Buying Guides

Price Guide: How Much Is a Rolex Submariner?

The Submariner is not only one of Rolex’s oldest Oyster Professional models but also one of its most coveted. Born as a tool watch for SCUBA divers in 1953, the Submariner has evolved over the decades into a luxury sports watch with immense popularity that goes well beyond the original niche audience. It’s no secret that Rolex is an aspirational brand, famous for selling expensive watches that people are proud to wear.

So, how much is a Rolex Submariner? As with many things, it’s not a clear-cut answer. Yes, there are the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) published by the brand and the Submariner is officially priced somewhere in the middle of Rolex’s current lineup. However, prices can get more complicated when you’re actually ready to buy a Submariner since you have to contend with factors like limited availability at retail and demand-driven prices in the secondary market. What’s more, if you add discontinued pre-owned Submariners and collectible vintage Submariners to the mix, then the price range of a Sub expands dramatically.

Welcome to our comprehensive Rolex Submariner price guide, which includes pricing data about current-production watches, discontinued models, and vintage references.

Reference Retail Price Secondary Market Price
Submariner Date 116618LN $35,750 Starting at $24,995
Submariner Date 116618LB $35,750 Starting at $25,995
Submariner Date 116619 $38,350 Start at $26,995
Price Guide -How Much Is a Rolex Submariner no-date? 114060 Black Dial
The original Rolex Submariner design did not include a date complication.

Current Rolex Submariner Prices as of 2020

In early-2020, Rolex increased the prices of its watches across the board. Even the Submariner collection, which has not welcomed any new models since 2012, underwent a price hike. So how much is the Rolex Submariner in 2020? Below you’ll find a comparison between MSRP of current-production Rolex watches from the Submariner collection and how much you can expect to pay in the secondary market.

Stainless Steel Submariner Prices

Rolex currently manufactures three stainless steel Submariner models: the Submariner ref. 114060, Submariner ref. 116610LN, and Submariner ref. 116610LV. While all of these feature stainless steel 40mm Oyster cases water-resistant to 300 meters, stainless steel Oyster bracelets with the Glidelock diver’s extension clasp, and unidirectional Cerachrom ceramic bezel inserts graduated to 60 minutes, the first is a time-only Submariner while the latter two are Submariner Date models.

As a result, the no-date Submariner ref. 114060 is the most affordable of the trio. The difference between the Submariner Date 116610LN and the 116610LV is the color of the dial and bezel. The LN (Lunette Noir) has a black dial and bezel while the LV (Lunette Verte) has a green dial and bezel, which explains the 116610LV’s “Hulk” nickname. The green Submariner is more expensive than the black one – particularly on the secondary market.

If you look at the comparison between the Submariner retail price and secondary market price, you’ll quickly notice that the prices are higher for pre-owned Submariners. This is because the demand for stainless steel Submariners far outpaces the supply available. The green Submariner “Hulk” is an especially coveted reference and its market value has grown substantially since its debut in 2010.

Rolex Submariner Black Price Guide Ceramic Bezel
The classic stainless steel Rolex Submariner has a black dial and a black bezel.

Gold Submariner Prices

Rolex also makes three versions of the gold Submariner: the Submariner ref. 116618LN, the Submariner ref. 116618LB, and the Submariner ref. 116619. While all of these are all Submariner Date versions with 18k gold 40mm Oyster cases, 18k gold Oyster bracelets, and Cerachrom ceramic bezel inserts with 18k gold-filled markings, the first two references are fashioned from yellow gold while the latter is in white gold. The difference between the Submariner 116618LN and the 116618LB is the color of the dial and bezel. The LN (Lunette Noir) has a black dial and bezel while the LB (Lunette Bleu) has a blue dial and bezel. The white gold Submariner also features a blue dial and Cerachrom bezel insert, however, the shade of blue is brighter, therefore the watch is also known as the “Smurf.”

The color scheme of the dial/bezel of the yellow gold Submariner does not impact the retail price—the blue and black versions are priced the same. However, the white gold Submariner is more expensive than the yellow gold version. It’s worth noting that the ref. 116619 is the first and white gold Submariner ever made only (except for the special edition gem-set versions).

Unlike the steel Submariners, pre-owned gold Submariners are priced less than MSRP. In fact, you can save around $10,000 when buying a used gold Submariner.

