Rolex has introduced the latest generation of its formidable Submariner model. The Oyster Perpetual Submariner and the Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date are now presented in a redesigned and slightly larger case with slimmer lugs and features new movements.
The Swiss brand had teased the release of the Submariner, arguably it’s most famous professional diver’s watch, on its social media channels in the days leading up to the launch on September 1. When it was introduced in 1953, the Submariner was the first wristwatch with a depth-rating of 100 meters. Just a year after its launch, the Submariner’s underwater capability was increased to a depth of 200 metres. The case is now water-resistant to 300 meters (almost 1,000 feet).
This is the diver’s watch that pretty much defines the genre now. But much like what Porsche does with the iconic 911 model, the changes to every new-generation Rolex model are always incremental and never too dramatic. The no date Submariner (Ref. 124060) has an Oystersteel (that’s what Rolex calls its corrosion-resistant alloy) case and a black Cerachrom bezel and black dial.
The case is now 41 mm wide, a single millimeter, more than the previous model. We suspect there’s going to be much hand-wringing about this increased size on the Internet in the coming days. The middle case is carved from a solid block of steel (or Oystersteel, as Rolex would like to remind you) and the caseback is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. It has a screw-down crown and an integral crown guard. The lugs are thinner now too and overall, the case seems better proportioned than the outgoing model.
The case is fitted with unidirectional rotatable bezel with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in black to help divers monitor their time underwater. The recessed graduations and numerals on the bezel are coated with platinum via a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) process. The black dial’s applied hour markers and hands coated with Chromalight, a Rolex-developed luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions. The hour markers are in different shapes – triangles, circles and rectangles – to ensure legibility in the dark.
Two new self-winding movements make their debut in the Submariner line. While the no date model (Ref. 124060) is powered by Calibre 3230, the Submariner Date models run Caliber 3235. Both movements use Rolex’s patented, energy efficient, magnetic-resistant Chronergy escapement and is equipped with the brand’s exclusive blue Parachrom hairspring, which is 10 times more precise than the traditional type. The bidirectional rotor helps these movements amass a power reserve of 70 hours. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movements’ shock resistance.
There are three Submariner Date models. All of them feature the brand’s characteristic Cylcops magnifying lens on the sapphire crystal. The first one (Ref. 126610LV) has a green Cerachrom bezel insert and a black dial. The second Ref. 126619LB uses an 18K white gold case and a blue Cerachrom bezel. The third one is a Rolesor (what Rolex calls its two-tone model), the Ref. 126613LB uses an Oystersteel and an 18K yellow gold case. The blue Cerachrom bezel has graduations and numerals filled with yellow gold via a PVD process.
The new Submariners also feature a redesigned Oyster bracelet. The three-piece link bracelet has been around since the end of the 1930’s and come equipped the Oysterlock folding safety clasp to prevent accidental opening. It also features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, which comprises a rack located under the clasp cover and a toothed sliding link that locks into the chosen notch. This allows for the bracelet to be adjusted without tools, up to some 20 mm.
The no date Submariner (Ref. 124060) is priced at $8,100, $9,550 (Ref. 126610LV steel with green bezel), $14,300 (Ref. 126613LB steel and yellow gold), $39,650 (126619LB white gold).