16610LV 50th Anniversary Submariner Kermit

At Baselworld 2003 Rolex unveiled the Submariner's 50th anniversary 16610LV timepiece.  The green and black Reference 16610LV is a distant cousin of the all black Reference 16610LN but it has some differences.  The Maxi dial features larger hour markers and larger hands, creating better legibility.  Also the lugs are more tapered than the later cases, making it quite a bit smaller than the more bulkier cases.  But most notably the "Kermit" green bezel helps this timepiece stand out from it's all - black (bezel and dial) sibling. 

The interest in the Kermit is the fact that Rolex discontinued this mixed color Submariner.  On the Rolex site you can see that they have gone to the all black model or the all green (Hulk).  They also have the all blue version 116619LB nicknamed the "Smurf", but the mix Black and Green version is gone.

Most notably is the difference in green between the Hulk and Kermit.  The green color of the Kermit is clearly darker and even appears more matted and less shiny.  Whenever Rolex discontinues a Rolex model, interest soars in the model left behind.  The Kermit already had good interest in it, but now that interest is heightened.  It is unclear whether Rolex will ever release another Kermit model again.

The Kermit 16610LV holds a special place in the hearts of Rolex owners, primarily because the same color green is adopted by Rolex in much of its branding.  The Rolex logo, the tags, the boxes and even the certification documents of authenticity are all the same dark green color.  

The Kermit came out one year earlier than the actual 50 years since the first Rolex Submariner was launched in 1954.  But nobody was complaining.  The Kermit green bezel stands in sharp contrast to the black dial.  The combination made a huge hit for Rolex, and ushered in other colors into the Submariner lineup which had traditionally been only all-black.  

The Green aluminum bezel will age over time on the Kermit, creating a unique look over time.  This is quite different from the Cerachrom bezels engineered to hold its identical look well into the future.

Early versions of the Kermit have no engravings of the repeated "Rolex" around the inner ring of the rehaut.  That didn't start appearing until 2008. 

The Kermit is made with 904L stainless steel, and is made with a standard 40mm diameter.  It has 18ct gold hour luminescent hour markers and hands.  It is water resistant to 1000 feet and features the Rolex Glidelock system on the band with clamshell clasp.  It is powered by the caliber 3135 which has a 48 hour power reserve.  Although many suspect Rolex will upgrade the caliber to a 72 hour power reserve model soon, it hasn't done so yet.  As such, we know that the 3135 is a reliable and dependable timepiece that has literally stood the test of time. 

The Kermit has at least tripled in value - up from its original selling price of $5,000.  Considering the slimmer form factor of the Kermit, collectors will continue to drive the prices up.  The Kermit had a limited 7 years of production, limiting the inventory for collectors to acquire.  If Rolex does not release another Kermit option, this will continue to add fuel to the fire.  

Rolex Pulls Out of Baselworld 2021

Rolex has been the main anchor that has held Baselworld together for many years.  Although Baselworld has been seeing many of its smaller exhibitors head for the doors in recent years, Rolex and many of its counterparts could always be counted on for having mammoth booth spaces. 

Rolex decided to leave along with Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel and Chopard.  They didn't like the January date for the 2021 Baselworld and were not properly consulted when CHF selected the date.  However, the rising booth prices have not helped the situation either.   The Swatch Group left in 2019, leaving a major hole in the exhibit room 1.1.  However, now the hall is decimated.  The remaining exhibit hall is now anchored by Omega, Blancpain, Tissot, Corum, Rado, Jaquet Droz, and Glashiitte. 

The struggling Baselworld has been working on reinvigorating excitement in its event by launching new exhibit areas, and other events during Baselworld. 

So, what happens now?  Baselworld, for Rolex fans, is a dead story.  Certainly management will attempt to make amends and bring Rolex back.  However, it seems Rolex has decided to go all in on the next Geneva event. 

The Corona Virus situation closed Baselworld this year.  And Rolex's decision to launch new watches is usually centered around the Baselworld event.  However, it looks as if Rolex will use Geneva's event to launch its timepieces going forward. 

Although Baselworld didn't help itself by raising prices and having an air of snobbery around the management of its events, social media also has put an end to the need for massive events.  And the Corona Virus put a final dagger into Baselworld this year.  And let's be honest, Rolex is big enough to do their own event centered around just Rolex.  They don't need Baselworld, and haven't needed them for many years. 

