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A two-tone (also known as the Yellow Rolesor) Rolex Submariner watch is a mainstay of the brand’s collection, combining tough steel with ultra-luxurious gold. The reference 16613 was the two-tone Submariner that Rolex produced from the late-1980s until the late-2000s. It’s also the last of the so-called classic Submariner series with aluminum bezel inserts and more compact proportions.
Keep reading to find out the history and evolution of the Rolex 16613, as well as an overview of the watch’s design, specs, value, and prices.
In 1988, Rolex replaced the first two-tone Submariner 16803 with the reference 16613. While It kept the same design and choices as the preceding reference, Rolex did furnish the Submariner 16613 with a new movement - the Caliber 3135.
Since Rolex produced the steel and gold Submariner 16113 watch for 21 years, the reference benefitted from some notable updates over its production run. Some examples include new lume on the dial, new solid end-links (SEL) on the bracelets, the disappearance of lug holes on the case, and “ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX” engraving on the rehauts.
Rolex discontinued the Submariner 16613 in 2009 and replaced it with the two-tone Submariner 116613 with a redesigned Super Case, Maxi Dial, and Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert.
The use of 18k yellow gold on the case and bracelet of the 16613 emphasizes the luxuriousness of the watch; yet, let’s not forget that a Rolex Submariner is, first and foremost, a highly capable diving watch.
A Submariner in a two-tone steel and yellow gold combination certainly makes a bold style statement. It retains the tool watch features that are essential to a Submariner dive watch but the yellow gold details throughout the watch serve to remind us that this is also very much a luxury sports watch.
The Submariner 16613 features a 40mm steel and yellow gold case, topped with a unidirectional rotating timing bezel marked to 60 minutes. Like all two-tone Submariners, the Rolex 16613 is available with black bezels or blue bezels.
Blue two-tone Submariners, including the 16613LB, are also affectionately known as the Rolex Bluesy among enthusiasts and collectors. While most 16613 will come with a black or blue dial to match the bezel, Rolex also made ultra-luxurious champagne Serti dials with diamond and sapphire hour markers.
Rolex has always equipped Submariners with three-link Oyster bracelets, and the 16613 is no exception. Of course, as a Yellow Rolesor Submariner, the 16613 is fitted with a two-tone Oyster bracelet with steel outer links flanking gold center links. Depending on the year of production, the ref. 16613 has either solid or hollow end-links, either a stamped or link-style foldout extension system, and either a steel/gold or an all-steel clasp. Collectors have different preferences on 16613 bracelet styles, which makes it a fun Rolex reference to collect.
The Submariner is one of Rolex’s most famous watches. While it was made specifically for divers, it quickly became a versatile watch for more than just divers to wear. Owners of these legendary watches are happy to wear their Subs with basically anything in their closets, ranging from casual attire to formal outfits.
Although two-tone Submariner 16613 watches are certainly flashier (particularly the Bluesy variants) than their steel-only counterparts, they’re still versatile Rolex sports watches that can be worn all the time. The combination of the two metals means it can go with whatever other metal-accented accessories you may have on. Plus, the examples with lug holes offer the additional benefit of being easier to switch out bracelets and straps for a whole new look.
As the popularity of vintage and retro Submariner watches has exploded in recent years, the value of the Rolex 16613 has also increased on the secondary market. Another factor that has added to Rolex 16613’s value is the growing interest in two-tone watches for men.
The Submariner 16613 watches with Serti dials are more valuable than regular dials due to the use of gemstones (diamonds and sapphires) as hour markers.
The last published retail prices of the Rolex 16613 were $9,300 for the regular dials and $11,450 with the champagne dials with eight diamonds, one triangular sapphire, and two baguette sapphires.
Since 16613 Submariners are discontinued models, they can now only be sourced from the secondary market. Current prices for pre-owned Submariner 16613 watches typically range from $11,000 to $15,000 depending on the specific variant or year of production. However, pre-owned Submariner 16613 watches with Serti dials start at around $16,000 and can climb from there depending on the model’s provenance, condition, and production year.
Rolex introduced the Submariner 116613 in 2009 to replace the 16613. Although the new version retained the fundamental design characteristics of the two-tone Submariner, the 116613 brought about a slew of changes. So what are the differences between the 16613 vs. 116613?
First of all, the 116613 features a Super Case silhouette that’s thicker and broader than the 16613 model. Furthermore, the Submariner 116613 has a scratch and fade-resistant Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert while the 16613 features an aluminum one. So the Submariner 16613 is the last of the classic five-digit Submariner watches in two-tone.
Another notable difference between the 16613 vs. 116613 is the bracelet where the latter has solid center links and a machined Oysterlock clasp with an innovative Glidelock system to extend the length of the bracelet if the need arises.
Other details between the vintage 16613 and more modern (but now discontinued) 116613 remain largely the same including the 40mm case size, blue and black color choices, 3135 movement, and of course, the striking combination of stainless steel and 18k yellow gold.
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