This month sees Rolex introduce several new models to their existing collections, including the reintroduction of familiar faces. By the 1940s, Rolex had claimed its place as one of the key designers of divers watches and for deep-sea explorers. It began with the development of the Oyster case back in the 20s that was special due to its screw down design, making it the first waterproof case in horology history, and continued with the introduction of the Aqualung in the 40s.
From there the brand turned to creating pieces suited for the sea, and in the 1950s, the brand began an experimental process that involved many successful collaborations with diving pioneers. The experiments carried out and subsequent technical advances led to the introduction in 1953 of the Submariner, the first divers’ wristwatch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres and then 200 metres a year later.
The watch was soon fitted with other technical innovations, such as a luminescent disc on the hour hand to clearly distinguish it from the minute hand, and a crown guard. In 1969, Rolex unveiled the Submariner Date, adding the date function. Its waterproofness, then guaranteed to 200 metres, was extended in 1979 to a depth of 300 metres. The waterproofness of the Submariner achieved the same depth in 1989, making it one of the most highly prized diving watches one could purchase at the time.
Over time, however, the appeal of these timepieces widened and the watches are just as popular on land as they are in the sea. This is why Rolex has extended the Submariner family to include a new generation of watches.
The Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date both feature a redesigned, slightly larger 41 mm case – whose profile is highlighted by the light reflections from the case sides and lugs– and are fitted on a remodelled bracelet.
They are equipped with movements at the forefront of watchmaking technology – the Submariner with calibre 3230, unveiled by the brand this year, and the Submariner Date with calibre 3235, offering both time and date functions, and used in the Submariner range for the first time.
True to its aesthetic heritage, the new Submariner in Oystersteel has a black dial and rotatable bezel with matching Cerachrom insert. A yellow Rolesor version, combining Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold, of the Submariner Date presents a royal blue dial with a rotatable bezel and a blue Cerachrom insert.
Two versions of the Submariner Date, one in Oystersteel and the other in 18 ct white gold, bring distinctive colour combinations, with the dial and Cerachrom insert in different hues. The first watch blends a black dial with a green bezel, while the second proposes a black dial and a blue bezel. The former, is what is known in the watch world as a reincarnation of the ‘Kermit’, a timepiece that has become a cult favourite amongst watch collectors.
Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date carry the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
When diving, being able to read the time with absolute certainty is a matter of survival. Therefore, the dial of the Submariner and Submariner Date is designed to be clean and unambiguous. The hour and minute hands, clearly differentiated in size and shape, and the hour markers in simple geometric forms– triangles, circles and rectangles – enable instant and reliable reading, preventing any risk of confusion underwater.
The Submariner and Submariner Date also feature a Chromalight display: the hands and hour markers are coated or filled with a luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in dark conditions. On the bezel, the triangular zero marker is also visible in darkness thanks to a capsule containing the same luminescent material.
Rolex played a pioneering role in the development of special ceramics for creating monobloc bezels and bezel inserts. Not only are these materials virtually scratchproof, their colours are also of a rare intensity and are resistant to environmental effects.
Rolex has developed exclusive expertise and innovative manufacturing methods that grant it complete independence in the production of these ceramic components.
On these versions of the Submariner and Submariner Date, the unidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in black, green or blue ceramic that allows divers to confidently monitor their dive times. The moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum or yellow gold via PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition). The bezel’s knurled edge offers excellent grip, to comfortably set dive time even when wearing gloves.
Rolesor, the combination of 18 ct gold and Oystersteel on a Rolex watch, has been a signature feature of the brand since 1933, when the name was registered. It is a meeting of two metals: one, noble and precious, attractive for its lustre and stability; the other, known for its resistance to corrosion,ensures strength and reliability. All of these qualities perfectly mirror the elegance and performance that come together in a Rolex watch.
On the yellow Rolesor version of the Submariner Date, the bezel, winding crown and centre links of the bracelet are in 18 ct yellow gold, while the case and outer links of the bracelet are in Oystersteel. A paragon of robustness and reliability, the Oyster case of the Submariner and Submariner Date is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 300 metres. Itsmiddle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy, or from 18 ct white gold. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproofness system,screws down securely against the case and is protected by an integral crown guard.
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. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the watch’s movement.
The new-generation Submariner and Submariner Date are equipped respectively with calibre 3230 – launched this year – and calibre 3235, movements entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. At the forefront of watchmaking technology, these self-winding mechanical movements led to the filing of several patents, and offer fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
Calibres 3230 and 3235 incorporate the Chronergy escapement, patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic fields. The movements are fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibres’ regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolexdesigned and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movements’ shock resistance. Both calibres are equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor.
Thanks to their barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the movements’ power reserve extends to approximately 70 hours. These versions of the Submariner and Submariner Date are fitted with an Oyster bracelet. Developed at the end of the 1930s,this three-piece link bracelet is known for its robustness.
The Oyster bracelet on these new versions is equipped with a Rolex-designed and -patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening. It also features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, designed and patented by the brand.
This particularly inventive mechanism comprises a rack located under the clasp cover and a toothed sliding link that locks into the chosen notch. The Rolex Glidelock on the Oyster bracelet has 10 notches of approximately 2 mm, allowing the length of the bracelet to be adjusted easily, and without tools, up to some 20 mm.
On the 18 ct white gold version of the Submariner Date, the Oyster bracelet includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility and longevity. In addition, a concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.
Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Submariner Date are covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by
Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria. These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2 /+2 seconds per day, or more than twice that required of an official chronometer.
The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.