The Iconic 1957 Rolex Submariner: A Complete Guide

Discover the History, Design, and Value of this Legendary Diving Watch ⌚

Dear watch enthusiasts and collectors, welcome to our comprehensive guide to the legendary 1957 Rolex Submariner. As one of the most iconic and coveted diving watches of all time, the Submariner has been a symbol of luxury, precision, and adventure for over six decades. Whether you are a seasoned collector, a Rolex newbie, or simply a fan of timeless design and cutting-edge technology, this article is for you.

The Submariner: A Brief Introduction

Rolex launched the Submariner in 1953, as a response to the growing popularity of recreational scuba diving and the need for reliable and durable diving watches. Designed by the legendary Swiss watchmaker Rene-Paul Jeanneret, the Submariner quickly became the go-to timepiece for professional divers, military personnel, and exploration pioneers such as Jacques Cousteau.

The 1957 Submariner is considered by many as the definitive version of the watch for several reasons. First, it introduced the iconic Mercedes hands and the large crown-guard, which became signature features of the Submariner. Second, it was the first Submariner that offered water resistance up to 200 meters (660 feet), making it one of the most reliable and robust diving watches of its time. Finally, it featured the legendary caliber 1030 movement, which set new standards of accuracy and durability for automatic watches.

The Design of the 1957 Submariner

The design of the 1957 Submariner is a perfect blend of form and function, combining elegance, legibility, and durability in a single watch. The case is made of stainless steel, with a diameter of 38mm and a thickness of 13mm, making it a medium-sized watch that fits comfortably on most wrists. The bezel is unidirectional, with engraved minutes markers that allow divers to time their underwater activities accurately. The dial is black, with luminous markers and hands that ensure excellent legibility in any lighting conditions. The date window is located at 3 o’clock and features a Cyclops lens that magnifies the date for easy reading. The bracelet is also made of stainless steel and features a flip-lock clasp that adds extra security and comfort to the watch.

The Value of the 1957 Submariner

The 1957 Submariner is one of the most valuable and sought-after vintage Rolex watches, with prices that can reach up to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on its condition, rarity, and provenance. As a general rule, the earlier and more original the watch is, the more valuable it becomes. However, other factors such as the presence of box and papers, the configuration of the bracelet, and the history of the watch can also affect its value. If you want to own a piece of Rolex and diving history, the 1957 Submariner is undoubtedly an excellent choice, provided that you can afford it.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of the 1957 Submariner

Like any other watch, the 1957 Submariner has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore them in detail:


  • The timeless and iconic design that looks great with any outfit and in any setting
  • The robust and reliable construction that can withstand any environmental challenge and last for generations
  • The precise and accurate caliber 1030 movement that requires little maintenance and keeps excellent time
  • The historical significance and collectible value that make it a wise investment for watch enthusiasts and collectors


  • The relatively small size compared to modern diving watches, which might not appeal to some wearers
  • The lack of modern features such as a ceramic bezel, a sapphire crystal, or a quick-setting date function
  • The high price tag that puts it out of reach for most people and makes it a prime target for counterfeiters
  • The need for regular maintenance and service to keep it in top shape, especially if it is a vintage watch

The Complete Specifications of the 1957 Submariner

Model Ref. 5513
Year 1957
Case material Stainless steel
Case diameter 38mm
Case thickness 13mm
Bezel Unidirectional, rotating
Bezel material Aluminum
Dial color Black
Dial markers Luminous
Hands Mercedes, luminous
Crystal Plexiglass
Water resistance 200 meters (660 feet)
Movement Automatic, caliber 1030
Power reserve 48 hours
Bracelet Stainless steel Oyster, flip-lock clasp

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes the 1957 Submariner so special?

A: The 1957 Submariner introduced several signature features of the Submariner, such as the Mercedes hands, the large crown-guard, and the water resistance up to 200 meters. It also featured the acclaimed caliber 1030 movement and set new standards of precision and reliability for diving watches.

Q: How do I know if a 1957 Submariner is genuine or fake?

A: There are several ways to tell if a 1957 Submariner is authentic. These include checking the serial number and the reference number on the watch, examining the dial and the bezel for signs of wear and aging, and verifying the movement and the bracelet. However, the best way to ensure the authenticity of a vintage Rolex watch is to buy it from a reputable dealer or auction house.

Q: Is the 1957 Submariner a good investment?

A: Yes, the 1957 Submariner is an excellent investment for several reasons. First, it is a highly collectible and sought-after vintage Rolex watch, with prices that have been steadily rising over the years. Second, it has a robust and reliable construction that can last for generations, provided that it is properly maintained and serviced. Third, it has a timeless and iconic design that never goes out of style and looks great with any outfit and occasion.

Q: Can I wear the 1957 Submariner for diving?

A: While the 1957 Submariner was designed as a professional diving watch and can withstand depths of up to 200 meters, it might not be suitable for modern diving activities that involve extreme conditions and technical equipment. Nevertheless, it is still a highly functional and reliable watch for recreational diving and other water-related activities.