Reference Retail Price Secondary Market Price
Submariner Date 116618LN $35,750 Starting at $24,995
Submariner Date 116618LB $35,750 Starting at $25,995
Submariner Date 116619 $38,350 Start at $26,995
 How Much Is a Gold Rolex Submariner Price Guide Black dial yellow gold
Yellow gold Rolex Submariner watches are available with either blue or black dials.

Two-Tone Submariner Prices

In Rolex’s current catalog, there are two two-tone Submariner models: the Submariner ref. 116613LN and the Submariner 116613LB. Officially known as the Yellow Rolesor Submariner (Yellow Rolesor is the name Rolex gives to its watches that combines yellow gold and stainless steel details on one watch), the Sub ref. 116613 watches sports 40mm steel Oyster cases fitted with a yellow gold winding crown and yellow gold knurled bezel ring, an Oyster bracelet with yellow gold center links flanked by stainless steel links, and Cerachrom ceramic bezel inserts with gold-filled graduations.

Yet again, the letters in the reference numbers denote the dial/bezel colorway—LN for the black dial and bezel option and LB for the blue dial and bezel version. The two-tone Submariner with the blue dial and bezel is sometimes referred to as the Rolex “Bluesy.” Both references have identical retail prices and both can be purchased for less in the pre-owned Rolex market.

Reference Retail Price Secondary Market Price
Submariner Date 116613LN $14,100 Starting at $11,495
Submariner Date 116613LB $14,100 Starting at $11,495

The prices of the Rolex Submariner in 2020 follow similar patterns with other Rolex sports watches, which is to say that the stainless steel versions are often valued higher than MSRP in the secondary market. And for a luxury watch reference that is over a decade old but is not a vintage watch yet, that is impressive value retention and speaks to the enduring popularity of modern steel Rolex sports watches.

Prices Guide How Much Is a Two-tone Rolex Submariner? Blue dial steel and gold
Two-tone Rolex Submariner watches are crafted from stainless steel and 18k yellow gold.

Discontinued Rolex Submariner Prices

Some of the least costly Submariner watches that can be purchased in the secondary market are discontinued models that are not old enough to be considered true vintage watches yet. Namely, these are the Submariner Date 1680x and 1661x reference made in the 80s, 90, and 2000s until the introduction of the Cerachrom Sub in the late-2000s. A notable exception to this is the green “Kermit” Submariner, which is a highly collectible reference and typically valued more than twice the black bezel reference.

Reference Material Secondary Market Price
Submariner Date 16800 Stainless Steel Starting at $6,995
Submariner Date 16803 Two-tone steel and gold Starting at $7,595
Submariner Date 16808 Yellow Gold Starting at $19,300
Submariner Date 168000 Stainless Steel Starting at $8,000
Submariner Date 16610 Stainless Steel Starting at $6,995
Submariner Date 16613 Two-tone steel and gold Starting at $8,495
Submariner Date 16618 Yellow Gold Starting at 18,995
No-Date Submariner 14060/14060M Stainless steel Starting at $7,200
Price Guide - How Much Is a Green Rolex Submariner Kermit? 50th anniversary
The Rolex Submariner ‘Kermit’ was released in 2003 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the collection.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Prices

Thanks to their immense desirability among watch collectors, vintage Submariners are some of the priciest Rolex watches in the pre-owned market. It’s not uncommon to find vintage steel Subs valued at multiple times the price of the newest Submariner in full 18k gold.

The most affordable (relatively speaking) vintage Submariners are typically the later versions of the ref. 5513, 5512, and 1680 with matte dials and printed text. But these still normally start in the five-figure range.

Ultra collectible vintage Submariner references—particularly those with uncommon design traits—can command six-figure prices. In 2018, a Submariner ref. 6538 with an “Explorer-style” dial broke the $1 million mark, selling for $1,068,500—the most expensive Rolex Submariner ever sold at auction.

How Much Vintage Rolex Submariner Price Guide James Bond Small Crown
The very first Rolex Submariner watches did not have crown guards and are easily the most expensive models.

Rolex Submariner Price History

Over the decades, this watch has seen a lot of changes and upgrades. However, one of the most shocking changes is the price of the Submariner. A lot of the time, people assume that low prices from decades-past can be chopped up to inflation, but there’s plenty of history that has propelled the Rolex Submariner from a watch that cost a couple of hundred bucks to one that will set you back eight or nine grand for a basic model in stainless steel.

