Rolex SA is one of the most famous luxury wristwatch brands in the world. Rolex–along with its subsidiary Montres Tudor SA–designs, manufacturers, and services wristwatches sold under the Rolex and Tudor brands. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law Alfred Davis in 1905 as Wilsdorf and Davis, the Rolex company name was registered in 1915 and in 1919, the Rolex Watch Company was moved to Geneva, Switzerland–where it has resided ever since. One of the most innovative historical wristwatch manufacturers, Rolex is credited with inventing the first waterproof wristwatch (1926), the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial (1945), the first waterproof wristwatch case (1953), the first wristwatch to show two time zones at once (1954), and the first wristwatch with an automatically changing day and date on the dial (1956) while also being the first watchmaker to earn chronometer certification. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner model is a line of diving watches first introduced to the public in 1954. The classic Submariner is waterproof to a maximum depth of 100-300 meters, features a Triplock system waterproof crown and unidirectional bezel, and has even appeared in a number of James Bond movies, including Dr. No. Below is a list of the most expensive Rolex Submariner timepieces, from one of today’s standard models to a piece owned by the King of Cool.
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5. Rolex Submariner 116619LB – $34,900
One of Rolex’s current Submariner models, the Rolex Submariner 116619LB, is the “archetype of the diver’s watch” that “epitomizes the pioneering link between Rolex and the underwater world.” Guaranteeing reliability and precision down to depths of 300 meters, the 116619LB features a case made of white gold, a blue dial, and perpetual, mechanical, self-winding movement.
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4. Rolex Submariner for Cartier – $100,000
A luxury collector’s piece for timepiece enthusiasts, this Rolex Submariner–made for luxury French jeweler Cartier–was an extremely limited edition run sold exclusively at Cartier’s 5th Avenue location in New York, New York. The wristwatch features a stainless steel circular outline case with notched diver’s bezel and downturned lugs, a black dial, steel and tritium hands, and a magnified date window.
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3. 1964 Oyster Perpetual Submariner – $140,960
In December of last year, this 1964 Oyster Perpetual Submariner broke the record for the world’s most expensive Rolex of its kind, selling at auction for £86,000 (a current $140,960) at Anderson and Garland in Newcastle, England. Featuring an explorer-style dial and black face, this ultra rare steel-cased Submariner timepiece is believed to be one of less than 50 left in the entire world.
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2. Steve McQueen 1967 Rolex Submariner – $234,000
In the 1971 cult classic racing film Le Mans, Steve McQueen–the “King of Cool”–sported a classic 1967 Rolex Submariner that featured automatic movement at its center and a COSC-certified chronometer. Stainless steel and waterproof up to 200 meters, this Submariner was bought by McQueen as part of a deal made for a motorcycle with friend and motorcycle stuntman Bud Ekins and brought in $234,000 at auction in 2009.
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1. Rolex Submariner “Emerald” – $326,800
The world’s most expensive Rolex Submariner timepiece, the Rolex Submariner “Emerald,” is a limited edition model exclusive for the Asian market only. The wristwatch features a round white gold case with shoulders to protect the screw-down Triplock winding crown, a white gold time-lapse rotatable bezel set with 36 baguette-cut emeralds and 11 baguette-cut diamonds, a white gold Oysterlock bracelet set with diamonds, and a black or pave diamond dial with eight emerald hour markers.
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