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Rolex Starbucks vs Rolex Kermit: What’s the difference?

the photo was took in Bangkok on 26 April 2021. The purpose is to demonstrate the Rolex watch Ref 126610lv or known as starbuck is the submarine model with black dial and green ceramic bezel.
Travelwith Nikon / Shutterstock

Rolex is arguably the most popular watch company in the world. It revolutionized the watch industry by taking the tool-of-the-trade feel of the mid-century and adding a level of luxury and sophistication. Of course, it may not have gotten nearly as far as it did without the assistance of the Rolex Submariner, the first major commercial dive watch and the one chosen to be worn by James Bond himself when Sean Connery took on the role in the 1960s. It stayed on the wrist of the superspy in all iterations until Omega took the mantle in the 90s. Since the Submariner took the world by storm, it went through many different iterations. Two of the most famous go head to head here in the Rolex Starbucks vs Rolex Kermit.

What do you think of when you think of the color green? Maybe you think of the color of the grass on Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season. Maybe what you wear on St. Patrick’s Day comes to mind. You might even start ruminating over the things you are envious of in your life. Rolex…well, Rolex thinks of Kermit the Frog and Starbucks Coffee. At least, their customers do as they named these Rolex Submariners lovingly after those two iconic greens. But which of these watches is the best for you? You can find out here.

Rolex “Kermit” is a twist on an icon

Rolex Kermit

The Rolex Submariner Reference 16610LV, lovingly called the “Kermit,” debuted 21 years ago in 2003. While the Submariner had been around for five decades, Rolex pulled out all the stops for the 50th anniversary by celebrating with the newest iteration. Since the Submariner was known for its black bezel, the striking green color caused it to gain popularity and land the name of the most famous muppet in the world.

The Rolex Submariner’s 40mm stainless steel case and matching Oyster bracelet were the standard, and the black dial offered a striking contrast that made this watch the talk of the moment. What sets this watch apart from the other green-bezel beauty is its rarity. The limited run from 2003 to 2007 makes this particular Rolex a little more difficult to procure, fetching a sometimes prohibitive price on the resale market. But if you can snag one, it will be the centerpiece of your collection.

Rolex “Starbucks” upgrades the icon

Rolex Starbucks

So the question is…how do you improve on an icon? You elevate, and you upgrade. That is what Rolex did when they dropped the Rolex Submariner Reference 126610LV. It was lovingly dubbed the “Starbucks” because of its own green bezel. While there are plenty of similarities between the two (seriously, you have to look hard or know what you are doing to see the difference), “Starbucks” takes what “Kermit” started and elevates it as best it can.

The first and perhaps the most significant upgrade to this variation of the Submariner is the Cerachrom bezel, which is made from a virtually scratch-proof and fade-resistant ceramic material. When you are dropping a fair price for a Rolex, there is an innate desire to keep it looking as pristine as possible. The next upgrade is the size. Back in the Connery days, the slim and subtle watch was the fashion. In 2020, when the “Starbucks” hit the shelves, the watches were a bit larger. Of course, you will never see a Rolex go in for the massive cases, so upgrading from 40mm to 41mm seems like a big deal. Add to these updates the newest in movement technology, providing precision and consistency, and you have the pinnacle of watchmaking in the body of a classic.

Our choice

Rolex Kermit

So, which one should you get? Here is a cop-out answer: It depends. Go with us; we will explain. If you are a tech head or someone who wants the newest and the best of everything, then “Starbucks” is the obvious choice. Let’s be honest: You are going to spend a lot of money on a Rolex, so why would you want it to be anything but exact and the newest of the new? And this watch is much more easily accessible than its counterpart.

So that’s that, right? Not so fast. One of the defining characteristics of Rolex is the ability to make a statement. When you buy a Rolex, you are saying that you know what you are doing, you are a chronophile. So, part of the charm of getting your hands on a Rolex is the feeling of vintage Chrono history. The faded look of the dial and the scratches tell a story that others can’t. Also, since the “Kermit” is rare and harder to find, it makes owning it that much more of a statement.

So, the real question isn’t which one should you get. The real question is, what message do you want to send? Either way, you can’t go wrong with either one.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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