Rolex fans know that the Submariner is the brand’s most iconic watch. The Rolex Submariner epitomizes everything that the brand represents: quality and performance. Rolex watches have some of the best watches around and that includes the Rolex Kermit watch, which is simply the Submariner’s 50th anniversary edition watch. There’s a lot about this watch that’s worthy of attention and speculation, so we’ve created a guide to help you learn anything and everything about Rolex Kermit watch.
Rolex Submariner history
Although Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex has been creating luxury watches since 1905, they didn’t start diving into dive watches until the 1950s. There was a growing market for dive watches during that time, as recreational diving became a more popular sport. Before the 50s, serious diving was something that only military personnel took part in—skillful soldiers that were trained for specific missions, some of which included various underwater pursuits.
In 1926, long before the 50s, Rolex had already manufactured a waterproof watch: the Oyster. The company was always ahead of its time, but the waterproof capability of the Oyster was limited. What people needed in the 50s was a watch they could take diving. The story goes that René-Paul Jeanneret, a member of Rolex’s Board of Directors at the time, was becoming passionate with recreational diving. In collaboration with his oceanographer friend, Jacques-Yves Costeau, Jeanneret came up with plenty of ideas regarding the potential a diver’s watch could have and what they should really be like. Jeannearet’s idea was to come up with a sports watch that’s still elegant enough to be called a Rolex. In addition to benefitting Jeanneret’s diving hobby, an elegant sports watch also gave Rolex the opportunity to expand its customer base.
Rolex began development on the Submariner in 1953. By the time the watch was ready for testing, Rolex was also ready to push the boundaries even further. They needed a way to market their new water-resistant technology, and they weren’t just going to talk about it. The developed tech was a rather big deal, and Rolex knew they needed to make their announcement just as big. So they set up a publicity stunt that was dangerous as it was ingenious. Famous Swiss physicist, inventor, and explorer August Piccard deep-dived 3,131.8 meters deep into the ocean using a bathyscaphe—the latest Rolex tech strapped on to his wrist. Piccard emerged just fine, and the watch did just as well. By the following year, the Rolex Submariner 6204 debuted at the 1954 Basel Watch Fair.
50th Anniversary Kermit
Even though the Submariner was first introduced to the public in 1954, the people at Rolex consider 1953 as the Submariner’s birth year. It took the company roughly three years to design and build the proper dive watch, and as soon as it was ready, Rolex was ready to put it out as well. To commemorate such an important even in the company’s history, Rolex released the Rolex Submariner 16610LV in 2003. This Submariner was also called the Rolex Kermit, which basically denotes the stunning green color of the bezel.
It should be mentioned that Rolex doesn’t do anything without profound thought. Releasing a 50thanniversary watch is pretty much the superficial event, but there was something more special in the development of the Kermit that only true fans of the brand would know and understand. Up until the release of the Kermit in 2003, no other sports watch in all of Rolex’s production line featured a non-black bezel apart from the GMT-Master series. Except for this series, every single sports Rolex watch had a black bezel. This alone should amplify just how special the Kermit was and the watch it was commemorating—the Submariner. In addition, the move to make a colored bezel could have easily been a statement from the Swiss manufacturer that it was making permanent changes to its production.
It could’ve easily denoted that Rolex was trying to appeal to an even wider customer base. After the release of the Kermit, the use of color on the Rolex Submariner has become more common. The Rolex Submariner 116619LB was dubbed the “Smurf” for its mesmerizing blue dial and bezel, and the Rolex Submariner 116610LV was dubbed the “Hulk” for its green dial and bezel. All of these might have even been a way to attract a younger demographic, which sometimes worked but also didn’t. The commemoration was a beautiful idea and a great marketing move for Rolex. However, there were a lot of people that weren’t happy with the creation of the Kermit watch. The Rolex Kermit was released to replace the Submariner 16610, which was considered to be the best and most popular Sub in modern history. There were people that believed the addition of the green color ruined the overall aesthetic of the Submariner. It got bad enough that naysayers started calling the Kermit by a different name—Vomit Sub.
Being the incredible company that it is, Rolex can really do whatever they want and get away with it. As this article states, Rolex puts their focus more on evolution rather than revolution. When dealing with the Kermit naysayers, they simply did what they thought was best—ignore and move on. So of all the colors in the wheel, why did Rolex choose green?
Since the beginning of the company, Rolex has used green to represent their company in many ways. The Rolex logo and typeface is green. The company also uses green in many parts of its packaging including hangtags and boxes. At this point it’s obvious why Rolex chose green as the first color they would add on the iconic Submariner watch. While this may be the case, no one really knows the story behind why Rolex used green in its branding to begin with. A theory suggests that it’s because of the idea that green symbolizes money—and therefore symbolizes success, luxury, and all else that come along with that. For all we know, green might’ve just been the favorite color of Rolex founders Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. To add green onto the Submariner allowed Rolex to stay true to its bones and beginnings while moving forward at the same time. It’s a brilliant dynamic of production—something that only a company such as Rolex could pull off.
