The Internet Reacts – Varied opinions on the new Rolex Submariner
The Swiss watchmaking industry has soldiered on despite the savaging winds of the Covid-19 pandemic. While many brands over the course of the months gradually released their 2020 novelties, there was one that was notably missing, one that if you ask a ‘normal person’ — not a watch addict like us — randomly on the streets would say its name by default.
Call it the legacy of producing exceptional, almost bulletproof workhorse timepieces, call it marketing genius, or call it courtesy Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, Rolex is a household name, and for good reason.
But uneasy lies the head that wears the crown they say. Did Rolex do justice with their novelties in 2020?
Out of all their releases our favourite is the re-worked entry-level Oyster Perpetual collection introduced in a new size of 41mm diameter and a plethora of vibrant colours. This release itself hasn’t gathered much opinion-based commentary by the reviewers, but has gained a fair amount of traction of social media and forums, particularly when it comes to the discontinuation of 39mm diameter OP and the use of double batons. Looking at the ‘ /rolex’ thread on reddit, there’s a lot of hate on the double batons, going so far as to edit them off. Here’s some links to the more interesting ones: Thread 1, thread 2, thread 3, thread 4, thread 5. Personally, we like the increased size, and the double batons; it’s a slight tweak on their part, and given the increased diameter, we reckon the double indices complement the geometry of the dial.
But there was one set of releases that got every collector’s, enthusiast’s and unfortunately grey market flipper’s attention. That is the new Rolex Submariner collection.
Before we progress further, we would like to state that this feature is going to be a bit different; we aren’t exactly reviewing the new Rolex Submariner. We’re a little late to the party after all. But with everyone covering the new Rolex Submariner 41mm from Forbes to Hypebeast, from Esquire to Man of Many, we didn’t really feel like there was much else to say. The reviews based on press releases have been done to death, deserving so, for the watch is THE watch, and we would have nothing new to add at this stage. Once we can get the opportunity to go hands-on with the collection, we would then do a detailed review.
Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to in a way summarise what the horology world is saying about it.
Allow us to continue this by posing a rather simple but twisted in so many ways question: what do you think are your chances of getting a new Rolex Submariner 41mm in your lifetime?
For the uninitiated to the horological world it may seem ridiculous that a stereotypical looking tool watch — it is the father of all modern dive watches, apologies to Blancpain as the average bloke thinks of Sub as the model that broke the mould — could be so coveted that the minute it has been sold for retail — although we believe retail is a myth in the world of Rolex — its value skyrockets and many watch flippers will sell it for quite a profit.
The answer to the above question is not simple, and one that would take up more retail space that what this website can offer. But the reality is that many people won’t even get the chance to see one, let alone own one.
Sad, yes. Unfortunate, yes. Very real, yes.
There’s no denying that the Submariner is a marvel, a truly great grail watch to accompany on the journey called life. The collection, especially in steel, has achieved a legendary status that other timepieces could only ever dream of. In fact, it is the horological definition of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. So when in 2020 Rolex decides to go ahead and change a few details about the watch, there are of course going to be judgments and comments galore.
Whilst reactions are mostly very similar (overwhelmingly positive), here are some of the different opinions going around about Rolex’s new Submariner.
Hair Splitting – That 1mm
Everyone’s going up in arms about the 1mm difference. The existing Submariners until September 1 and now discontinued had been encased inside a 40mm diameter steel body. The new 2020 versions appear in a larger 41mm diameter case.
WYGDAI take: It’s only 1mm people, get over it. It’s still looks good, gets the job done and is still iconic. Unfortunately we haven’t held these in person yet, so we can’t say for sure, but given the slightly midfield case dimensions and the use of thinner lugs, the new 41mm versions seem to wear slower, albeit featuring the same presence as the 40mm versions. I am of course going according to some of the video reviews out there, but from what I can tell, thanks to the updated case architecture the new Sub still looks the part.
To Date or Not to Date
All of the colour — in the form of bezel — introduced has been only on the ‘date’ options, leaving the time only version monochromatic.
Hodinkee points out that the whole collection of new submariners really leans towards the date option with only the all black dial and bezel option offering no date. Both Hodinkee and Esquire note that the no date option is for purists, hence why Rolex has only given the date option on all the other colour/material varieties.
WYGDAI take: Our two cents on the uniformity of the black dials across these new sports watch releases, and the discontinuation of the blue dial/bezel ‘Smurf’ Submariner are simply this – Rolex through Tudor just released the BB 58 Blue in steel. We think it’s only good business sense to not cut through Tudor’s market by introducing a Rolex counterpart. Plus, if you come to think of it, it might be easier and cheaper to make all black dials rather than multi-coloured ones. In terms of no date, to us, the original Sub with no date in black dial will always be the classic. Nothing beats that and we are glad Rolex did not discontinue that monochromatic masterpiece.
They Marie Kondo’d This Watch
WYGDAI take: We like to think that the designers at Rolex got swept away in the KonMari decluttering trend. Personally, we like the new look. Joseph being an architect always likes the idea of less is more anyway.
When people know your next move before even you do
This was much anticipated and hotly debated if you scour the forums, social media comments and review websites: Consensus is that perhaps Rolex is perhaps getting too predictable?
We can’t even link to all the articles that mentioned this fact because most did. It’s undeniable that everybody could see the update was coming due to Rolex gradually updating all its models – and the Submariner tuneup was well overdue.
WYGDAI take: The green bezel ‘Kermit’ took us by surprise, and so did the ‘Stella’ dial reincarnations of the Oyster Perpetual 41s. Nothing predictable here, at least for us.
A Rose By Any Other Name…
Rolex sports watches have a history of being allocated nicknames, often after beverages or popular culture references. The names Hulk, Smurf, Batman, Pepsi and Root Bear immediately spring to mind. We wouldn’t then be surprised if the new versions were given nicknames too.
Hypebeast wants to call them the “Starbucks” and “BMW” subs. Someone also suggested Cookie Monster, which is our personal favourite so far.
WYGDAI take: We reckon these nicknames bring a certain sense of casual fun to the idea of watch collecting, and we appreciate that. The new Rolex Submariner ref. 126610LV with the green bezel is very similar to a discontinued model known as the Kermit; will this be called Kermit 2.0 or something new?
More from the Internet
There’s a whole host of more opinions from notable experts from the horology world on Gear Patrol’s article while Watchadvice was taken by surprise; they were expecting the release of a blue bezel on a steel watch from the teaser, but the reality was that the blue colour was once again in white gold.
Sick of opinions?
Tired of these varied opinions? Just wish to peruse a feature with specifications? If you are looking for a really extensive and detailed article about the new Rolex Submariner 41mm without much opinion thrown in (if so, why are you reading this article? It’s literally titled “Varied opinions…”) then you should have a gander at Revolution’s article on the new Sub. Well written and highly recommended.
The Wrap until we get hands-on
As we stated earlier in this article, this wasn’t going to be a review of the new Rolex Submariner. It however, does intend to get those brain cells working again, hopefully helping you love this watch for the right reasons. It deserves that.
We dedicate this piece to those who genuinely love this watch, and to the genius of the brand.
The Submariner really is very close to the definition of the ideal grail watch. It’s a solid tool watch that will continue to not only work as intended but also rise higher in fame. Akin to Hermès Birkin bags, Rolex has a winning formula on their hands.
Time will not tell whether this update on the new Rolex Submariner is worthwhile; it was a success even before it was announced.
After all, why tinker with perfection?
All images are courtesy Copyright © Rolex unless otherwise stated.