feature sword-shaped hands, fully-demarcated bezel inserts, bars between the lugs and dials with circled T markings to denote the use of tritium.

 


 

Sub Vintage

 

Rolex Submariner ‘Bart Simpson’ 5512 (photo: LiveAuctioneers)
& Rolex Submariner ‘Red’ 1680 

 

BART SIMPSON

Rolex “Bart Simpson” Submariner models refer to ref 5512 and 5513 models that were produced for a very short window of time in the 1960s, when Submariners still had “gilt” dials. The nickname comes from the shape and color of the coronet, whose shorter points and golden color bear a resemblance to the hair of the famous Simpsons character.

 


 

Submariner Single Red

 

Rolex Submariner Vintage Black Mark V ‘Red’ Dial Steel Mens Watch 1680

 

RED SUBMARINER

The Rolex ‘Red Submariner’ is one of the most easily recognizable vintage versions of the Submariner. This version of the ref 1680 features the Submariner name written in red on its dial – the only time that Rolex ever printed the name in red letters. The ref 1680 was produced from 1969 to 1979, but the red text appeared only during the first six years. It looks fantastic with the tropical dial, which makes it even more sought after.

 


 

Kermit

 

Rolex Submariner 50th Anniversary Green Kermit 16610LV & Ceramic Bezel 126610LV

 

KERMIT

In 2003, Rolex celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Submariner in a bold way. For the first time ever, they introduced a bright green aluminum bezel to the stainless steel ref 16610, and also equipped it with a Maxi Dial with more pronounced markers and hands. The new look was polarizing at first, but it has since become one of the most popular Submariner models to collect. The nickname Kermit came from the famous green Muppet character from Sesame Street. It was discontinued in 2010 to make way for the new green Submariner, the Rolex Hulk.

 

CERMIT / STARBUCKS

Fast forward to 2020, Rolex released a new generation of Submariners. For the first time ever, the Submariner now has a 41mm case and also marked the return of the green bezel-black dial colorway first seen on the Kermit. The new version comes with a Cerachrom ceramic bezel and a darker green color. This model is sometimes called the “Cermit” due to more or less being the ceramic version of the Kermit, or the “Starbucks” due to its resemblance to the coffeehouse chain’s logo.

 


 

Hulk

 

Rolex Submariner Green Bezel Dial Hulk 116610LV & Diamond Sapphire Serti Dial 16613

 

HULK

In 2010, Rolex introduced a new green Submariner to replace the Kermit – this time with a green ceramic bezel and a matching sunburst dial, and an updated case with thicker lugs and crown guards. With its beefier look, it quickly earned the name “Hulk” among Rolex fans. Just like the Marvel superhero, it is a larger, bolder and all-green version of the Submariner.

 

SULTAN

Gem-setting is a serious business in Rolex, and even its sports watches are set with precious gems including diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Sport models with gems are collectively known as “Serti” dials (from the French word “sertissage” which means “setting”), but the Serti Submariner is also sometimes called “The Sultan”. Embellished with diamonds and sapphires on the dial, it is indeed fit for royalty.

 


 

Bluesy

 

Rolex Submariner Blue Dial Steel Yellow Gold Mens Watch 16613 / 116613

 

BLUESY

While nicknames like James Bond, Kermit, or Hulk refer to a particular Submariner reference, the name “Bluesy” applies to all steel and gold Submariners with a blue dial and bezel. There are currently four references that are called by this nickname (16803, 16613, 116613LB, and 126613LB) and it applies to both aluminum and ceramic bezel versions.

 

Smurf

 

Rolex Submariner Smurf White Gold Blue Dial Bezel Watch 116619

 

SMURF

In 2008, as part of the brand’s 100th year celebration, Rolex introduced a completely brand new Submariner: the first to come in solid 18k white gold. Its unique grey-gold finish was paired with an all-blue Cerachrom bezel and lacquered blue dial, earning it the nickname “Smurf” after the cartoon character. As silly as the nickname may be, the Smurf is one of the most expensive modern references of the Submariner, due to its rare all-white gold finish. This model was discontinued in 2020 and replaced by a 41mm version.

 


 

Submariner Blue

 

Rolex Submariner White Gold Blue Bezel Black Dial Watch 126619LB (photo: Rolex)

 

COOKIE MONSTER

In 2020, Rolex introduced a 41mm version of the all-white gold Submariner, this time with a blue bezel and black dial pairing. Aside from the new dial color, it also has a more slender case, as with all of the new generation Submariners. This model has received a number of different nicknames – but Cookie Monster has proved to be the most popular.

 


 

These alternative monikers certainly add to the enjoyment of Rolex collecting. Explore our collection of Rolex watches at SwissWatchExpo.com

 

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