Rolex Delays Get Worse in the Coronavirus Age

With the closure of 3 of Rolex main manufacturing facilities on March 17, 2020, production of new Rolex timepieces has come to a screeching halt.  Rolex CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour sent a letter to his employees saying:
“Dear Sirs and Madams. We are facing a very serious situation. In order to protect you, your families, and your loved ones, but also to limit the risks of spreading the Coronavirus as much as possible, we have decided to close our production sites in Geneva, Bienne, and Crissier from March 17 at 5:00 PM through Friday, March 27, 2020. That date may of course be pushed back according to the evolution of the epidemic.”
However, the pandemic has not halted its march across Europe and into America in its ever-Westward expansion.  The coronavirus is putting extreme pressure on a market that was already feeling strained due to massive waiting lists on some of Rolex's most coveted steel timepieces. 

The waiting lists for prized Rolex's started to really hit since 2016 when the Daytonal 116500LN was released at Baselworld.  However, even today, the waiting lists have spread to the GMT-Master II, the Submariner, the Explorer and the Sea-Dweller. 

Many believed that Rolex was cutting supply or creating shortage artificially, but that just simply isn't the case.  Demand for steel sports timepieces from Rolex just surged past what Rolex was able to produce.  Each Rolex timepiece must undergo meticulous handcrafted design and testing.  There are only so many Rolex employees entrusted to craft these works of art. 

It is true that many people have lost their jobs during this pandemic, and that a quarter of all Rolex timepieces are purchased by one of the hardest hit areas of the world - Asia.  You might think that the demand for Rolex would tumble. 

However, the opposite is true.  There really isn't an end in sight to the shutdown of production, of not only Rolex, but of many Swiss retailers.  Individual investors are still shopping online.  And with the stock market tumbling, one of the most sought after treasures is Gold Rolex and other Rolex timepieces that can hold its value and potentially grow it over time.  Quite possibly the reason for the wait list on the stainless steel Rolex lineups is because these timepieces are the lowest priced Rolexes that an investor could make. 

Add to this that the Rolex factories could be  shut down for a quarter of the year - reducing supply by a quarter million units.

Another reason demand has not dipped is the fact that many people are forced to stay home.  Rather than focusing on working, partying, or life in general, they are taking account the things they actually want - Rolex being one of these coveted items that fit almost anyone's bucket list. 

People fully expect that the markets will surge once the virus has passed us by.  In fact the market has surged, on huge government bailout-type monies.  2 Trillion dollars by the US government.  Could some of that money be used to buy a Rolex?  Why not?  Investing in something timeless, and stronger than humanity itself, could have great appeal to investors - even first time investors. 

Will Rolex Announce New Versions in 2020

When Baselworld and nearly every other event worldwide cancelled due to real scares due to the coronavirus pandemic, a question that was on every Rolex collector's mind became, "When is Rolex going to announce its newest models?"

With Rolex itself closing its doors due to fears for the safety of its workers and the outbreak of the pandemic in Switzerland and the surrounding countries such as Italy, Spain and France, it is clearly possible that any and all announcements due to new Rolex timepieces will be delayed.

Normally Baselworld is where all of these announcements are made - in April.  However, it is more than likely the new models will be announced later on - after the pandemic has run its course. 

Rolex removed the references to last year's "New Rolex Timepieces".  This section of the website, exhibited 6 or so of the newest models Rolex announced and released at last year's Baselworld in 2019.  Only recently has this part of the site been removed - probably in preparation for the new 2020 Baselworld event and the newest "New" Rolexes that would be announced. 

There are several options for Rolex.  Clearly Rolex does not need Baselworld to announce and release its latest versions of its timepieces.  It is likely that Rolex would wait for the pandemic to end and then schedule a press conference event of its very own and announce its newest models with tremendous fanfare you would expect.

However, Rolex might also be selective and only announce 1 or 2 models, rather than the entire lineup that they would normally release.  Perhaps they might pick a model like the Submariner or one of its less popular models - the Milgauss or the Air King.  Similarly, Rolex might find these announcements distasteful and just choose to slip these new models into the marketplace without much fanfare at all. 

It is even possible, although many of us anticipating the "new" Rolex lineup would fear this option the most, Rolex could announce that no new Rolex watches would be released in 2020.  Baselworld is scheduled for 2021, and Rolex could whet the appetites of Rolex followers by announcing an amazing array of changes to the Rolex line-up next year.