The price history of the Rolex Submariner starts with its release in the 1950s when you could pick one up for a cool $150. Even when taking inflation into account, that works out to only around $1,434 – still quite “cheap” for a luxury timepiece in today’s market. Over the next two decades, between the 1950s and 1970s, the Submariner gained serious popularity. It was already renowned for its water-resistance, but its highly versatile aesthetics, along with features in major films, like the James Bond series, made this watch more than a dive tool and turned it into a mainstream status symbol.

Yet, by the 1970s there hadn’t been a huge price increase for the Rolex Submariner, despite its tremendous success. For example, the stainless steel Submariner Date was priced at just $230 at the time, which is only about $1,200 today. Even the full solid 18k gold Submariner was selling for $2,000, which would be roughly $11,600 today. But the relatively low prices of this decade are a direct reflection of the downfall of the industry during the Quartz Crisis when lighter and cheaper quartz watches were outselling mechanical watches.

However, by the time the 1980s were ushered in, the industry had mostly regained its footing and repositioned itself in the market. For the first time in a long time, mechanical watches weren’t seen as antiquated technology, but rather a luxury item. Rolex watches had always been seen as high-end items; however, it was during this decade that we saw them fully embrace their luxury status. The price of the Rolex Submariner was pretty much blown out of the water. The 18k gold Submariner that went for a couple of grand in the 1970s was now priced at $10,850 – or $26,859 today, adjusting for inflation. The newly-introduced two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold Rolex Submariner was priced at $2,975 (roughly $7,364 today). Even the standard stainless steel Submariner saw a major price increase, jumping from a couple hundred in the early 1970s to $1,325 just a decade later.

During the 1990s, the prices continued to rise, with the stainless steel Submariner Date jumping to $3,350 in 1996 and then to $6,000 by 2008. Today, the modern version of that same watch (ref. 116610) will cost you some $8,950 – another significant jump in a decade. Even the basic no-date Submariner now costs $7,900.

Steel Submariner Price History (adjusted for inflation)

  • 1950s – $1,440
  • 1970s – $1,570
  • 1980s – $2,950
  • 1990s – $5,608
  • 2000s – $7,340
  • 2020 – $8,950
Prices List How Much Is a Green Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV
The all-green Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’ is one of the most desirable editions of this iconic dive watch.

The Rolex Submariner Price Scale

If you have a budget in mind to buy a Submariner, below you’ll find some solid options divided into various price ranges.

Rolex Submariner for $5,000 to $10,000

The $5,000 to $10,000 range is stocked primarily with steel versions of the world’s favorite dive watch, although you can still find excellent gold examples at the higher end of the scale without too much trouble.

An especially tempting purchase in this price bracket, for a couple of reasons, is the last of the non-Cerachrom bezel series, the steel ref. 16610 date or the ref. 14060 no-date models, introduced in 1988 and 1990, respectively.

Firstly, they can be the least expensive buy-in to the Submariner family; a beautiful, robust watch that gives a lot of bang for the buck. And secondly, take a quick look at some examples of any hardworking Rolex sports model from a generation ago, and you’ll see the sort of time-faded aluminum bezel that has a story to tell—and vintage collectors love a story.

The new ceramic material Rolex has been using in the Submariner’s latest incarnation since 2008, while technically impressive in terms of strength, has been designed to resist fading, robbing modern watches of the chance to develop a unique patina that sets them apart from any other. The versions that precede this series-wide innovation are likely to become highly sought-after future classics.

The Cerachrom Subs themselves, of course, benefit from a number of modernizations that keep them at the forefront of the industry, and you’ll come across plenty of these models too for under $10,000.

For between $5,000 and $10,000, you can expect to come across some stunning examples of the steel Submariner, as well as a healthy number of yellow gold and Rolesor models from the 1980s through to the 2000s. More likely to fluctuate in value due to the ever-changing price of precious metals, they make an eye-catching alternative to the utilitarian original.

As a side note, it is possible to find Subs for less than our $5,000 start point, but if you do, it will be worth your while triple-checking the reputation of the seller.

How Much Is a Rolex Submariner Prices Guide 16610 black tritium dial
Stainless steel Rolex Submariner watches from the previous generation are among the most affordable models available.

Rolex Submariner for $10,000 to $20,000

A move into five-figure territory opens up access to some very special references of the Submariner. The most recent release of the two-tone ref. 116613, crafted from 904L steel and 18k yellow gold from Rolex’s own foundry, can be easily sourced at just over the dime mark.

