Cover Oyster Perpetual Submariner

This week, Jewels & Time 2020 talks about "Everyday Heroes", casting the spotlight on this year's workhorse watches. Rolex has decided that it’s time to upsize its Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date—and give them a whisper-shout overhaul at the same time

There is arguably no brand that revamps its watches better than Rolex. Here, changes are measured in millimetres and fractions thereof, and every change is taken with utmost gravitas. This tack was illustrated most clearly in its recently re-invigorated Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date watches, which were this year alongside its other novelties.

At first glance, it looks as though (colours aside) the new versions of the Submariner and Submariner Date barely differ from the older versions—but as always with Rolex, the devil is in the details. The watches were upsized from 40mm to 41mm in diameter, the largest they have ever measured since the Submariner was first launched in 1953. But Rolex didn’t merely slap on a larger case and call it a day—it also slimmed the watches’ lugs and widened the bracelet ever so slightly in order to give them more harmonious proportions and most comfortable wear possible.

(Related: How The Iconic Rolex Submariner Became Synonymous With Sean Connery)

Subtle changes were also made to the dial and hands, with some changes presumably made for aesthetics and others for legibility. For instance, there is now a five-pointed Rolex crown on between the words “Swiss” and “made” at six o’clock—to denote the upgrade to a new-generation movement. The enlarged hands are to match the larger case size and for better legibility. As we said, the devil is in the details.

In terms of colours and case materials, the revamped collection sees only one iteration of the Submariner and seven of the Submariner Date. The Submariner is available only in Rolex’s proprietary Oystersteel, with a black dial and bezel. The Submariner Date, on the other hand, has two references in Oystersteel—both have black dials, but one with a black bezel and the other a green bezel.

There are also two yellow Rolesor (combining Oystersteel and yellow gold) references, as well as two yellow gold versions—one bears a royal blue dial and bezel while the other features a black dial and bezel. Finally, there is a white gold reference with a black dial and blue bezel.

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Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date
Above Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date

The revamp was also not purely focused on aesthetics. The new generations of the Submariner and Submariner Date are also both equipped with new proprietary movements. The Submariner debuts the completely new calibre 3230, while the Submariner Date houses the calibre 3235, which was launched in 2017.

Both movements incorporate the brand’s patented Chronergy escapement, which is energy efficient, reliable, and insensitive to magnetic fields. The movements both have an impressive power reserve of 70 hours, a significant increase from the previous 48 hours. In terms of accuracy, both have been stamped with Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer certification, which indicates that it has gone through Rolex’s stringent internal series of tests for precision, power reserve, and water resistance. 

Editor Says: While Rolex’s overhaul of its Submariner and Submariner Date watches might have seemed minimal at first, the reality is that a great amount of thought, care, and technical expertise has gone into each aspect of the watch. And that is why Rolex is one of the most highly respected watch brands in the world. Oh, did I mention that the Submariner Date with the green bezel looks very tempting?