Behind the HYPE: How the Rolex Submariner Remains Relevant After Nearly 70 Years

From diving essential to James Bond’s timepiece of choice.

Watches
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The Rolex Submariner is probably the most recognizable watch on the planet thanks, in part, to a core design that has changed little since the late 1950s.

The iconic silhouette of the rugged tool watch has long-since crossed over from watch and diving circles into mainstream consciousness.

The latest installment of Behind the HYPE looks at the enduring popularity of the Rolex Submariner and the many variations that have fueled a thriving collector’s market.

Originally developed to serve the increasingly popular pastime of scuba diving after WWII, Rolex needed to find a way to time dives without using a traditional chronograph, which tended to let in water when activated beneath the surface. Their answer was the rotating bezel found on its earlier Turn-o-Graph model, which could be used underwater without fear of springing a leak.

The Submariner made its big screen debut on the wrist of Sean Connery in the very first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962), when producer Cubby Broccoli is rumoured to have handed Connery the watch off of his own wrist. Bond had always worn a Rolex in the books, as had author Ian Fleming, and the onscreen relationship lasted until the late 1980s, giving the Rolex Submariner a huge role in the longest-running franchise in film history.

Watch the video above as HYPEBEAST looks at the origins of the Submariner and the successful long-game strategy that Rolex has used to keep it relevant. And check out previous instalments of Behind the HYPE featuring among others Grand Theft Auto and the Porsche 911.

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