Rolex releases a new (and improved) Submariner
Rolex has finally introduced its long-awaited new 2020 lineup, including new Submariner and Submariner Date models. Following a delay to its annual product launch, due to Covid-19 restrictions causing temporary factory closures, the focus of the luxury Swiss watch brand is on its iconic dive watch, which is reintroduced with subtle upgrades.
The redesigned Submariner (Ref. 124060) and Submariner Date (Ref. 126610), which will replace the existing models, have slightly larger 41mm cases and remodeled bracelets. The major update however, comes under the hood with the collection sporting new movements, calibre 3230 for the Submariner, and 3235 for the Submariner Date, both state-of-the-art Rolex movements that are being used in the Submariner for the first time.
Since Rolex first invented the first waterproof watch —the Rolex Oyster—in 1926, there have been plenty of contenders that qualify as class leading dive watches, but few hold the functional and aesthetic credibility as the Rolex Submariner.
Introduced in 1953, in all its simplicity remains the quintessential aquatic example of form following function. While not new to the underwater world, Rolex’ introduction of the Submariner was to be the first commercial watch that could dive 100 metres underwater.
Rolex executive Rene-Paul Jeanerret happened to be an amateur diver, and friend of none other than legendary aquatic explorer Jacques Cousteau. The story goes that Jeanerret convinced Rolex president Hans Wilsdorf it was time to invest seriously in a watch made specifically for divers—and the rest, they say, is history.
The watch is designed for plummeting to the bottom of the sea (or at least 330 metres into it), and not just by being waterproof. Instead of numbers, hour markers come in large easy-todifferentiate shapes—an arrow at 12-o-clock and rectangles every third hour. The hour markers are also made with a material that lights up, angler fish-style. The rotating bezel lets a diver know how long they’ve been submerged. One sign that Rolex got it all right: the general Submariner design has been the inspiration for basically every diver’s watch that’s come after it.
Now, thanks to its illustrious history, the Submariner may be one of the most instantly recognizable watches in the world. Starting in the late ’60s, Rolex introduced colour to the Submariner, producing gold versions with deep-blue dials. Today, “Hulk”green versions of the Sub are driving collectors crazy. All this leads to the fever pitch around this month’s introduction of the newest generation of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Submariner, and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date—offering a slightly larger 41mm case and a remodeled bracelet.
So while not daring to mess with what is generally considered ‘aesthetic perfection’, the new pieces 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. These self-winding mechanical movements offer fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability—with a power reserve that extends its life to approximately 70 hours.
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.
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