The Submariner was born in 1953 as part of a culmination of creativity and innovation by Rolex designers and engineers. It was one model in a revolutionary line that brought to the market a series of "Tool" watches also known as "Sport" models.
By the early 1950s, Rolex had improved the "Oyster" waterproof case design with a screw-down case back and a twin-lock crown. The Rolex proprietary automatic (self-winding) movement was also updated and was given a new caliber number, the A260. The reliability of the case under water pressure and the accuracy of the time keeping function had come of age for the new model.
The bold dial layout featured a black background accented by gold lettering and larger hour markers with lots of luminous material. To help divers keep track of time, a rotating bezel was also introduced. Thus, the first Submariner was born with the reference number 6204.
Over the coming years, the Rolex Submariner would be adopted as standard equipment by amateur and professional divers alike throughout the world.
Rolex “Small Crown” Submariners 1953-1962
Kenneth Lee Chaffin, US Navy Diver circa 1960s, wore an early Submariner on underwater welding missions.
Excerpts from Rolex Men's Watch Catalog circa 1957
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