"Chicks dig dial variations"

-Unknown source

Ok so,


My Girlfriend thinks I have gone completely mad and I’m late for dinner with her and my mother as I write this. so may be the last thing I ever write…


Whilst hanging out with Anthony from Clockbait we were looking at two Rolex Hulk Submariners from different years of production (both 116610LV). The conversation started when I suggested that I thought the ceramic had become more vibrant and less chalky as the model had progressed, when then realised that the dials were also quite different.


Rolex producing dials with minor variations along the lifespan of one reference is nothing new, however they seem to have gone somewhat undocumented with much differing opinion on what is correct and exists. I can only put this down to the comparative youth of the reference and the fact that they are so popular, that it is hard to get a significant number of them in one room at the same time.


Thankfully this time I did have my macro lens to hand and the differences are as follows.

Currently there isn’t huge amount of disparity in value between the variations, however I’m sure once the piece is discontinued, we will see a change in this, we have already seen a preference for the MK1 Sea-dweller dial over the newer MK2. And with the “Hulk” being as popular as it is, no doubt there will be a number of speculative collectors chasing variations in due course.


Initially we see Rolex stick to a classic serifs font for “Submariner” on the mk1 and 2 dials at six o’clock, however as time has gone on we can see a complete change in font in versions from 2018. Completely scrapping the Serif altogether and progressing with a bold even font which is printed in much thicker lettering than the previous dials, Lets call this the MK3.

116610 lv MK1 "serif dial" 2014, TMO 2019 ©

 It’s through minor alterations to text and placement Rolex seem to fight this battle, I’m unsure of the policies behind these within the Rolex factory but it may be a method for identifying correct parts during service or combating counterfeit production.


Anyhow, on earlier mk1 models we see 1000ft = 300 m below “Submariner”, the way in which these differ from one another is the placement, form and spacing of the text. For example, on this 2014, 116610 LV MK1, the “1” on 1000 is accented, it has a short "f" in ft not overlapping in to the line below or above, and there is a noticeably large space after 300 where m then sits in italics.

On the 2018 mk3 models onward the “1” has no accent, the ft are long, dipping above and below their line, the “=” is in a slanted italic and sits equally spaced between ft and m. Finally the m immediately follows 300 with no extended spacing, but still in italic.


“Superlative chronometer officially certified” on the later mk3 models also follows this bold non serif style, featuring the same layout and spacing but with no serif as on earlier dials.

116610 lv MK3 "Bold dial" 2018, TMO 2019 ©

Additionally, the mk1 and 2 “Rolex” text at 12 o’clock has a long front leg on “R”, it has a wide “O” with a thin base to the “L”, the serifs on the “E” are sharper and the “X” has a thin hairline crossing the thicker stem.


116610 lv MK1 "Serif dial" 2014, TMO 2019©

Comparatively later mk3 116610 lv models from 2018 onwards, have a much bolder font with softer serifs and accents, with a narrower “O” and “X” has equally thick stems with no thin hairline.


116610 lv MK3 "Bold dial" 2018, TMO 2019 ©

Finally “swiss made” on the mk1 and 2 dial type has “S” with rounded curves, the first “s” also sits a little further to the left of “swiss” than it perhaps should. The two words also exceed the top of the second markers on both.


116610 lv MK1 "Serif dial" 2014, TMO 2019 ©

“Swiss Made” on the mk3 models have a flat layout and appear squared off at the top of the letters with “flat S’s”. The characters are also wider than on previous dials.


116610 lv MK3 "Bold dial" 2018, TMO 2019 ©

There is another dial variation (MK2) I have come across which appears to be interwoven across a 4 year period from 2010 where the dial nearly matches the earlier MK1, apart from the = between ft and 300 is indented to the left and closer to “ft” and the serif is snubbed or less prominent on "superlative chronometer officially certified".

These variations are by no means limited to the LV or “hulk” models; and seem to appear across the whole Submariner range post 2010. With MK1-3 dial types currently also featured on the Rolex website in on the same submariner page.


116613 lN MK2 "Serif dial" 2013, TMO 2019 ©

remember kids, "chicks dig dial variations".

-Unknown source

Almost certainly I have missed a few things so if you spot something on your own which isn’t mentioned, please get in touch.

Words by Tom Heap

Images by Tom Heap








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