Rolex’s green coronet may just be one of the most recognized logos ever conceived. Likewise, there are specific uses of colors and color combinations that have become eternally linked to Rolex’s luxury wristwatches.
While many have tried to imitate the style of the Swiss watchmaker’s countless historic icons, none have ever achieved the same status.
In this guide, we will be exploring the timeless styles in their most contemporary forms, straight from Rolex’s catalog:
After reading through this page, you’ll be equipped to detect when watches employ original designs and styles versus the instances where they draw direct inspiration from one of Rolex’s tried and true aesthetics.
Iconic Rolex Watch Colors
- Submariner Date Ref. 116613LB (Blue And Gold)
- Submariner Date Ref. 116619LB (Blue Face “Smurf”)
- Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603 (Black And Gold)
- Submariner Ref. 114060LN (Black Face)
- Submariner Date Ref. 116610LV (Green Face “Hulk”)
- Day-Date 40 Ref. 228238 (All Gold)
The frequency with which the Submariner model in its various forms appears on this list of iconic aesthetics speaks to the masterful design introduced back in the ’50s by Rolex, and which remains as prestigious as ever.
The fact that the deviations from the authentic black face have themselves gained prominence as iconic styles only cements the reputation of the Sub as the most influential watch ever produced.
See Bespoke Unit’s Watch Reviews
Submariner Date Ref. 116613LB [Blue And Gold Rolex]
Second only to the original black face variant, the two-tone Submariner in steel and yellow gold offers one of the most recognizable looks of any dive watch. In its most recent presentation, the ref. 116613LB, it does so with the craftsmanship and quality that’s expected of every modern Rolex.
Since its release in the ’80s, the two-tone submariner has offered a more-luxurious option to the standard Submariner or Submariner Date. It does so by upgrading various components from steel to 18K yellow gold. These include the bracelet center links, the bezel, the indices, and the center hands.
The 116613LB, produced since 2009, also boasts a blue ceramic (Cerachrom) bezel which marks a significant improvement on the previous aluminum. The steel and gold itself is also different and improved, though this is not quite as evident.
Some will argue that the black and gold makes for a better look. To that we say: maybe you’re right! If we were talking about the two-tone GMT-Master II (now discontinued).
But there’s something innately right about a blue dial on a Submariner, mainly its nautical nature, which is made more alluring when it’s accompanied by just the right amount of gold.
Submariner Date “Smurf” Ref. 116619LB [Blue Face Rolex]
From a Rolex with a bit of gold to one that’s completely enrobed by it. Except, the untrained eye may not quickly spot it.
Desirable for some and an offender for others, the Submariner Smurf is the epitome of “stealth wealth”. It touts the same Submariner design, but this time with a full 18K white gold case and a blue face marked by the Cerachrom bezel and lacquer dial.
Unlike the 116613LB’s sunray-finished dial, the face on this Smurf is glossy, helping it exactly match the tone of the bezel insert. There’s also white gold indices and Mercedes-style hands at center, both in the oversized fashion of the Maxi dial.
The difference in weight between an all-gold Submariner and one crafted mostly from steel is quite significant.
On the wrist, you’ll find it hard to forget that you’re wearing this Smurf, but if you’ve chosen this watch, you already know that. Indeed, most likely prefer it, alike to those who prefer the feel of an oversized watch.
Yet, you’ll be doing so under the fold. For the uninformed, it’s just another steel watch, except with a blue dial. For you, it’s the ultimate professional tool watch in one of its most luxurious forms.
Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603 [Black And Gold Rolex]
The Sea-Dweller released at Baselworld 2019 shocked more than just a handful of show-goers. Though in hindsight, when considering the popularity of the oversized Deepsea (DSSD) and its D-Blue variant, it does make a bit more sense.
With the release, Rolex also made it clear that the Sea-Dweller line is here to stay. This is important as there is a very similar black and gold Submariner still in showcases, albeit in a smaller size, that could be interpreted as overlap. Indeed, the Sub wore the black and gold first.
But the difference in size is noticeable, especially on the wrist. The case is larger and taller, with the appreciable gold elements and an upgraded clasp. This is how Rolex upgrades the b & g style itself: by implementing it on a brand new model.
The larger profile also makes for greater wrist presence, and ultimately more “flash”. Mainly due to the polished gold, which pairs formally with the accompanying black elements. Undoubtedly, in settings where the Sub could have gone unnoticed, this two-tone Sea-Dweller certainly shall not.
Submariner Ref. 114060LN [Black Face Rolex]
A timepiece considered by many to be the ultimate diver’s watch, or as Rolex themselves call it, “the reference among divers’ watches.” We’re talking about the Submariner (No Date) ref. 114060LN in its latest iteration.
Since its introduction in 1953, the Sub’s black face on steel theme has served as the standard for subsequent professional diver’s timepieces. It may not have been the first, but it’s definitely been the most influential.
As we encountered in the above watches, the modern Submariner is nothing like previous models. All aspect have been elevated – from the metal of the case to the diver’s bezel insert (now Cerachrom), as well as the dial, hands, and indices themselves. Additionally, the movement is Rolex’s 3130 workhorse, certified to COSC standards and possessing a 48 hour power reserve.
The black face look has become so widespread that, to the brand’s dismay, the style is no longer associated directly to Rolex. Nevertheless, those searching for an iconic watch with a transcendental look, look no further – this is your watch.
Submariner Date “Hulk” Ref. 116610LV [Green Face Rolex]
If you ask the regular layman what the color green reminds them of, they will likely say money.
Now, if that layman happens to be a watch guy or girl, you’re almost certain to get one answer: ROLEX! This is kind of ironic though, as Rolex hasn’t used the color green extensively in their collection until recently. When they finally did so, they knocked it out of the park.
In the world of green watches, there’s one specific watch and then there’s everything else. That one watch is, of course, the green face Rolex Submariner “Hulk” ref. 116610LV.
Rolex took their beloved classic and turned up the color in the most Rolex way: with a Rolex green Cerachrom ceramic bezel and a sunburst green dial. Everything else, including the steel construction, the oversized maxi dial elements, and the manufacture COSC-certified 3135 caliber remain the same as the black face Sub Date.
We previously mentioned that the 114060LN is the watch for those who want to wear an icon. From the same perspective, this green Rolex Hulk is a more eccentric icon, not to everyone’s liking, but bold and unique enough to remain a landmark in the brand’s extensive and successful history.
Day-Date 40 Ref. 228238 [All Gold Rolex]
Though at release the Day-Date made waves for being the first mechanical wristwatch with a full day display, the model has become recognized more for its look than its function.
Namely, its all-gold case (whether yellow, white, or rose) and 3-link President bracelet that have become the signature look of the full gold watch and even earned the model the misnomer “Rolex Presidential”.
Rolex has offered many a dial variation throughout the decades, but if you’re going for the classic gold Rolex look, then there’s no option better than the sunburst gold dial, often called a “champagne” dial. And with regards to size, we think the contemporary Day-Date 40mm is just perfect, as it’s got more presence than the traditional 36mm without being over the top.
More Watch Reads
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the most popular Rolex colors and styles, check out some of our other popular watch guides below:
- The Most Affordable Rolex Watch Models
- Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” 116710BLNR Review (20+ Pics)
- YouTube Watch Videos & Reviews
- All Of Our Luxury Watch Reviews
- Bespoke Unit Watch Homepage
"Great guide on Rolex's most popular styles! I've always been a fan of the black and gold look so I was extremely pleased with the newest Sea-Dweller release at Basel."Rating: 5.0★★★★★