Rolex Anniversary Models Guide

Rolex is known for making small, incremental changes for their watches – evolution, not revolution so to speak. With its timeless design language, The Crown remains the maker of the most collectible timepieces in the market.

Just like everyone else, however, Rolex likes to celebrate anniversaries, and the usually conservative watchmaker makes surprising design choices for these milestones.

The anniversaries of their most iconic pieces – the Submariner, the GMT-Master, and the Daytona to name a few – have given us the most distinctive models, proving that the brand celebrates birthdays in style. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Rolex Anniversary watches:

 

Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ Ref. 16610LV and ‘Starbucks’ Ref 126610LV

 

Rolex Submariner 50th Anniversary ‘Kermit’ 116610LV (2003)

We begin the list with one of Rolex’s most recognizable inventions – the Rolex Submariner “Kermit.” This model was launched in 2003 to celebrate the half-century existence of the Sub.

The 16610LV looks identical to the Submariner of the time (16610LN) and has the same functional features, but what gives it away is the green aluminum bezel insert. This design change also explains why the watch came with the suffix LV or Lunette Verte, which is French for green bezel.

 

Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ Ref. 116610LV

 

Along with a new bold hue, the watch was also the first Sub to carry a Maxi Dial, characterized by larger hands and indices. This style gave the Kermit a retro and legible look.

The Kermit was discontinued after 7 years, which leaves a finite number to its production. The bright green colorway came back in 2021 with the release of the 126610LV, but the original Kermit will always have a special place in many collectors’ hearts.

 


 

Rolex GMT-Master II 50th Anniversary Green Dial 116718LN (2005)

Next, we have the GMT-Master II 116718LN, released in line with the 50th anniversary of the GMT-Master. Crafted in yellow gold, this watch presented a lot of firsts, both for the collection and Rolex.

It was not just the first GMT-Master to have a dial in the company’s signature color, green, but also the first Rolex to include the “Super Case” design, featuring thicker and more angular proportions.

 

Rolex GMT-Master II Yellow Gold Green Dial Mens Watch Ref. 116718

 

Moreover, the 116718LN was the first Rolex to sport a bezel made of Cerachrom – the brand’s proprietary ceramic material, best-known for its unmatched scratch-resistance.

 


 

Rolex Explorer II 40th Anniversary Orange Hand 216570 (2011)

For the Explorer’s 40th anniversary in 2011, Rolex released an entirely new generation of the spelunker’s watch. Rather than opting for the usual green rendition, they went back to the watch’s roots and added an orange-colored 24-hour hand – an ode to the inaugural Ref. 1655 “Freccione” model introduced in 1971.

 

Rolex Explorer II 42 Black Dial Orange Hand Steel Watch Ref. 216570

 

Just like the previous editions, the watch is offered in black or white dials, but with modern tweaks. These include a larger 42mm steel case, a high-performing Caliber 1187 movement, and a Maxi Dial with Chromalight, which is Rolex’s ultra-bright blue lume.

The Explorer II received an update in 2021 with the ref 226570, which brought about very subtle changes. Rolex shifted the proportions of the case and bracelet to bring better visual balance and equipped the watch with the new in-house Caliber 3285.

 


 

Rolex Daytona 50th Anniversary 116506 (2013)

2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Daytona and many anticipated a Cerachrom bezel version for the commemorative model. Fans did get it in the Ref. 116506, only it came with a surprising twist – a luxe 950L platinum construction.

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116506 (photo: Rolex)

 

Boasting a sleek look, the watch’s bezel comes in a dark chestnut brown color made of a single block of ceramic, with silver markings all over its surface. The striking ice-blue dial serves as a backdrop to the lacquered brown sub-dials, a color which Rolex uses exclusively for its platinum watches. Inside, it runs on the in-house Caliber 4130 movement developed by Rolex.

 


 

Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary (2016)

The grandfather of all Rolex watches, the Day-Date or “President” turned 60 in 2016. For this occasion, the brand released a regal and ultra-modern 40mm Day-Date, instead of the traditional 36mm that fans have known for years.

 

Rolex President Day-Date 40 Green Dial White Gold Watch Ref. 228239

 

Available in 18k white gold and Everose gold configurations, this model features an olive green sunburst dial, a contemporary take on Rolex‘s green dials. Faceted and raised Roman numerals and baton indices, plus a sharp fluted bezel in matching gold gives the watch a modern look.

 


 

These Anniversary models not only represent the vital milestones in Rolex’s history, but also show the brand’s willingness to experiment. Explore our selection of RolexAnniversary watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.

 

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