The Rolex Submariner is an icon – a quintessential piece in any watch collection. Ever since it was introduced in 1954, the diver watch has been a mainstay in Rolex’s stable. And for today, our review is on this legendary timepiece. Except that this is not just any other Rolex Submariners. It is the author’s.
Prior to the launch of the Submariner, Rolex had already been known to produce watches that are water-resistant. Since the early 1930s, Rolex produced a line of watches called the Oyster. Hans Wilsdorf – the founder of Rolex – filed the patent for a waterproof case in 1926. The Oyster was made famous a year later, when Hans gave Mercedes Gleitze a Rolex Oyster to wear the Rolex Oyster when she attempted to swim across the English Channel.
Fast forward a little. Rene-Paul Jeanneret, who was Hans’ right-hand man in Rolex, realised that diving is gaining traction in the 1950s. Coupled with Rolex producing tools watches such as the Explorer, Rene-Paul thought that it would be ideal for the brand to create a timepiece meant for diving. That, and coupled with the fact that he was a close friend to Jacques-Yves Consteau, had led the brand to create one of the most popular watches in the horological world.
The Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060
The Rolex Submariner (Reference 114060), more commonly known as the “No-Date” Submariner, is often considered to be the base model in the collection. It is also the closest model to the original Submariner in the “modern” collection, as it is the only timepiece in the collection that does not come with the date function.
The model has been around since 1954 (or 1953, when it was still a prototype), the Submariner had undergone several changes over time. The latest iteration was launched in Baselworld 2012, with some aesthetic and mechanical modifications made to the line-up.
On that note – there are a number of variants that are available in the collection. The next one that follows is the Submariner Date (Reference 116610), which is essentially the Submariner with an additional date function. That model is available in a few case variants, either in stainless steel, two-tone (steel and yellow gold), or solid gold (white gold or yellow gold). In addition to that, there are three different dial variants as well: in blue, green, and obviously black.
But for today’s article, we will only be focusing on the Submariner (Reference 114060).
The case, dial, and hands
The latest iteration of the Submariner, as mentioned, had undergone several aesthetical modifications as compared to its predecessor (the Reference 14060/14060M).
First, the 40mm stainless steel case is slightly different in its shape. The 114060 comes with a slightly squarish design, with thicker and larger lugs. This gives the watch a slightly more imposing appearance, although some collectors still prefer the thinner tampered lugs on the previous generations of Submariners. We certainly like that it looks more robust and tough now. We do note that this new lug design is not as ideal to pair the watch with a NATO strap, like James Bond has done in the past.
Next, and perhaps the most obvious differentiating point, is the new bezel. The 114060 is fitted with a ceramic bezel insert. This is unlike its predecessor, which comes with an aluminium bezel insert. The new ceramic bezel insert is much more scratch resistant, and it provides a nice shine under certain lighting conditions. In addition, the engraving on the insert gives it some depth and texture interest.
Finally, there were some changes made to the dial as well. The 114060 features bigger indices, which are filled with blue Chromalight. The markers are surrounded by 18K white gold frame. The new dial provides greater legibility, especially if the user is wearing the watch for diving purposes.
Subtle changes aside, the Submariner is still essentially a Submariner. The watch still features the same design cues, paired with a “Mercedes” hour hands, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and indices that are circular in shape – save for the triangle at the 12 o’clock position, and the rectangular ones at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. It is still a Submariner through and through. And it is still instantly recognisable – especially since it looks pretty much the same since it was introduced 63 years ago.
The timepiece is powered by Rolex’s Calibre 3130 – a self-winding movement that features only the time-keeping function. The movement boasts a power reserve of approximately 48 hours, and it is Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. It has an additional hacking function too.
Comparing to its predecessor, the movement had undergone some upgrades as well. One of the most obvious one lies in its oscillator – in which it is now fitted with the Blue Parachrom hairspring, and that is said to be anti-magnetic and less susceptible to shocks.
In terms of finishing, the Calibre 3130 is not exactly spectacular. It is, after all, meant to be a tool watch. But what impresses us greatly is the robustness and reliability of the timepiece. The newer Rolexes comes with a 5-year warranty, which is a testament to the quality of their timepieces. In fact, the author’s Rolex is more than 4 years old now, and it is still working perfectly fine despite occasional knocks and accidental mistreatment.
Having owned the Submariner for more than 4 years, the author might have a slight bias towards the timepiece. The Submariner ticks all the right boxes – the aesthetics, the robustness, the reliability, as well as the construction and build quality. It feels like a real solid tool watch, and one that you will have no qualms to wear it on your next diving trip. Or for any exploit for that matter, either to the boardroom or for sporting activities.
Besides that, the Submariner is a versatile and handsome watch. It is rather timeless in its appearance, and its simple design is great to pair with any attire. Some owners have even taken a step further by changing the stainless steel bracelet to NATO or leather straps to match their fashion style. However, we reckon the 114060 still looks best with the steel bracelet. In addition, the stainless steel bracelet is rather comfortable on the wrist as well, with the Glidelock extension system allowing the user to adjust the length of the strap slightly without having the need to include or remove a bracelet link.
Overall, we reckon that the Submariner is one of the essential pieces in any watch collection. It is not just a well-produced timepiece, but rather, it has already transcended itself into a horological icon. The Submariner (Reference 114060) is priced at S$10,030, and we think that it is definitely a timepiece that is worth its asking price.
Edited on 11 September for typo in Ref. no.