INTRODUCING: The Rolex Submariner ref. 122610LV – the Ceramic “Kermit”Zach Blass
Green is known to be a special colour for Rolex. In recent eras, to buy a new Rolex sports watch that had any parts fabricated in this particular green you would have to secure a stainless steel Rolex Submariner “Hulk”, yellow gold Rolex GMT-Master II, or yellow gold Rolex Daytona. It is usually quite rare that the “Rolex Green” makes it on to one of their steel sports models, with the Rolex Submariner “Hulk” being one of the most sought-after watches in the world – many leaving their authorised dealers empty-handed with at best a false sense they will climb the waiting list quickly in time.
Prior to the Rolex Submariner “Hulk”, the hot green watch was the Rolex Submariner “Kermit” 16610LV. Introduced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Submariner model, Rolex shocked the world with its bright green aluminum bezel – a nod to their primary brand colour green, used on all of their boxes and paperwork. The Rolex Submariner “Kermit” was discontinued after seven years of production in 2010, ushering in the era of the “Hulk” Submariner (now discontinued). So why are we discussing the Kermit? Because it’s back – larger and tougher than ever.
The new Rolex Submariner, ref. 122610LV
The ref. 122610LV both returns to and departs from the Submariner design we have come to know. While this model, as well as its new siblings, has increased in case diameter by 1mm, the lugs have been scaled down in size – effectively finding a middle ground between older more tapered models and the block-like lugs found on the maxi case of the recent era Submariner and GMT-Master II models. It may be fair to say the millimetre or so lost in the lugs was added to the diameter of the case to create the illusion of a greater taper. The real question is if the lug to lug has increased beyond the 48mm of the prior ceramic models. If not, everyone can take a breather as the extra millimetre in width will not make or break the fit on the wrist.
For this particular reference, the first thing fans and buyers will notice is the return of the green bezel and black dial combo found on the original Kermit. This shade of green, however, is visibly darker than the aluminium green fabricated for the 50th anniversary. In fact it is more in line with the bezel found on the “Hulk”, possibly the exact same part. This departure from the bright green found on the previous generation aluminium has led some to push for the model nickname to be the “Shrek”, which I don’t get, considering the beloved animated movie character is not rendered in a dark green nor is this watch an ogre aesthetically. I am honestly mind-blown that this configuration is available, considering this is not an anniversary year for the brand or model. That being said, I am not complaining either, and would never fault Rolex for making the watch we all know consumers want. Regardless of colour, it remains the gold standard for dive bezels – being highly legible and easy to grip with a wet/sweaty hand, with sweet audible and tactile clicks that convey the sense of luxury and attention to detail.
The solid 904L stainless steel links have the heft and gravitas of precious metals on the wrist. Few other brands can claim they have tamed 904L for manufacture. The links maintain a uniform and utilitarian satin brush with hints of polish on the sides of the links and clasp. This maintains the “tool” aura for what was originally designed to be a professional tool watch. As both an owner of the Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 and a person with a smaller-sized wrist, I can say unequivocally that Glidelock is a game changer when it comes to the comfort and fit of the watch on your wrist. The 20mm of extension found under the clasp, in ten notches 2mm apart, means that after having the bracelet professionally sized, the wearer is able to make adjustments on the fly with ease. Whether to extend the watch over a dive suit, or to pull the bracelet in a few millimetres for colder weather (which will cause your wrist to shrink a bit), the wearer can quickly make adjustments in both directions without a watchmaker – and without the risk of DIY damage to the bracelet and screws.
The dial continues to be a “Maxi Dial”, with larger luminous plots for markers that are filled with the brand’s highly legible blue “Chromalight”. It shares the same black gloss finish from the previous generation as well, but with a keen eye, a subtle cosmetic difference can be noted. Between the Swiss Made notation, you’ll now find the Rolex crown sandwiched in between – signalling the latest generation of movement(s) have now arrived in the Submariner line.
The new Submariner Date models are now outfitted with the latest in Rolex technology. The Calibre 3235 is an in-house manufacture movement made by Rolex, certified as both a Swiss chronometer by COSC and tested again a second time by Rolex to ensure it meets their “Superlative Chronometer” standard of plus or minus 2 seconds. What separates the Caliber 3235 from previous generations is that it features the new Chronergy escapement and Parachrom hairspring. The new escapement is in part why this Submariner has the longest power reserve of any Submariner model: 70 hours.
According to Rolex, “The result of extensive research, the geometry of the new Rolex Chronergy escapement improves the efficiency of this key component by 15 per cent. Almost half of the increased power reserve of calibre 3255 can be ascribed to the escapement itself.” While some may be quick to blame this new movement for the increased case size, this is simply not the case (pun intended?) as this movement can currently be found in the Datejust 36 line as well. A quick search on WatchBase will reveal that this movement is 28.5mm – making it ripe for use in models of various sizes.
While some may try to dismiss Rolex as a mass-produced brand built on hype, let’s be clear: these watches represent the best of factory fabrication in the world – slowly evolved with incremental change to ensure the watches continue to pass their high and rigorous standards.
Many will begin to wonder what will happen to the value of the original Kermit watch, now that a new bigger version with a modernised ceramic bezel and updated movement has been introduced. What this watch does not have: the claim of being first. At the end of the day, the 16610LV has the charm of being the original as well as having the case profile of older models – being true to the classic case design and with a distinct aluminium bezel. As with all steel sports Rolex models, both the old and new Kermit are sure to continue to have high demand and premiums on the secondary grey market.
If you want the new model, start begging and bribing (kidding) your authorised dealer now, because this watch may be unobtanium for quite some time.
Oyster, 41 mm, Oystersteel
Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum
Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system
Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
Waterproof to 300 metres/1000 feet
Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
3235, Manufacture Rolex
-2/+2 sec/day, after casing
Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting
Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers
Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor
Approximately 70 hours
Rolex Submariner ref. 122610LV – the Ceramic “Kermit”