I'd say that 2020 is probably a wash in terms of a year.  It is over, just as it has just begun.  Although the earth has not stopped spinning, commerce has reduced to a trickle.  It is like a faucet with an incessant drip, drip, drip.  However, the rusty old handle can release a torrent of commerce when the time is right.  Slightly at first, then with the strength of full force.  I'd say that Rolex would continue to manufacture the same 2019 models and schedule the 2020 models to come out in 2021 along with the 2021 models as well - making the 2021 Rolex event to be the epic Rolex announcement year in our lifetimes.

The Rolex Timepieces with the Fastest Rising Prices in 2020

Rolex announced their price hikes for 2020, and it might be surprising to know which Rolex timepieces have received the highest increase since 2019.  As a collector or a potential owner of a Rolex, one of the most important questions you might ask is "What Rolex will be the best investment in the near future?"  We know which Rolexes are flying off the shelves and are difficult to obtain in the market.  Certainly some Daytonas, GMT's and Submariners might fit that description.  If that were all that we needed to consider when looking at buying a new Rolex, this would be a very short article. 

One thing we need to consider is what will Rolex charge for a new Rolex coming out of the retail store.  So, what Rolex is selling Rolexes for is very very important.  This creates a baseline for Rolex prices.  If it were a stock market, this is the trend line that stock prices will often bounce off of.  Prices could go higher and lower, but that trend line has magical magnetism that attracts and moves the price in that direction. 

The Oystersteel DateJust

Unbelievably, the Oystersteel Datejust takes the prize for the biggest price hike of all Rolex timepieces.  Rolex raised the price an unbelievable 10.5 percent.  That is amazing.  Any stock broker would be ecstatic with a 10.5 percent gain.  Certainly waiting from December to January could take a real toll on any Rolex investor. 

Rolex has put a great deal of emphasis on the Datejust in recent years.  It is probably the most iconic of all Rolex timepieces.  Even though the Rolex Submariner, GMT and Daytona get much of the press, the Datejust is widely sold and worn.  The pricepoint comes at a reasonable $6,300.  That is a huge discount from the Gold Daytona coming in at 23,800.  This means new investors looking to own their first Rolex need not look further than the DateJust lineup. 

The Datejust not only has a huge array of dial colors, bezel options, bands, hour markers, and more.  The newest DateJust models even have the new caliber 3235 with the enhanced 70 hour power reserve.  You truly can't go wrong with a classic Datejust.  Even though you could go with Rolesor, or Gold DateJust models, it is the Oystersteel Datejust that takes the ring for the biggest value jump in the past year.

The Oystersteel Submariner

If I had to plunk some money down on a bet for which Rolex has the most value, the Sub would easily be one at the top of my list.  And that is without knowing what Rolex might think.  Clearly James Bond's favorite timepiece (in the Classic era) has quickly become one of the most sought after Rolex timepieces in the world.

However, Rolex is certainly giving the Submariner the love it deserves this year, by raising prices an outstanding 9.6%. 

The Submariner has had quite a bit of tweaks over the years, but hasn't received the new caliber with the higher power reserve yet.  I do expect a new Submariner release in the very near future - perhaps this year. 

However, the Oystersteel Submariner comes in the All Black version, the Green (hulk), and the Blue version.  It is a beautiful timepiece, no matter which color fits your personality most.  Waterproofness to 1000 feet, you can safely dive, swim, and do most water based activities without any fear of damaging this incredible professional timepiece. 

Besides choosing the coloring option, really it comes down to choosing the DATE aperture window with cyclops lens version or the NO-DATE version.  Certainly both options are excellent, but collectors tend to lean towards the no-date version. 

The Day-Date in White Gold

Rolex's third most hiked price goes to the Day-Date in White Gold.  This timepiece rose a cool 9% this year.  Although it looks like a highly coveted Oystersteel model, owners know that they will be wearing greater luxury with the white gold version of this classic Rolex model.  The band is Oystersteel, but the case is Rolesor (both Oystersteel and White Gold).  So, you get the luxury of gold and the durability of steel, while the same silver color gives it a uniform look. 

At 40 mm the Day-Date in White Gold is slightly smaller than the Oystersteel version, giving it a slightly lighter feel. 

Rolex upped the prices on there whole lineup with an average hike of about 7.5%.  However, it helps to know that Rolex is backing up their value with price hikes that help owners grow their investment's value over time. 

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