Cover Photo: Alain Costa/Rolex

Arguably the world’s most celebrated divers’ watch, Rolex’s Submariner gets a facelift—and Tatler gets an exclusive first look

There’s always one watch release each year that gets collectors all hot and bothered, and that release usually comes from Rolex. Not one to disappoint, for 2020 the watchmaker has launched the new generation of its Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date, which are two of the coolest divers’ watch collections the world has ever seen (even the King, Elvis Presley, was spotted wearing one). And what’s more, these new Submariners don’t cost a fortune. Rolex has plenty of bank-busting timepieces that sit within the top tier of haute horologerie, but the new no-date Submariner can be yours for CHF 7,700.

Launched in 1953, the Submariner was the first divers’ wristwatch that was waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The Submariner Date, which comes with a date function in addition to the time, was introduced in 1969, and both watches were gradually upgraded to a waterproof depth of 300 metres (1,000 feet).

Historically speaking, the Submariner is particularly special for Rolex because it’s the brand’s first modern divers’ watch. It’s been worn by Hollywood actors, sports legends and pretty much every other set of noteworthy people you can think of. So what’s different about the new Submariner and Submariner Date? Each features a slightly larger case size of 41 mm (previous Submariners measure 40 mm) and an Oyster bracelet that comes with a broader centre link.

Unveiled earlier this year, the Calibre 3230 powers the new no-date Submariner, and the 2020 Submariner Date is equipped with the Calibre 3235. It’s the first time the Calibre 3235 has been incorporated into the Submariner range, and both movements are entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex.

Like its predecessors, the new Submariner comes in Oystersteel (among other versions), an alloy specially developed by the watchmaker, and has a black dial and rotatable bezel with a Cerachrom insert in black ceramic, which is virtually scratchproof and unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The bezel’s knurled edges offer excellent grip, so that divers are able to set the time even while wearing gloves. Meanwhile, three new versions of the Submariner Date come with different coloured Cerachrom bezels. Collectors can choose between an Oystersteel model with a black dial and green bezel or an 18-karat white gold model with a black dial and blue bezel. A yellow Rolesor with a blue dial and blue bezel is also on offer.

The hands and hour markers, as well as other display elements, are coated with Chromalight, an innovative luminescent material, which emits a long-lasting blue glow in the dark. Like all Rolex watches, these new releases carry the Superlative Chronometer certification, which guarantees their excellent performance. When it comes to taking past models and refining them to a higher standard, no brand wears that crown more proudly than Rolex.

See also: August 2020: What's New In Watches

4 Things You Need To Know About The New Rolex Submariner

1. Case

Made using Rolex’s patented Oystersteel or white gold, the Oyster case ensures waterproofing to a depth of 300 metres (1,000 feet). This is thanks to the case’s Triplock winding crown, which was introduced by Rolex in 1970. 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.

2. Movement

Equipped with Calibres 3230 and 3235 respectively, the Submariner and Submariner Date incorporate Rolex’s Chronergy escapement, which improves the watch’s energy efficiency. Made of nickel-phosphorus, the Chronergy is resistant to magnetic fields. The blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex, is up to ten times more precise than a traditional hairspring, which protects the movement against shock. Rolex-designed Paraflex shock absorbers are also fitted on the balance and escapement wheel. Power reserve extends to approximately 70 hours.

3. Dial

The ability to read the time with absolute certainty is essential to divers. The hour and minute hands are clearly differentiated in size and shape and the hour markers are simple geometric forms, enabling instant and reliable reading and preventing the risk of confusion underwater. The hour and hand markers, as well as other display elements, are additionally coated with Chromalight so that they are more visible in dark environments.

4. Bracelet

The three-piece link Oyster bracelet was first developed in the 1930s and, on these new Submariner designs, is equipped with a Rolex-patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp to prevent accidental opening. The bracelet also features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, which allows the length of the bracelet to be adjusted easily and without tools. On the 18-karat white gold version of the Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date, the bracelet includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility, and a concealed attachment system to ensure seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.

See also: Why The Rolex Explorer I Is The Ideal Luxury Watch For Travel

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