The new 2020 Rolex Submariner models
The new 2020 Rolex Submariner models perpetuate the legend. The latest versions of the Submariner share a strong likeness to the first Submariner (1953) and the inaugural Submariner Date (1969). However, while many Rolexphiles fixate on the past, the best Submariner models left the brand’s Geneva HQ last week. The specification of these new 2020 Rolex Submariner models upholds the brand’s strategy of subtle evolution and continuous improvement. Quite simply, the Rolex Submariner is now better than ever.
The inaugural version of the Rolex Submariner was released in 1953. This initial model sported a black dial, luminescent pencil hands, a triangular index at noon and a black rotatable bezel. Interestingly, the model had no date indication, lacked a ‘Mercedes’ hour hand and had a water-resistance of just 100 metres.
In 1969, The Submariner was offered with a date indication and was aptly named the Submariner Date. The sapphire crystal was fitted with a ‘cyclops’ lens, magnifying the date and the model’s water resistance was increased from 100 metres to 200 metres.
Ten years later, in 1979, the water resistance was further improved, guaranteed to a depth of 300 metres. The luminous indexes were framed in metal and the glazing changed from Plexiglas to sapphire crystal.
Rolex fanatics often fixate on vintage models, drawn to details such as whether the crown is surrounded with guards or not. Likewise, typography, the shape of the Rolex logo and whether the word ‘Submariner’ is depicted in white or red can sometimes engender covetous thoughts in the minds of many self-respecting Rolexphiles.
Look at the dial just above 6 o’clock, does your Submariner state ‘Swiss’ once or twice? This matters to a Rolexphile. What is the diameter of your crown? Have your hands and indexes been ‘re-lumed’? If so, the value of the watch has probably gone south.
The fact is, the Rolexphile with Submariner tendencies will obsess over the aforementioned points and, believe me, there are many more, for hours and hours. These seemingly incidental details have a huge influence on the market value of a watch. However, in my opinion, searching for an old Submariner seems like utter madness.
The bezel fitted to the latest Rolex Submariner models features a scratch-resistant ceramic inlay that won’t fade with the passage of time. Hold the bracelet of a present-day Rolex Submariner between forefinger and thumb and you will readily discern that it is far superior to its forebears. Incidentally, the bracelet features the excellent Rolex Glidelock extension system, allowing the wearer to slightly expand the Oyster bracelet in no time at all. It’s a highly useful feature, especially on a warm summer’s day.
The Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, Rolex overcoil, variable inertia balance and supremely legible Chromalight luminescent treatment on the hands and indexes are further technological advancements. There is no doubt about it, the concept of continuous improvement is alive and well at Rolex HQ.
The newly unveiled models include a Rolex Submariner with no date and black bezel (ref. 124060), a new Submariner Date and green bezel (ref. 126610 LV), a Submariner Date with blue dial and two-tone bracelet (ref. 126613 LB) and, lastly, a Submariner Date with blue bezel, 18-carat white gold case and matching bracelet (ref. 126619 LB).
The brand’s press release
Conquering the deep
Rolex is introducing the new generation of its Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date, watches that exemplify the historic links between Rolex and the world of diving. Both timepieces now feature a redesigned, slightly larger 41 mm case – whose profile is highlighted by the light reflections from the case sides and lugs – and are fitted on a remodelled bracelet. They are equipped with movements at the forefront of watchmaking technology – the Submariner with calibre 3230, unveiled by the brand this year, and the Submariner Date with calibre 3235, offering both time and date functions, and used in the Submariner range for the first time.
True to its aesthetic heritage, the new Submariner in Oystersteel has a black dial and rotatable bezel with matching Cerachrom insert. A yellow Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold) of the Submariner Date presents a royal blue dial with a rotatable bezel and a blue Cerachrom insert.
Two versions of the Submariner Date, one in Oystersteel and the other in 18 ct white gold, bring distinctive colour combinations, with the dial and Cerachrom insert in different hues. The first watch blends a black dial with a green bezel, while the second proposes a black dial and a blue bezel.
Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date carry the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
An extraordinary history
The creation of the Submariner is closely linked to the development of deep-sea diving. In the early 1940s, the exploration of the deep marked a significant turning point with the advent of scuba diving. At the time, Rolex played an important role in the development and manufacturing of waterproof chronometer wristwatches, thanks in particular to the Oyster case, patented in 1926. As the brand wanted to create a watch that met divers’ practical needs as closely as possible, in the 1950s it began an experimental process that involved many successful collaborations with diving pioneers. The experiments carried out and subsequent technical advances led to the introduction in 1953 of the Submariner, the first divers’ wristwatch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet).
Just a year after its launch, the waterproofness of the Submariner was increased to a depth of 200 metres (660 feet). 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.
In 1969, Rolex unveiled the Submariner Date, adding the date function. Its waterproofness, then guaranteed to 200 metres, was extended in 1979 to a depth of 300 metres (1,000 feet). The waterproofness of the Submariner achieved the same depth in 1989.
Over time, the appeal of the Submariner and Submariner Date has extended well beyond the marine world. With their proven performance, these tool watches have become archetypes of the action watch on land as underwater.
Legibility and Functionality
When diving, being able to read the time with absolute certainty is a matter of survival. Therefore, the dial of the Submariner and Submariner Date is designed to be clean and unambiguous. The hour and minute hands, clearly differentiated in size and shape, and the hour markers in simple geometric forms – triangles, circles and rectangles – enable instant and reliable reading, preventing any risk of confusion underwater.
The Submariner and Submariner Date also feature a Chromalight display: the hands and hour markers are coated or filled with a luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in dark conditions. On the bezel, the triangular zero marker is also visible in darkness thanks to a capsule containing the same luminescent material.
High technology ceramic
Rolex played a pioneering role in the development of special ceramics for creating monobloc bezels and bezel inserts. Not only are these materials virtually scratchproof, their colours are also of a rare intensity and are resistant to environmental effects. Rolex has developed exclusive expertise and innovative manufacturing methods that grant it complete independence in the production of these ceramic components.
On these versions of the Submariner and Submariner Date, the unidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in black, green or blue ceramic that allows divers to confidently monitor their dive times. The moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum or yellow gold via PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition). The bezel’s knurled edge offers excellent grip, to comfortably set dive time even when wearing gloves.
Rolesor, a marriage of gold and steel
Rolesor, the combination of 18 ct gold and Oystersteel on a Rolex watch, has been a signature feature of the brand since 1933, when the name was registered. It is a meeting of two metals: one, noble and precious, attractive for its lustre and stability; the other, known for its resistance to corrosion, ensures strength and reliability. All of these qualities perfectly mirror the elegance and performance that come together in a Rolex watch.
On the yellow Rolesor version of the Submariner Date, the bezel, winding crown and centre links of the bracelet are in 18 ct yellow gold, while the case and outer links of the bracelet are in Oystersteel.
Oystercase, symbol of waterproofness
A paragon of robustness and reliability, the Oyster case of the Submariner and Submariner Date is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 300 metres (1,000 feet). Its middle case is crafted from a 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, fitted with a triple waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case and is protected by an integral crown guard. The crystal is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire and, on the Submariner Date, is fitted with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the watch’s movement.
Perpetual calibres 3230 and 3235
The new-generation Submariner and Submariner Date are equipped respectively with calibre 3230 – launched this year – and calibre 3235, movements entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. At the forefront of watchmaking technology, these self-winding mechanical movements led to the filing of several patents, and offer fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
Calibres 3230 and 3235 incorporate the Chronergy escapement, patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive 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 overcoil, ensuring the calibres’ 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 calibres are equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to their barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the movements’ power reserve extends to approximately 70 hours.
Oyster bracelet and Oysterlock safety clasp
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 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 2 mm, allowing the length of the bracelet to be adjusted easily, and without tools, up to some 20 mm.
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.
Superlative Chronometer certification
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.