Rolex Submariner watch Strap
Rolex is not a brand known for producing a lot of models and changing them often. Like Apple, Rolex strategically offers a narrow, premium product line, and press and Rolex fans eagerly line up every year at Baselworld to see what novelties the brand will bestow upon them. There are never many, so each one is special. For a brand whose portfolio features so many iconic timepieces, even minor modifications can become dramatic events to collectors.
From 1989 until 2012, Rolex produced a no-date Submariner reference 14060 (1989-1999) and 14060M (1999-2012). The primary difference between the 14060 and the 14060M was that the former used a caliber 3000 movement while the latter housed a 3130 featuring a full balance bridge. In 2012, Rolex updated what is perhaps the most important, recognizable and imitated sports watch in the world. The new no-date Submariner, reference 114060, boasts a modified case design, a ceramic bezel and a spiffy new oyster bracelet with Rolex-patented GlideLock technology.
Since its introduction in 1954 at Basel, the Submariner has undergone more enhancements over the years than some other watches in the history books, like the Omega Speedmaster. The (non co-axial) Speedmaster itself is still produced by Omega and has seen subtle improvements throughout the decades to meet modern expectations. However, Omega never stepped far beyond introducing a sapphire crystal. Although, sapphire is merely an alternative because the standard Moonwatch still comes with a Hesalite lens. Unlike a Speedmaster, it’s a stretch to suggest that today’s Submariner directly resembles its mid-century lineage, and Rolex doesn’t keep heritage models running in parallel with contemporary ones. But that’s not necessarily a problem. For one, that makes the vintage models so much more collectable.
On the other hand, technology advances, tastes evolve and the market responds accordingly. It’s easy to hate change. I’m not a vintage purist, and I believe that a lot of watch brands, Rolex included, still make incredible watches today. When it comes to the 114060, though, I think a question on a lot of diehard Rolex collectors’ minds is: how much can you change an icon before it’s no longer an icon?
Subtle case changes make a big difference
The Rolex Submariner has the perfect case dimensions and wears well on small and large wrists alike. Its 40mm wide case is cut from a solid block of 904L stainless steel. It measures 47mm lug to lug and it’s 13mm thick. The top surfaces of the case are brushed while the sides are mirror-polished. One thing about Rolex and other luxury watches in this price point is that you can expect incredible case finishing. You’ll see brushed and polished surfaces joining at clear and crisp lines.