Rolex wouldn’t release an entirely new watch without putting up a few upgrades. The Kermit is actually more than just its green bezel; it’s a fresh take on an already established watch. It’s Rolex telling everyone that after 50 years, it’s time to give the watch another glance. The standards of the Kermit are just as high as the original Submariner. Borrowing from 1991’s Yacht Master, the black Maxi dial became a new feature on the Submariner debuting on the Kermit. The indexes on the dial are significantly larger as well as the hands. From a diving perspective, this allows for improved legibility underwater.
The Kermit uses and Oyster case, which lends a slimmer profile altogether at 40mm in diameter. The lugs are tapered, and the overall fit of the watch is comfortable. Compared to later variations on the Sub, the Kermit is noticeably smaller. While this falls largely under preference, the size of the Kermit gives it slightly more elegance than the Hulk, perhaps. It’s the more versatile option because it would look good on any wrist, whereas a bulkier watch like the Hulk would look overbearing on a smaller wrist.
The Oyster case is measured at 13mm in height. You can easily slide this watch under your sleeve and cuff with no problems. The Oyster bracelet’s links are made with hollow and corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel. To add a little bit of weight to the watch, the end links on the bracelet are made with solid stainless steel. The bracelet also uses an Oysterlock clasp.
Since it’s release, the Kermit has had several variations as well. These variations distinguish subtle changes on the FAT 4/FLAT 4 Bezel’s fonts. They are mostly unrecognizable unless you purposefully look. These are the little quirks that make Rolex watches so special for collectors. With a 50-hour power reserve, the Kermit is an incredible timepiece. The Calibre 3135 automatic movement beats at a 28,800vph frequency. But the most important feature of the watch is its waterproof qualities. The Kermit can go into depths of up to 300m or 1,000 ft. It’s an impressive feat in engineering on Rolex’s part, but the fact that the watch is a stylish as ever means that the company has stayed true to its vision so many decades ago when the though of a diving watch first became an idea.
Price and Availability
When it was first launched in 2003, the Rolex Submariner Kermit retailed for around $5,000 USD. For a special edition Rolex, it was an unbelievable deal. When production ceased 7 years later in 2010, the price of the Kermit stayed relatively the same. In the last 5 years, the market has changed for the Kermit, and it has started to see some significant appreciation. It could be relative to the resurgence of the Rolex brand in various pop culture and media channels.
If you want to get your hands on a legitimate Submariner Kermit today, you’ll need to spend quite a bit of money. A non-FLAT 4 piece might cost you an upwards of $15,000 depending on condition. If you want one of the original anniversary pieces from 2003, you’ll need to do a bit of research and set aside even more money. The little quirks we mentioned earlier could mean the difference of spending $15k or spending $30,000 on a watch. Although that may be the case, the biggest determinant of a Kermit’s price will still be its condition. A pre-owned Rolex Submariner Kermit can still cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 if it’s in good condition and have the original tags and box. In 2019, Sotheby’s sold an original 2003 FLAT 4 Rolex Kermit F Serial for $22,500. The watch was in original condition, but the bezel had faded from the original green into a more olive color.
Many fans of the Kermit are wondering if the watch is considered to be a collectible. The answer to that is yes. The Kermit has been considered a collectible even though it hasn’t even been around for 20 years. There are several reasons why the Kermit’s value has gone up in recent years.
First off, it was a limited edition production. Production on the Kermit only lasted for 7 years, an incredibly short time in the watchmaking industry. This means that they’re more difficult to find because they’re in limited numbers. Next, the Kermit is a special 50th anniversary watch of one of the brand’s most iconic models. Rolex has had anniversary models before the Kermit, and they all have shows collectible status over the years. The Kermit is bound to follow the same path, as it had already begun. The Kermit also happens to be the last non super-case Submariner. All Submariners that followed after the Kermit utilize the Maxi case, which has a larger and bulkier appeal. Last but not the least, the “Kermit” designation is something that Rolex didn’t create. Rolex has always referred to their watches by their reference numbers. Watch collectors were the ones that nicknamed this particular Submariner as the Kermit. Anytime watch collectors designate a nickname for a particular timepiece, it often means that the watch is something special.
The value of the Kermit—regardless of variation—will only rise year after year. If you are looking to invest in one or simply collect one, there’s truly no better time than now. When you do find a Rolex Kermit you want to purchase, make sure you are buying from a reliable seller and check all the boxes before you do.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker