Review: Rolex Submariner Ref. 126619LB – Luxury And Utility As One

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Rolex Submariner Ref. 126619LB

The Rolex Submariner is a watch that needs no introduction. Today, it is not only the most well-known diver wristwatch, but arguably also the most recognisable sports watch in the world. We’d even be willing to go as far as saying that it is the face of modern day luxury watches. While the success of the timepiece is due in no small part to the Rolex branding, let’s not kid ourselves – the Submariner is a solid, reliable watch. The watch is ingeniously engineered and precisely built. It benefits from utility and versatility as much as being a status symbol.

Countless variations of the Submariner have come and gone over the decades and yet customer demand has never been greater. Just a few months ago, another new iteration of the Submariner was introduced by Rolex. As always, the changes are subtle yet worth noting. Apart from a ‘new’ colour combination, there’s also a change in size and an upgrade to the movement. While this isn’t earth-shattering news, relatively speaking, the new Submariner does look great and technical updates are key to ensuring longevity. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the new Rolex Submariner Ref. 126619LB in white gold with blue bezel.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The new Rolex Submariner features a minor increase in case size, from 40 mm to 41 mm. Unless you’re a Submariner purist, this change is minimally impactful. Some claim that this size increase has improved comfort but let’s be honest, the preceding versions were already plenty comfortable. What’s more substantial is the difference in heft compared to the more popular stainless steel versions of the Submariner. The new Ref. 126619LB is rendered fully in white gold, from case to bracelet, and it is heavy. For those who prefer to stay low-key, the good news is that while full white gold watches carry a distinctly luxurious weight to them, they are hard to tell apart from their stainless steel counterparts visually. Another point worth noting is that the lugs are now minutely slimmer and further apart, meaning the bracelet is also a tiny bit broader, which would explain the perceived increase in comfort by wearers. The clasp used is the trusty folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Glidelock extension system. The most striking part of the watch is unapologetically the bezel. Compared to the standard black bezel, the blue bezel in the new Ref. 126619LB definitely stands out more. It is still made of the same, familiar stuff: scratch-resistant Cerachrom.

The Submariner may lack the touch of an artisan but that does not diminish its good looks. The watch is impeccably designed, manufactured and machined.

The dial of the Ref. 126619LB is executed in the Submariner’s classic colour of black. When it comes to dive watches, a black dial improves underwater legibility. The dial’s luminescent Chromalight display further increases visibility in dark environments. Hour markers in simple shapes – triangles, circles, rectangles – and broad hour and minute hands enable instant and reliable reading to prevent any risk of confusion underwater. At 3 o’clock is perhaps the only non-diving-related feature of the dial: the date display with cyclops lens.

The Movement

Driving the Rolex Submariner Ref. 126619LB is the manufacture Calibre 3235, a movement that is new to the Submariner but already used in other sports models. The Calibre 3235 is a new generation movement that is equipped with upgrades (resulting in numerous patents) over its predecessor. The single most important innovation found within is the new Chronergy escapement which is summarily more efficient, translating to reduced energy loss. A significant proportion of the increased power reserve of the Calibre 3235 (from two days to three days power reserve) can be credited to the Chronergy escapement alone. The Calibre 3235 is also COSC certified and deemed a chronometer precise to -2/+2 sec/day after casing. As with most Rolex timepieces, the movement is not normally visible because of the solid case back. Movement finissage isn’t the watch’s strong suit so there isn’t much of an incentive to have an exhibition case back. That said, the movement is finished to the extent of allowing optimal functioning, which is always the goal of every Rolex movement.

The Competitive Landscape

The Rolex Submariner is so immensely popular that it’s hard not to mention it first and foremost when dive watches are discussed. Apart from its incredible value retention in the market, its popularity is also due to its infallible design and construction, as well as praiseworthy technical specifications. The Ref. 126619LB in full white gold isn’t going to be as in-demand as its stainless steel brethren (partly because it is significantly costlier) but that doesn’t make it any less of a Submariner. The Ref. 126619LB is priced at a cool USD39,650.

In spite of its weight, the Submariner Ref. 126619LB is supremely comfortable on the wrist thanks in no small part to the remarkable Oyster bracelet.

If queueing to buy a Submariner isn’t your thing, then look no further than Blancpain’s legendary Fifty Fathoms line. This year’s most talked about Fifty Fathoms timepiece is the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad. The original Fifty Fathoms No Rad watch was first introduced in the mid-1960s as a diving instrument used by German Navy’s Combat Swimmers. It had the characteristic feature of being stamped with a “no radiations” logo indicating that Blancpain was not using luminescent materials composed of radium. The tribute piece, Ref. 5008D-1130-B64A, is produced in a limited series of 500 pieces and priced at SGD19,500.

The Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad

Another household name in the dive watch stable is Panerai. Introduced in 2019, the PAM00959 is the most basic of Panerai’s Submersibles. Like the Rolex Submariner, it has a depth rating of 300 m and unidirectional rotating bezel, making it a true dive watch. Even when it is not used for its utility, the PAM00959 makes for an excellent daily beater, as we have noted here. Being crafted in stainless steel, you can expect the watch to cost less than the full gold Rolex Submariner; the price is SGD14,000.

The Panerai Submersible PAM00959

Concluding Thoughts

Whether you love to hate it, or hate to love it, the fact remains that the Rolex Submariner is king. Be it in marketing, construction, function or design, the Submariner has long been set on a path of excellence. The new Ref. 126619LB is perfect for those who want to stay incognito (in relative terms) while experiencing the heft of a gold luxury watch. It’s unlikely that anyone who purchases a full gold Submariner is going to use it for diving, but that’s the beauty of the watch – it works just as well as a casual, daily timepiece.

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