Available with a blue dial and bezel (LB) or in black (LN), they each successfully tread the line between out and out tool watch and a timepiece versatile enough to wear with just about anything.

If green is your color, the Sub marked its half-century in 2003 with the introduction of the ref. 16610LV with a green aluminum bezel. A shock to the system on its launch, the unorthodox color scheme from the usually straight-laced Swiss has now become an enticing target for collectors. Seven years later, Rolex built on the success of the Kermit, as the 16610LV was quickly labeled, and brought out the Rolex Submariner 116610LV, with a green dial to go alongside the Cerachrom bezel, and earning it the nickname The Hulk. Both watches sit comfortably within the $10k-$20k range.

The step-up in price also brings some of the truly classic vintages within reach, important slices of Rolex history with unrivaled pedigrees.

The ref. 5512 was released in 1958 and enjoyed a 20-year run that sealed the Sub’s reputation as an icon, a status done no harm at all by it appearing on the wrist of Steve McQueen. In 1962, the ref. 5513 joined in, another no date Sub that ran until 1989. Without getting into the fine details over the distinctions between the two, the 5512 and 5513 are, very generally speaking, the same watch, but most 5512s contained COSC rated movements, whereas the 5513 did not.

It is this subtle difference that added extra two lines of text to the 5512’s dial, designating it as a “Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified. As is the way with vintage Rolex collectors, it’s minute details like this, along with seemingly trivial changes to elements such as bracelets, bezel coloring, and even the font used in the wording, that can add huge premiums to the price of a classic watch.

For under $20,000, some excellent versions of these two much-loved pieces are certainly attainable, considered the last of the “pure” Submariners by hardcore fans, before the arrival of the ref. 1680 in 1969 brought the hotly-debated date function and even more dividing Cyclops lens.

How Much Is a Rolex Submariner? Prices Guide 116613 blue steel and gold
Two-Tone Rolex Submariner watches are an excellent option between $10k and $20k.

Rolex Submariner for $20,000 and Beyond

$20,000-plus for a watch is a lot of money in anybody’s language and it buys an awful lot of Submariner.

The two most opulent variations occupy much of the pre-owned market space at the lower end of this price point. The yellow gold Submariner ref. 116618 with a black or blue Cerachrom bezel and the white gold Submariner ref. 116619LB “Smurf” with a blue Cerachrom bezel can be found for between $20k and $30k.

As well as introducing more precious metal options, higher prices tend to open up real curiosities and special editions, going back through the Sub’s illustrious history. Here, you’ll find the kinds of names that are music to the ears of every die-hard vintage Rolex collector. The famous “Single Red” ref. 1680, which was the first Submariner to have that date function. Or the ref. 6536/1, “James Bond” will take you past the $30k mark, depending on condition and countless other tiny details.

Beyond that, there is only really the question of how much you want to spend. It’s not unusual to find Subs breaking the $100k mark, for which you are entitled to something extraordinary—ultra-rare specialist pieces or even one-offs.

As the world’s most famous luxury brand, it’s not hard to imagine that Rolex’s prices will continue to rise over the years… and if the last half-century is anything to go by, it will likely not deter Rolex Submariner buyers.

Rolex Submariner Smurf How Much Price Guide 116619 Blue White Gold
The 18k white gold Rolex Submariner ‘Smurf’ will cost more than $20,000 even on the pre-owned market.

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

  1. I believe the article states they haven’t made a new Submariner Watch since 2010.Do you have a never worn (New) 2010 Rolex Submariner 116613LN with date, black face and dial with gold and stainless band? If so how much?

  2. I have a submariner that was purchased in Europe in 1984/1985. It has a black face and 2 tone Gold and Stainless watch band. In 1990 I had the watch “hands” replaced due to a defect. The Rolex certified jeweler told me the new “hand” were, I believe, 24 karat gold. How do I determine the value of my watch?

    • Rolex now makes the hands and hour markers on all of its watches out of 18k gold (either yellow, white, or Everose gold) – this is done as a means to prevent tarnishing and oxidation on these components. As far as the value of your watch, if you would like to receive a free quote, just fill out the ‘sell your watch’ page on our website and one of our representatives will be in touch shortly with an offer.

    • If you would like to receive a free quote for the value of your watch, just fill out the “Sell Rolex” page on our website and one of our representatives will be in touch shortly with an offer.