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Close-Up: Rolex’s New-Look Submariner (with Video)

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner 2012 - CUSubtle but significant redesign is the hallmark of the recently redesigned Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner. The watch retains the Submariner’s immediately recognizable look but dispenses with the date window of previous models and incorporates several new technical innovations exclusive to Rolex.

The watch’s unidirectional-rotating 60-minute graduated bezel is now enhanced with a black insert made of virtually scratchproof, non-fading, corrosion-resistant ceramic that Rolex calls Cerachrom. The graduations are coated in a PVD process with a thin layer of platinum. The hour markers and hands on the sleek, black dial are filled with Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight luminescent material, which emits a blue glow that the company claims lasts twice as long as that of other luminous substances used on watch dials.

The classical Oyster case of the new Submariner is 40 mm in diameter and water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters (1,000 feet). The case middle is crafted from a solid block of particularly corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel, and the fluted caseback is hermetically screwed down with a special tool exclusive to Rolex watchmakers. The winding crown, fitted with Rolex’s patented Triplock system, screws down securely against the case in a manner akin to a submarine’s hatch and is protected by a crown guard. The crystal is made of scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire. (Click on the watch photos to enlarge the images.)

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner 2012 - front angle

To view Rolex’s video of the new Submariner, click here.

The high-precision movement inside the highly water-resistant case, automatic Caliber 3130, is a COSC-certified chronometer entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. The movement’s oscillator has a hairspring made of blue Parachrom, a Rolex-patented alloy that is unaffected by magnetic fields and maintains stability and precision when exposed to temperature variations and shocks.

The new Oyster Perpetual Submariner is fitted with a solid-link Oyster bracelet in 904L steel. The bracelet includes a new-generation Oysterlock safety clasp and Glidelock extension system, located beneath the clasp cover, which allows fine adjustments of the bracelet length in 2-mm increments, for a total of approximately 20 mm, without using any tools. This feature allows the watch to be worn over a diving suit up to 3 mm thick, and also provides additional comfort on the wrist.

This newest generation of Rolex’s famous divers’ watch retails for $7,500.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner 2012 - CU

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner 2012 - CU crown

Technical characteristics:

Movement: Rolex manufacture Caliber 3130, with bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor; COSC-certified Swiss chronometer; frequency = 28,800 vph (4 Hz); paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring with Breguet overcoil; large balance wheel with variable inertia; high-precision regulation via four gold Microstella nuts; traversing balance bridge; 31 jewels; approximately 48-hour power reserve

Functions: Central hours, minutes and seconds; stop-seconds function for precise time-setting

Case and bracelet: 904L stainless steel Oyster case with monobloc middle case and screw-down caseback, satin and polished finishes; diameter = 40 mm; unidirectional rotating 60-minute graduated bezel with black Cerachrom insert with engraved numerals coated with platinum; Chromalight capsule at 12 o’clock; screw-down winding crown with Rolex fluting and Triplock triple water-resistance system; scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire crystal; water-resistant to 300 meters; on 904L steel Oyster bracelet with three-piece solid links (satin-finished with polished edges) and Glidelock extension system

Dial and hands: Black lacquer dial with Chromalight applique hour markers in 18k white gold; Chromalight hands in 18k white gold

Click below for a video of the new Rolex Submariner…

This article was originally published on July 9, 2012, and has been updated.

About Mark Bernardo

Mark Bernardo is the digital media editor of WatchTime magazine, responsible for developing and overseeing the editorial content on as well as for WatchTime's tablet editions for the iPad, Nook, and Kindle. As WatchTime's managing editor, from 2006 through 2011, he has written about numerous watch companies from major brands like Omega, TAG Heuer and Piaget, to exclusive artisan lines such as Jean Dunand, De Bethune and DeWitt. Prior to joining WatchTime, he was the editor of Smoke, a lifestyle magazine for cigar enthusiasts, whose beats included cigars, watches, cars, wines and spirits, celebrities, men's fashion, and other subjects, and has written about luxury items for a variety of men's-interest publications, including Robb Report, Robb Report Motorcycling, Stratos, Worth, and Bloomberg Markets.


  1. Fabrizio says:

    What a stunning watch i recently purchased the two tone sub 116613ln absolutely love it! I have several other watches Panerai, Tag Heuer, omega but the rolex is definitely my favorite.

  2. Quiksilva says:

    I confess, I\'ve never been attracted to many of the Rolex watches, but this model does appeal to me. It is definitely their best looking piece and better without that hideous date bubble. Unfortunately (along with a similarly priced IWC) it was just too much hype for the price in my opinion. I went for the slightly more expensive Planet Ocean in Titanium LM. For that little extra, I feel I got A LOT more watch and I have become a titanium convert as a result.
    I like the Sub, but it is rather ambitiously priced when you consider the competition. I\'d take a Pelagos Titanium first with the ETA any day.

  3. dennis says:

    Nice watch, well made, but all the people I know say it does not keep good time, even
    my jeweler who owns one. For the price I would pick up a Breitling and with the change
    get a Hamilton. I own many high end watches, Rolex datejust, Omega 300m, Deville to
    name a few, and my Rolex is not the best for keeping good time.

  4. Spiros says:

    In this part of the globe everybody wears a, faked or original, submariner. What about the Daytona? I\'m about to buy an original one of course but you don\'t see them often. Is there a reason I should know aboutt?

