written by @worldofcasaharris
Green, a color that represents nature and rebirth, also is a source of envy among Rolex fans. That verdant shade is associated with one of the most difficult to acquire Rolex Submariners. And right now, the demand for sport Rolexes is at an all-time high. When you add to that the Rolex heritage green accent your luck for scoring one of them just ticked away.
If you’re curious as to how this green demand began, the story starts about 20 years ago. And that green bezel was not exactly an immediate hit. In 2003, Rolex introduced the first ever green bezel Sub ref 16610LV (Caliber 3135 – 40mm), now commonly known as the Kermit. Created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Submariner, the Kermit ultimately became a highly collectable timepiece, particularly after production ceased in 2010.
However, initially colored bezels were reserved only for GMT models like the famous Pepsi and Coke. For many watch collectors, substituting a color for the classic black bezel was just too much of a change in the Submariner line. Some even claimed it ruined the model forever.
Simultaneously, Rolex introduced the Maxi Dial in the Submariner line which offered better legibility, something very important for a dive watch. None of this mattered though. Submariner collectors and aficionados couldn’t move past the green bezel. As a result, some nicknamed it the “Vomit Sub.”
Nevertheless, it was the beginning of green Submariner fandom. The Kermit bezel was made of steel. The iconic and popular Cerachrom discussed below, was not yet developed. As a result, the Kermit bezel would patina with age, giving each piece a unique look. For true vintage Rolex collectors this patina escalates the watch value. This model also is the last Submariner made without the larger and bulkier “super-case”. Of all the “Kermits” manufactured during its seven production years, the Flat 4 version is the most desired with the highest selling premiums. At the time of production, the retail value was around $5,000 to $7,000. This watch now goes for $18,000 or more on the secondary market, depending on condition and accessories.
In 2010, Rolex introduced the ultra-popular and now discontinued “Hulk” Submariner Ref 116610LV (Caliber 3135-40mm). Instead of a black dial with a green bezel, the Hulk is all green with a gorgeous sunburst green dial and the first ever green ceramic bezel (Cerachrom). The unique dial can be considered a green chameleon as its hue changes as the light fluctuates. It is substantially bulkier and larger than its predecessor. For almost a decade, this was the “IT” Submariner people wanted. It was the only Rolex sports model with a green bezel, reflecting the Rolex heritage. Acquiring one meant you were in the elite Rolex class.
Immediately, fans wondered when the Hulk would be discontinued? Would production last seven years like the Kermit or perhaps even less? As it turned out, the Hulk was produced for about 10 years. Although that sounds like a long time, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the tremendous demand. If you were lucky enough to acquire this piece directly through Rolex, it would have set you back around $9,500. If not, it is currently only available on the secondary market for around $21,000.
The latest addition to the green Rolex Submariner family came in 2020 with the introduction of “Cermit” (C for Cerachrom) or “Starbucks” Ref 126610LV (Cal 3235-41mm). This model is actually a combination of the prior two. Rolex returned to the original design with a black dial and the iconic green ceramic bezel. Once again, fans were divided. Some missed the Hulk and were shocked it was discontinued despite the existing waitlist. Others liked the new model better because it gave a nod to the prior anniversary edition. Either way, it remains one of the hardest Submariners to get.
Whether you love or hate green, no Rolex collection is now complete without a signature Submariner. It’s no surprise they gave the honor of the “green crown” to the world’s most recognizable dive watch.
What are your thoughts? Are you green over this trifecta? Which is your favorite? Comment below.