Imagine if you exposed a Rolex to gamma rays, the likely outcome would be the Rolex “Hulk” Submariner 116610 LV. It combines the “Super Case”/ “Maxi Dial” of the 2008 Rolex Submariner 116619 (aka “Smurf”) with a green bezel and a green dial. Doesn’t take much imagination to see where the nickname comes from, does it? It’s more than a colour scheme that these two icons share though. Both are renowned for their immense strength and durability. Now, almost a decade later, the Rolex Submariner 116610 LV is still loved by watch and comic book collectors alike. Read on to find out why.
A (Very) Brief History Of The Rolex Submariner
The Rolex Submariner is a watch that needs little introduction. It is an icon. The blueprint for all other mechanical dive watches. Development began in the early 1950’s at the behest of Rolex director Rene P. Jeanneret. He also happened to be an amateur diver. At the time recreational diving was starting to gain in popularity. Jeanneret saw an opportunity to pursue his passion and expand Rolex’s customer base at the same time.
By 1953, Rolex was ready to begin production and testing. But they needed a way to get the word out about the company’s ability to produce water-resistant watches. They came up with an ingenious but somewhat risky publicity stunt. It included Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer, Auguste Piccard. When he took his Bathyscape deep-diving submarine down to a mind-bending depth of 3,131.8 meters, a specially-designed Rolex went with it. The watch emerged from the successful dive completely intact and running fine. Point made.
Following this successful conquest, the Submariner debuted in 1954 at the Basel watch fair. The designs were functional and easy to read, yet also very attractive. These were tool watches that you could wear year-round for all sorts of occasions. Worn on a strong stainless steel bracelet, the design has been continually refined over the ensuing decades.
Truth be told though, the Hulk’s alter ego, Dr Robert Bruce Banner always came across as more of a Rolex Milgauss kind of guy. He was after all a physicist who spent a lot of time in the lab. That said, a standard Submariner wouldn’t seem totally out of place on his wrist. It’s a sober choice, after all.
But the green Cerachrom bezel and sunburst metallic dial of the Submariner 116610 LV aren’t sober touches. They’re incredible.
The Rolex Submariner Ref 116610 LV
Rolex debuted the 116610 LV “Hulk” as the heir to its well-loved 16610 LV fiftieth anniversary model. That watch debuted in 2003 to mark a half-century of the world’s favorite dive watch. Critically, the “Hulk” Rolex broke from the color scheme of its predecessor. That model featured a green bezel in tandem with a black dial. Green is a long-running corporate signature of Rolex. For 2010, the Geneva giant doubled-down with a second helping of verdure.
The green dial is a big drawcard. Rolex described it as “green gold” upon its launch. It features a soleil pattern metallic finish that radiates from the junction of the hands and pulls one’s eyes toward the matching bezel. In direct light, the dial has a three-dimensional effect. It morphs between shades of green as light dances across its gentle sunburst grain pattern.
Like the Hulk himself, the appearance and intensity of this dial are anything but static.
Rolex’s Cerachrom dial continues the metamorphosis from staid Sub to superhero. This marks the first time the company’s proprietary ceramic has been rendered in Rolex green. Colored ceramic bezels still remain a relative rarity for Rolex. The charm of this Submariner “Hulk” remains as pointed today as it was upon debut in 2010.
The benefits of ceramic bezels are notable. Rolex’s Cerachrom never will fade, rub off, or wear-through. Its resistance to scratches and scuffs is as formidable as a sapphire crystal. Only diamond or gamma-enhanced violence can mar Cerachrom.
It’s true Rolex never fails to deliver on durability. But, the other pillar of its reputation is refinement. For example, the Submariner 116610 LV incorporates deposited platinum within the recesses of the indexes and numerals of the ceramic bezel.
The “Hulk” color scheme is unique but the bolder dial details and hulking case proportions actually come from another model. The 2008 Submariner 116619 “Smurf.” A desirable piece no doubt, it doesn’t quite animate the perpetual adolescent mentality that drives luxury sports watch sales.
The 2010 Rolex “Hulk” Submariner is a different story. The standout size and color of this thing speaks to the kid in every grown man.
Rolex deserves credit for a success rate that puts Marvel’s Hulk film adaptations to shame. With the money studios have spent on “Incredible Hulk” reboots, a watch nut could build a collection of grails. In contrast, Rolex hit box office “green” with its first shot.
But the Hulk Rolex Submariner 116610 LV has a sensible side to match its alter ego. There’s a reason why the legendary Rolex Submariner model stands as the most beloved model within the world’s most coveted line of luxury watches. In short, the Sub epitomizes the go-anywhere luxury sports watch.
Durability is a given with any Rolex Submariner. Each of the 116610 Subs features 1,000 feet of water resistance thanks to its bank-vault case. And, when the Hulk Submariner in question is stainless steel, Rolex employs its peerless 904L proprietary steel blend. The latter is cast in Rolex’s own foundry. It will hold a finish far better than the industry-standard 316L stainless steel.
The watch comes on an Oyster bracelet in matching steel. The brushed finishing on the links contrasts with the polished link shoulders. Keeping it in place is a folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system. Crafted from milled steel, it imparts a feel best compared to a solid ingot of metal. The smooth “snick” of the lock’s action is legendary and is indicative of its quality. Its tool-free adjustment permits 20 mm of sizing in 2 mm increments. Slip “The Hulk”Rolex over a wetsuit or winter coat with consummate ease. Short of Bruce Banner-grade wardrobe issues, the Glidelock should provide all the sizing support its owner ever needs.
Within the 116610 generation of Submariners, Rolex’s in-house caliber 3135 keeps the time. Like the Porsche 911 and the Gibson Les Paul, the Rolex 3135 is a classic that only improves with time. The 28,800 VpH movement combines Rolex’s exclusive Parachrom Blue antimagnetic hairspring, free-sprung balance, and full balance bridge to maintain precision in the face of extreme conditions.
More than a tough movement, the Cal. 3135 is timed to COSC chronometer standards twice: firstly at the COSC lab and a secondly at Rolex after being cased. While chronometer-grade watches are not terribly rare, testing for this standard of accuracy after casing is exceptional.
Having found favor on wrists from Hollywood (Sean Connery, Roger Moore) to Whitehall (British Royal Marines), there are few assignments a Rolex Submariner cannot handle. Since the 1980s evolution of Rolex divers into luxury accessories, the rugged Submariner has become a welcome companion among the business elite and keepers of polite company.
And if you happen to alternate between a lab coat and purple shorts, the Sub’s good for that, too…
Technical Specifications: Rolex Submariner “Hulk” Ref 116610 LV
- Case: Oyster – 40 mm – Oystersteel – monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown – unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum – waterproof to 300 metres / 1,000 feet.
- Dial: Green – centre hour, minute and seconds hands – instantaneous date – stop-seconds for precise time setting – Chromalight display with longlasting blue luminescence on hour markers and hands.
- Movement: Calibre 3135 – bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor – paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring – 48-hour power reserve – certified as Superlative Chronometer.
- Price: GBP 6,950 /USD 9,050
More info at www.rolex.com.