Q: What is the price range of a 1957 Submariner?

A: The price of a 1957 Submariner can vary widely depending on its condition, rarity, and provenance. As a general rule, the price can range from a few tens of thousands of dollars for a well-worn and refurbished watch to several hundred thousand dollars for a pristine and original example with box and papers. The best way to determine the value of a 1957 Submariner is to consult with a reputable dealer or auction house.

Q: Can I service my 1957 Submariner at a Rolex service center?

A: Yes, you can service your 1957 Submariner at a Rolex service center or an authorized dealer, provided that you have the proper documentation and proof of ownership. However, since the 1957 Submariner is a vintage watch, the service center might not have all the spare parts and tools necessary to repair it. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a vintage Rolex specialist before sending your watch for service.

Q: How can I care for my 1957 Submariner?

A: To care for your 1957 Submariner, you should avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, magnetic fields, and shocks. You should also avoid wearing it while doing heavy manual work or engaging in sports that might damage the watch. You should clean it regularly with a soft cloth and mild soap, and store it in a dry and secure place when not in use. Finally, you should service it regularly by a professional watchmaker to ensure that it remains in top condition.

Q: Can I customize my 1957 Submariner?

A: While it is possible to customize your 1957 Submariner, it is not advisable to do so, as it might affect the value and authenticity of the watch. Rolex watches are known for their timeless and iconic designs, and any modifications or alterations might detract from their beauty and collectible appeal. If you want to personalize your watch, you can choose from a wide range of straps and bracelets that complement its style.

Q: What is the significance of the Mercedes hands on the Submariner?

A: The Mercedes hands on the Submariner are named after the Mercedes-Benz logo, which features a three-pronged star. The hands are designed to provide maximum legibility underwater, as the hour hand and the minute hand have different lengths and shapes that prevent confusion and enable quick reading. The second hand features a luminous dot that ensures easy tracking of the time.

Q: What is the significance of the Cyclops lens on the date window?

A: The Cyclops lens on the date window is a patented feature of Rolex watches that magnifies the date by 2.5 times, making it easier to read. The Cyclops lens was first introduced in 1954, and it quickly became a signature feature of Rolex watches, as it improved their functionality and legibility. The Cyclops lens is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and is fitted on top of the date window.

Q: Can I buy a 1957 Submariner online?

A: Yes, you can buy a 1957 Submariner online, but you should be careful to choose a reputable dealer or auction house that specializes in vintage Rolex watches. You should also ask for detailed pictures and descriptions of the watch, verify its authenticity and history, and read the seller’s reviews and ratings carefully. If possible, you should also ask for a certificate of authenticity or an appraisal from a third-party expert.

Q: What is the difference between a vintage and a modern Submariner?

A: The main differences between a vintage and a modern Submariner are the design, the materials, and the features. Vintage Submariners have a classic and timeless design that reflects the style and technology of their respective eras, while modern Submariners have a more contemporary and refined design that incorporates the latest materials and features. Vintage Submariners are usually made of stainless steel, while modern Submariners can also feature gold, platinum, and other precious metals. Finally, vintage Submariners do not have the same advanced features as modern Submariners, such as a ceramic bezel, anti-reflective coating, and a triplock crown.

Q: What is the most valuable vintage Rolex Submariner?

A: The most valuable vintage Rolex Submariner is the Ref. 6538, also known as the “James Bond” Submariner. This watch was worn by Sean Connery in the 1962 movie “Dr. No” and became an instant icon of style and adventure. The Ref. 6538 features a big crown, a black dial, and a rotating bezel, and is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Other valuable vintage Rolex Submariners include the Ref. 6200, the Ref. 5512, and the Ref. 5513.

Q: Why do Rolex watches hold their value so well?

A: Rolex watches hold their value so well because of several factors. First, they are made of high-quality materials and feature precise and reliable movements that can last for generations. Second, they have a timeless and iconic design that never goes out of style and appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Third, they have a strong brand reputation and heritage that conveys luxury, sophistication, and exclusivity. Finally, they are relatively rare and hard to obtain, especially in good condition, which creates a high demand among collectors and enthusiasts.

Conclusion: Own a Piece of History and Luxury

As we have seen, the 1957 Rolex Submariner is much more than just a watch; it is a symbol of adventure, sophistication, and craftsmanship that has stood the test of time. Whether you are a seasoned collector, a passionate diver, or simply a watch lover, owning a 1957 Submariner is a privilege and a pleasure that you will never forget. So why not start your journey today and choose the Submariner that suits your style and budget? You won’t regret it.

Closing Note:

Thank you for reading our guide to the 1957 Rolex Submariner. We hope that you have found it informative, interesting, and enjoyable. Please note that the information and opinions presented in this article are based on our research and experience, and should not be taken as professional advice or guidance. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to contact us. Finally, please remember to handle vintage watches with care and respect, as they are rare and precious artifacts that deserve our attention and appreciation.