There are countless shades of green: fir, grass, moss, emerald, olive, lime… the list goes on. But how can we classify “Rolex green?” There isn’t one specific color code, the brand makes use of a whole range of shades: The olive green found on the Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228236 has become a staple in the luxury world, and the moss green on the up-and-coming Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref. 124300 is known to turn heads. Cosmopolitans are particularly fond of the almost neon green on the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR, while bottle green has found a home on the GMT-Master II ref. 116718LN. The grass green on another heavyweight from the Swiss watchmaker, the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph ref. 116508 (aka the John Mayer Daytona) is also a sight for sore eyes. And finally, there’s the green on the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 116610LV, i.e., the Hulk. This is green at its most spectacular, as the sunburst dial conveys hues from emerald to a green so dark it’s almost black, all depending on how the light hits it. To top it off, a vibrant green bezel frames the dial. As is the case with many watches, the Submariner Hulk has a magic to it that’s not always evident at first glance, but unravels over time. Why is this watch so hotly debated, and does it really have what it takes to become a superstar? How does it perform against the earlier and later editions? And why is it the last watch in my collection that I’d be willing to part with?
Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 116610LV “Hulk”
This timepiece from the sporty Submariner family certainly lives up to its nickname. It is equipped with the caliber 3135, a real powerhouse with a 48-hour power reserve and precision to -2/+2 seconds. And the overall package is that of a star linebacker: robust ceramic bezel, tough platinum-coated graduations, Super-LumiNova dial, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, all hosted by a 40-mm stainless steel super case on a stainless steel Oyster bracelet. With all this to offer, the Sub has rightfully earned its place in the history books. But it definitely dominates in daylight; once dusk hits, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for its black counterpart. The design of the Submariner Hulk leans heavily on that of its ancestor, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 16610LV. The Hulk’s successor, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 126610LV, is almost its mirror image. But in order to truly understand this watch, we need to get to know the before and after.
The Predecessor: Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 16610LV “Kermit”
The Hulk’s older brother, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 16610LV, was launched in 2003 and was the first Rolex diver to don the green garb. The reference was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Rolex Submariner ref. 6200 entering production (although it didn’t hit the shelves until a year later). For true fans, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 16610LV is the real green anniversary watch. Interestingly, the first Submariner to have a date complication, the Submariner Date ref. 1680 wasn’t released until 1966. This means it celebrated its golden anniversary in 2016, the year of the Submariner Hulk.