The Infamous Rolex Submariner & Sea-Dweller Anchor

The Infamous Rolex Submariner & Sea-Dweller Anchor

Nov 01

The Infamous Rolex Submariner Anchors
By: John B. Holbrook, II
September 21st, 2005

Sometime in 2005, a long standing Rolex tradition came to an end: Rolex stopped shipping the famous Rolex Anchor as an accessory with the Sea-Dweller,  Submariner and its variants. For many years, Rolex included a small key-ring like, miniature anchor with every Submariner. Much has been written about these anchors over the years – no one is sure exactly what these little trinkets included with the Submariner are good for. Some collectors use them as Christmas tree ornaments, while others hang them from necklaces or car rear view mirrors. They don’t seem to serve any useful purpose, which is perhaps why Rolex after decades is no longer producing them.

The Rolex anchor has become quite a coveted collectors item, so if you own a Submariner or Sea-Dweller produced during a time when Rolex was making the anchors and including them with their watches, you’ll want to make sure you have one as part of your “complete” package.  Unfortunately, like a lot of small, accessory items, these anchors get easily lost.  Now that they’re no longer being produced, they’re fetching a premium from the Rolex collectors market – particularly for the hard-to-find anchors which go with vintage Submariners.

I believe (though could be mistaken) that Rolex first began including the anchor with the Submariner/Sea-Dweller models with the 1680 Submariner.  Vintage 1680 Submariners with a water resistance rating of only 200 meters came with anchors that had “200 meters water resistant” printed on them.  Below is a photo of a vintage Submariner anchor in excellent condition – note the water resistance level printed on it, which is consistent with a 200m/660ft 1680 Submariner/Sea-Dweller:

The next example is the standard, modern Submariner anchor: The silver anchor below is the most common, as it was included with the stainless steel 16610 and two tone Submariner 16613 variants – note the water resistance rating. The rating is shown in meters on one side, and in feet on the other:

Now here’s the anchor which was included with the Sea-Dweller 16600. It’s identical to the one above, with the exception of the water resistance rating displayed – it matches the higher depth rating of the Sea-Dweller.

Now here we have the final contemporary anchor variant – it’s gold plated (painted?) and is included only with the all-gold Submariner models. Note the water resistance rating is consistent with the Submariner at 300 meters:

One of the biggest questions for Rolex collectors at this point is, “how do I know if my watch should or should not have an anchor included?” Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. The transition seems to have taken place mid-way through the F series production, and perhaps coincided with the introduction of the new Rolex box and packaging released around the same time. A good, general rule of thumb is, if your Rolex Submariner or Sea-Dweller has the new style packaging, then it probably won’t have the anchor.

You can discuss this article in the Rolex Forum of my online luxury watch discussion forum community WATCH TALK FORUMS.

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  1. Mrs. Erickson

    I have a Rolex Oyster anchor – 660 ft on one side and 200 on the other. It has 14K after the “R” (oyster) on the 660 side. I do not see any gold anchors mentioned. Do you have any idea which watch this paired with?

    • John B. Holbrook, II

      Sure – I have one. I came with the solid gold version of the Submariner.


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