Rolex has officially revealed the latest iteration of the brand's famed dive watch, the Submariner, an easy contender for the most famous watch of all time. Since its debut in 1953, the Sub has graced the wrists of divers, explorers, soldiers, actors, musicians, and countless everyday folks aspiring to own the best possible watch in its class. Instantly recognizable and utterly timeless, it's the timepiece that the entire sport watch category is built upon.
The new references follow the iterative playbook Rolex is known for. At first glance, the changes to the iconic diver are easily missed. But even the seemingly minor tweaks found here — a larger case, a new movement, an updated dial — are sure to impact the Submariner's legacy for decades to come. Rolex fans are quick to anger when anything about their favorite models is altered — but Rolex knows its business, and they don't come to these decisions lightly. A 2020 Submariner would ultimately be recognizable to company founder Hans Wilsdorf, which is surely how the company prefers it.
That being said, tweaks to the new design are sure to please some and anger others, but such is the way of the (watch) world. In the meantime, here's everything you need to know about the new Rolex Submariner.
A 41mm Oystersteel case makes this version the biggest Submariner ever, though it's just 1mm larger than the previous generations of the watch. To compensate for the change, the lugs have been noticeably slimmed down from those of the previous, 6-digit "maxi" cased-Subs.
They include three in stainless steel and five in precious metals or Rolesor (two-tone). The no-date model comes with a black dial and a black bezel, while the Date model comes in seven variants: two steel (black dial/black bezel or black dial/green bezel) and five precious metal (Rolesor two-tone with black or blue dial; all-yellow gold in black or blue dial; and all-white gold with black dial/blue bezel).
The new Oyster bracelet, which Rolex is labeling as "remodelled," is also slightly broader and equipped with Rolex's patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp and Glidelock extension system, which allows wearers to adjust the length of the bracelet by up to 20 mm without additional tools.
The text at the bottom of the dial that previously read "Swiss Made" now includes the Rolex Coronet (re: crown) as a separator, indicating the presence of the cal. 3230 movement. It's also been slightly repositioned.
The cal. 3135, in use in no-date Subs since the 1980s, has been updated with the cal. 3230. While new, this is is the dateless version of the cal. 3235, which has slowly been making its way through the Rolex catalog for the last few years. Both date and no-date versions are chronometer-certified and feature a Chronergy escapement with anti-magnetic properties, a Parachrom hairspring that’s 10x more precise than a traditional hairspring, and a power reserve of 70 hours.
A Cerachrom bezel on a Sub isn’t new (it was new on 2012’s ref. 114060), but this time, it’s available in several different colors at once, depending on which Sub you spring for. Cerachrom is Rolex’s corrosion-resistant ceramic — it’s largely scratch-proof and features a luminescent pip at 12 o’clock for visibility in low-light conditions. It’s also highly grippable and easy to turn, even with gloves on. And of course, it graduated with a 60-minute scale to for timing purposes.
Take a look at all eight different variations of model available. View the Gallery
If the Rolex Submariner is the most famous dive watch, then the Rolex Military Submariner, or MilSub, is the most famous military-issued dive watch. What is now a highly sought after piece of watch history — and one of the rarest collector’s watches ever — was once merely Ministry of Defense (MOD) standard issue equipment.
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