Head of Department, Watches, US
The Rolex Submariner 'Hulk' Collection / ROLEX. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC CALENDAR BRACELET WATCH Submariner Hulk, Ref 116610LV, c.2016
US$30,000 - US$40,000
Bonhams Watches is excited to offer a one-of-a-kind collection of Rolex watches, a collection which had a very specific criteria when being shaped. When Rolex introduced the Submariner 6536 in 1953, they were creating an icon of horology and expanding on their development of tool watches made for specific purposes, be it diving, spelunking, car racing or flight. The 'sub' has gone through multiple evolutions in the 70 years since its introduction but through these evolutions each generation has become an icon in its own right, alongside all the other robust, archetypal tool watches that Rolex has produced. From 2010 to 2020, the 116610V (the reference for the first several years) and 116610LV, or known by collectors as the "Hulk," reinvigorated and introduced new proportions and colors that adorned the industry's quintessential dive watch.
Born out of the 50th anniversary 11610LV from 2003, nicknamed the "Kermit," the Hulk adopted the Kermit's green bezel in a different material and added a vibrant green dial. The bezel insert, formally made of aluminum, was now made from Cerachrom for ultimate durability. A new bracelet was added with Rolex's Glidelock clasp for ease of sizing, and the lugs increased in width to create a thick, muscular case which retained the same wearable 40mm diameter. The new, sunburst, green dial created a shimmering, sun-ray finish, and in the light changed green hues alongside its matching Cerachrom bezel, and was complimented by large, gold set, luminous plots. The Hulk is powered by the caliber 3135, which in all its iterations has seen extensive use through the company's catalog over the past decades and has had multiple modifications and upgrades over its lifetime.
The present collection was curated by a very discerning collector. With a keen eye for mechanics, design, and functionality, the collection being offered is not only within a particular collector's extremely specific criteria, but also each watch is a time capsule from the year it was produced. There are few opportunities to obtain a decade old, discontinued, and unworn tool watch, and the Hulk collection on display allows just that.
Each piece being offered was sourced globally to find the best-preserved examples, in terms of not only finding full kits with boxes, papers, cards and other accessories, but also in terms of what collectors' value most: condition. Each individual 116610 within the Hulk sale comes essentially new-old-stock; while the pieces are no longer with their original, retail buyers, they have remained in safes, drawers, boxes, and collections which preserved their condition and were unworn from their moments of purchase. Not only does each lot come in factory fresh condition, but also with the myriad of accessories that should accompany a brand-new watch purchased from a boutique. Additionally, the collector has had each watch independently reviewed for condition and authenticity by an Authorized Rolex Dealer and will be accompanied by a letter attesting this. As an exclamation point to the collection, a limited edition ¼ scale Hulk statue is being offered alongside the watches, one of only 40 produced by NMK Studios, the ultimate trophy for the Hulk enthusiast.
Each lot within the Rolex Hulk Sale on offer provides a unique opportunity for those who may have missed out buying direct from an Authorized Distributor during the production period of the Hulk in bringing to market New-Old-Stock examples for purchase. While these days, most diving is accompanied by a computer rather than an analog watch, the Hulk continues the Submariner tradition. It is a stylish, durable everyday watch that also has the intense functionality of a diver's watch, and in any collection could be one of the quintessential markers for a collector's vision. Never has a collection such as this, from a judicious single owner, been brought to auction before, with each piece representing an opportunity to purchase an iconic Rolex for pleasure or investment.