As of 2020, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner with no date display, which many view as the archetypal dive watch, is slightly larger and has an updated movement yet remains true to its original design. This is our first encounter with the new watch.
We had to wait a long time for the latest Rolex innovations in 2020. Rolex presented a new generation of Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date watches in September. These timepieces are slightly larger and are now equipped with new movements — the Submariner has the recently unveiled Caliber 3230 and the new Submariner Date versions are using the Caliber 3235 for the first time. The Submariner Date offers a surprising array of color combinations while the Submariner with no date display stays true to its original design. We were able to preview the new Submariner shortly after its introduction.
Upgraded Details Result in New Proportions
If you think a Rolex innovation means a revolution, you’ll be mistaken. But the Submariner has been modified so that the sum of the various details has resulted in a new watch. The diameter of the watch has grown from 40 mm to 41 mm, or more precisely, from 40.6 mm to 41.36 mm, measured across the diagonal from 2 to 8 o’clock. The crown guards and lugs are slimmer, but this has increased the lug width by a whole millimeter, to 21 mm.
These seemingly minor upgrades have changed the proportions of the entire watch — including the main body of the case, bezel, dial and bracelet. This means you’re looking at an entirely new model. If you place the new Oyster Perpetual Submariner next to its predecessor (which is being discontinued) the changes become apparent. The new Submariner looks much more than just a millimeter larger than the older version, which is due to the numerous modifications of even the tiniest detail.
Not quite so apparent is the new in-house self-winding movement, Caliber 3230, because just as with any Rolex watch, it is covered by a finely grooved caseback that is screwed down hermetically with a special key, and which can only be opened by a Rolex-authorized watchmaker. The difference in the Caliber 3235 is that there is no date display on the Submariner dial.
Otherwise all other features are the same. The new Submariner is equipped with a Rolex-patented, innovative Chronergy escapement, made from a nickel-phosphorous alloy. It provides superior functional reliability with high energy efficiency and is resistant to the effects of magnetic fields. The movement also has an optimized version of the Rolex Parachrom hairspring.
Rolex produces the hairspring in-house from a paramagnetic alloy, which makes it up to 10 times more precise than conventional hairsprings. It also has a special Rolex overcoil that ensures a stable rate in all positions. The oscillator is supported by the excellent Rolex- designed and patented Paraflex antishock system. Thanks to the higher efficiency of the escapement and barrel design, both the Caliber 3230 and the Caliber 3235 have a power reserve of 70 hours. In addition to the chronometer test from COSC, the watch must also pass the strict internal Rolex test for a “Superlative Chronometer” which, according to the current specifications from 2015, permits a deviation of no more than 2 seconds per day.
The Submariner comes from a time when dive watches were used more for professional applications than for recreational diving. For this reason, they remain true to their original appeal today — since reading the time clearly during a dive is a matter of life and death. The clear and simple Submariner dial has therefore remained unchanged. The hour and minutes hands are adapted from the Rolex Deepsea and are distinct from one another in order to prevent any confusion. The triangle, circle and rectangle markers are designed to provide orientation and increased legibility, and to prevent possible mistakes underwater or on dry ground. The hands and markers are coated with Rolex Chromalight luminous material and glow bright blue in the dark. The prominent dot at the end of the seconds hand serves as a function check and is also luminescent. In addition, the zero marker on the dive bezel is also filled with the same luminous material to provide better orientation when setting dive times.
The Dive Watch Stands Out with Technical Features
The bezel ratchets perfectly, counterclockwise, in crisp half-minute increments. Deeply knurled grooves around the edge provide a secure grip for wet hands or diving gloves. The rotating ring has a numerical Cerachrom insert made of a special black ceramic. The recessed numerals and markers on the 60-minute track are coated with a thin layer of platinum using a PVD process. Rolex developed expertise and an innovative manufacturing process to create a sturdy, color-saturated and extremely scratch-resistant special ceramic for the production of monobloc bezels and tracks, and now has its own fully independent production of ceramic components.
The bezel with its ceramic insert is part of the sturdy Oyster case for which Rolex guarantees a pressure resistance of 30 bar, corresponding to a water depth of 300 meters. It is the epitome of durability and reliability. Its case frame is manufactured from a single block of stainless steel that is extraordinarily resistant to corrosion, which Rolex calls “Oystersteel.” In addition to the hermetically sealed caseback, the Triplock winding crown also ensures the specified water resistance with its triple seal, screw-down design and protective crown guards. The top crystal is made of scratch-resistant sapphire. The Submariner Date adds a cyclops magnifier at 3 o’clock for enhanced legibility of the date.
The new Submariner is equipped with an Oyster bracelet, including its patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp and Glidelock extension system, which allows the bracelet to be simply extended up to 20 mm using a 10-step sliding element. So much perfection needs no revolution to remain the undisputed standard among dive watches.
Manufacturer: Rolex S.A., Rue François Dussaud 3-5, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Reference number: 124060
Functions: Hours, minutes, center sweep seconds, dive bezel
Movement: Rolex Caliber 3230, automatic, chronometer, 28,800 vph, 31 jewels, Paraflex shock absorber, Rolex paramagnetic balance with four gold Microstella adjusting screws, blue Parachrom paramagnetic hairspring, COSC certification, Rolex Superlative Chronometer quality seal (+/- 2 seconds per day after casing), 70-hour power reserve, diameter = 29.3 mm, height = 6.20 mm
Case: Oystersteel, bezel with Cerachrom insert, sapphire crystal above dial, water resistant to 300 meters
Bracelet and clasp: Oystersteel bracelet with Oysterlock safety folding clasp with Glidelock extension
Dimensions: Diameter = 41.36 mm, lug width = 21 mm integrated, height = 12.40 mm
Variations: Versions of the Submariner Date (details here )