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ROLEX Submariner NO DATE Ref. 124060 [+ 3x new 2020 Submariner DATE refs.]

[WARNING long read, please supply with necessary refreshments stimulants, before attempting]

Do you hear that? It’s a royal fanfare for a new Submariner. The king is dead – long live the king!

Yes, the king of diver’s watches just died a little or maybe it was usurped, either way there is a new king and it’s called the 2020 Submariner AKA Submariner ref. 124060.

It’s a mere millimeter bigger in diameter than its predecessor, the 114060, but like it, it also has a lovely clean, dateless dial.

Like any crowned king it also comes with a royal household; in this instance, three princelings: the Submariner Date ref. 126610 LV with its Oystersteel case, black lacquered dial and green ceramic bezel, the Submariner Date ref. 126619 LB with its 18 ct white gold case, black lacquered dial and blue ceramic bezel.

Then, in fact the most regal of the four new refs, the Submariner Date ref. 126613 LB with its Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold (yellow Rolesor) case, sunray-finished, Royal blue dial and 18 ct yellow gold bezel with blue ceramic.

There’s a reason that the Submariner is considered the king of divers. Yes, like any Rolex it wears a crown but more importantly it’s because of its largely unrivaled heritage which began in 1926 when Rolex first patented their famous Oyster case.

Even before the birth of the Submariner (in the 1950s), Rolex were one of those that took a leading role in the development and manufacturing of water-resistant chronometer watches at a time when underwater exploration was in its infancy.

The advent of scuba diving in the 1940s launched brands like Rolex into action as there became an ever-growing need for reliable water-resistant, watches that could be used as vital dive-timing instruments.

However it wasn’t until the 1950s that Rolex began an experimental process that involved the collaboration with those early scuba diving pioneers.

The experiments conducted, and subsequent technical advances led to the introduction of the Submariner in 1953, the first divers’ watch with a water-resistance to a depth of 100 meters.

Just one later, the water-resistance of the Submariner was increased to a depth of 200 meters. The watch was soon fitted with other technical innovations, such as a luminescent disc on the hour hand to clearly distinguish it from the minute hand, and a crown guard.

Then in 1969, Rolex unveiled the Submariner Date, adding a function that most diehard dive watch enthusiasts consider a clumsy, redundant feature, a date function.

Its water-resistance, then guaranteed to 200 meters, was extended in 1979 to a depth of 300 meters. The water-resistance of the Submariner achieved the same depth in 1989. It remains the same in 2020.

Since the early pioneering days, the creation of the Submariner has been closely linked to the development of deep-sea diving.

However, over the decades, the Submariner and Submariner Date’s appeal has extended well beyond the world of diving. Besides being a revered tool watch, it has become a status symbol.

With each new iteration came further innovation, and so has been the case with pretty much every new ref. right up to and including 2020’s ref. 124060, but here’s the question when does the superlative cease being just that?

Because every time Rolex updates the Sub it’s supposed to get a little bit better. So let’s see if that is true of this new ref.

The Submariner and Submariner Date feature a Rolex Chromalight display: the hands and hour markers have been coated or filled with a luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in the dark –

while the bezel’s triangular 12hr marker has a capsule containing the same luminescent material.

It would be interesting to know if the luminesce in anyway outperforms that of earlier models. Is it time for an industry standard or lume grading system?

Rolex were a pioneer of ceramic’s use for bezel inlays. They have developed exclusive expertise and innovative manufacturing techniques that allow them to independently produce their own ceramic components.

They were the first to produce bi-colored ceramic inlays such as those used for their GMT collection.

The new 2020 Submariner and Submariner Date’s unidirectional rotational diver’s bezels are fitted with a 60-min. graduated Cerachrom inlays in black, green or blue ceramic.

The molded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum or yellow gold via PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition).

While refs. 124060 and 126610 LV make use of Rolex’s Osytersteel (which I believe is 904L which has a higher nickel content than 316L), and ref. 126619 LB is made from 18 ct white gold; ref. 126613 LB makes use of Rolesor, a combination of 18 ct gold and Oystersteel.

If you don’t already know (I’m sure you do), Rolesor isn’t some sort of high-end alloy it is simply the name that Rolex use to describe any of their two-tone steel and gold models.

On the yellow Rolesor version of the Submariner Date, the bezel, winding crown and center links of the bracelet are in 18 ct yellow gold, while the case and outer links of the bracelet are in Oystersteel.

The 41mm in diameter, Oyster cases of the Submariner and Submariner Date are guaranteed water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters. Their mid-cases are crafted from a single solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy, or from 18 ct white gold.

The case-back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed-down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement.

The Triplock winding crown is naturally fitted with a triple water-resistance system; it screws down securely against the case and is protected by an integrated crown-guard.

On the Submariner Date, the Sapphire crystal is fitted with a dreaded Cyclops magnifying lens at 3 o’clock. You know, for the ophthalmologically decrepit among us, those that refuse to use reading glasses (you know who you are).

The new-generation Submariner and Submariner Date are powered respectively with caliber 3230 – launched this year (2020) – and caliber 3235, movements entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex in-house.

The automatic, mechanical movements led to the filing of several patents, and offer significant gains in terms of precision, power-reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields and reliability.

Calibers 3230 and 3235 incorporate Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement that combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also resistant to magnetic fields.

The movements are fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex over-coil, ensuring the calibers’ regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movements’ shock-resistance.

Both calibers are equipped with an automatic module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to their barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the movements’ power-reserve extends to just shy of 3 days AKA 70 hours.

These versions of the Submariner and Submariner Date are fitted with an Oyster bracelet. Developed at the end of the 1930s, this three-piece link bracelet is known for its robustness.

The Oyster bracelet on these new versions is equipped with a Rolex-designed and patented Oysterlock folding safety-clasp, which prevents accidental opening.

It also features the Rolex Glidelock wetsuit extension system, designed and patented by the brand. This particularly inventive mechanism comprises a rack located under the clasp cover and a toothed sliding link that locks into the chosen notch.

The Rolex Glidelock on the Oyster bracelet has 10 notches of approximately 2mm, allowing the length of the bracelet to be adjusted easily, and without tools, up to some 20mm.

On the 18 ct white gold version of the Submariner Date, the Oyster bracelet includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility and longevity.

In addition, a concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.

Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date are covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015.

This exclusive designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria.

These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding.

The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day, or more than twice that required of an official chronometer.

The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.

Thoughts? If you made it all the way down here, good on ya’; you’re a better man than me! So what do you think? More of the same?

Of course but you have to admit Rolex are still at the forefront of dive watch technology, even if they don’t go in much for gimmicks or frills, even if they tend to be a bit staid; the Submariner has endured decade upon decade and there’s a reason why, it’s the king of divers.

But I would like to see them stepping outside of their comfort zone once in a while; how about a nominal, symbolic increase in water-resistance, perhaps the use of Titanium or Cermet.

How about a blacked-out DLC case? A military edition of some sort? Those guys need to let their hair down once in a while.

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