  5. Steve says:

    Just purchased new SS SubC great watch new glidelock clasp is awesome all solid links bezel engraved expensive but it\'s great to wear with jeans and tee the beach and at formal affair I\'ve had several Rolexes breitlings tag huaer citizens but the sub is the best

  6. Rolex Fan says:

    I wear my new Rolex Submariner date watch all the time. It\'s just perfect for me.

  7. Jack Madison says:

    Why would anyone want to know the date?

  8. Dino B says:

    Got 2012 as a gift from Ben Bridge.. The most beautiful, classy, timeless watch I\'ve ever had! I don\'t take it off, ever! $7000.00 well spent bc it feels great to walk out of house wearing..

  9. TheDave says:

    Great magazine.

    £37 wow. Certainly more than a weeks wages now, got stung over £5k for a GMT2c and don\'t earn £20k a month. Would be nice though! :)

  10. Radu says:

    A classic, if boring watch, in a less useful version, with a ridiculous MSRP: well done Rolex, keep... keepin\' on!

  11. John F says:

    I just bought it 2 weeks ago and love every moment wearing it, this is the original Submariner without date.
    Now I can rotate with my Deep Sea.

    • chet says:

      when you turn the bezel do you hear a click at every movement?

  12. Peter R says:

    I just bought a week ago the New Submariner 116610LN Black Dial DATE, it looks much better than these high resolution pics. I have owned several watches some more prestigious than others, Seiko, Orient Automatic, Gucci to name some. These brands were all good watches but nothing extraordinary, The Rolex Sub is simply AMAZING, this totally falls out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. I agree its pricey, BUT you get what you pay for, State of the art Manufacturing, Craftmanship, materials and details, The cerachrome Bezel engraved, the Glidelock adjustment,triple lock crown, 904L steel, 3135 Movement ( The best on the market ) i stayed away from this watch for 20 years, but I am so glad i made this decision, this is a watch that i will enjoy for decades and will leave it for the second generation in my family. I cannot wait to take it diving in my next trip to Roatan, The second larget Coral Reef in the world!

    • Escoses says:

      I\'m gutted - I got robbed at gunpoint in Brasil, and they took my cherished 2005 model Submariner.

      This watch above will be mine very, very shortly, - Its superb.

  13. Mo says:

    In the pics of the new submariner the word
    MADE looks bigger than SWISS maybe it\'s due
    To how they canter the words but it looks weird. Anybody else see that?

    • Maurice says:

      Yes I see that! But that is the case with all the models. If you analyze carefully though its centered to be exact in height.

    • Spiros says:

      Reason why you see it so it\'s because of the extreme close up and the angle the picture was taken. Still I\'m surprised that the guys in Rolex did not bother to correct it. After all it is not difficult to do so but now a days marketeers have no respect nor knowledge. Ignore the picture and if you can afford to buy the watch, do so and enjoy it !

  14. MrTissot says:

    I will eventually buy a Rolex Submariner with date, my favorite model. I don\'t like the \'no date\' models.

    • Peter R says:

      Do it, it is absolutely an amazing watch, and better do it before it price jumps another 500 $ US like it just did in June, this watch is just a State of the Art watch.

  15. horologic says:

    28,800 = 8 hz not 4 !!!!

  16. Mark says:

    Did Rolex give an explanation on why they got rid of the date?

    • Ryanjames says:

      It doesn\'t have a date because it\'s an update of the 14060m ( no date) submariner that\'s why.

    • Mark says:

      They didn\'t this is replacing the 14060M. The model with the date is 116610.

  17. WatchTime on Facebook says:

    Julio and Jeffrey, make sure to send us a photo of yourselves wearing your favorite watch (or watches). Send the photo as a high-res jpeg file to - and it\'ll appear in our FaceTime section on and on our Pinterest site.

  18. Julio Venegas on Facebook says:

    I have a few but my gmt is my best watch. I have a true -glo on a nato strap with t25, a deep blue with t100 tritium gas tubes, a seiko monster diver watch a couple of solar watches :-)

  19. Jeffrey J. McClain on Facebook says:

    I recently purchased a Rolex GMT II, I also own a Rolex Pres, Omega Seamaster Deville, Fredrique Constant Healy. Looking at purchasing Doxa, Omega Planet ocean or Glashutte for water sport purpose......

  20. WatchTime on Facebook says:

    Very good, Julio. Do you like the watch? Which other watches do you own?

  21. Julio Venegas on Facebook says:

    I have a GMT iiC two tone

  22. WatchTime on Facebook says:

    Jeffrey, which Rolex did you buy?

  23. Bill says:

    Lovely watch but then it aught to be for the price. I brought a Rolex Oyster, manual, new in 1972 for £37, which was about a week\'s wages then for a fitter. Since then Rolex have been very successful in hyping their brand to the extent where it has become a rich man\'s bauble only, what a shame (with Omega going the same way). Thank goodness for Seiko, Oris, Longines etc who can still produce good watches without costing a small fortune. Great magazine by the way and I look forward to every issue here in dear old Blighty. Keep it up!!

  24. Jeffrey J. McClain on Facebook says:

    I feel another Rolex purchase coming on......

  25. Julio Venegas on Facebook says:

    Next year mmmmm

  26. Funkright says:

    No date no go.. Too bad. Other than that I like..

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