Like most brands, Rolex releases new and updated models every year. However, unlike many other watch companies, they revere consistency. Rarely will you see anything beyond small changes or upgrades that – at least in their opinion – will benefit the timepiece in the long run. Does Rolex respond to consumer requests and expectations, or do they just follow the trends while ensuring it looks like they are setting them? I don’t know. Either way, their 2020 releases are a bit controversial. Rolex announced new models in four of their existing collections: the Submariner, Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, and Sky-Dweller. Needless to say, the most anticipated new releases belonged to the Submariner line. Sadly, they were also the ones that got leaked a few days early.
The Submariner: What’s New?
Rolex presented eight new Submariner models, including both date and no-date watches made of steel, precious metals, and two-tone combinations. Let’s start with the most iconic option, the no-date Submariner. The previous version of this watch is the ref. 114060, while the new Rolex Submariner bears the reference number 124060. It has a thinner bezel and a 41-mm Oystersteel case, making it 1 mm larger than its predecessor. The case is not the only feature Rolex redesigned for this new timepiece, however. The ref. 124060 also received a brand-new caliber, the 3230. This in-house movement deviates a maximum of -/+2 seconds per day, boasts a Parachrom hairspring, and has an approximately 70-hour power reserve.
Rolex also remodeled the Oyster bracelet that comes with every Submariner. But don’t worry! The bracelet still has its Oysterlock folding clasp, which prevents accidental openings, as well as the micro-adjustment Glidelock extension system, allowing for a perfect fit on your wrist (or wetsuit).
Moving on from the Rolex Submariner No Date, we arrive at the Submariner Date. The previous version has the reference number 116610LN, with LN meaning “lunette noire,” or “black bezel.” You can find the brand-new 2020 Rolex Submariner Date under reference number 126610LN. This model received the same upgrades as the no-date Sub. However, as it also has a date display, the caliber is different. For the first time in the Submariner’s history, Rolex has introduced the caliber 3235 to the Submariner Date. This caliber already appears in other Rolexes, such as the Datejust and Sea-Dweller. The most important upgrade to this watch isn’t necessarily its marginally larger case or the caliber; it’s the fact that Rolex released multiple watches under the 126610 reference. These include updated models from the distant – and not-so-distant – past. Seven Rolex Submariner Dates made their debuts on September 1st. These are our top three picks:
1. Ref. 126610LV
One of the familiar faces is the 126610LV with a “lunette verte,” or “green bezel,” which collectors have nicknamed the Kermit. The previous Kermit premiered in 2003 for the 50th anniversary of the Submariner line. It went out of production after a few years, and the Hulk took its place. The latter model has both a green bezel and a green dial. With the introduction of the new Kermit 126610LV, production of the Hulk (116610LV) will cease. The 126610LV comes in a 41-mm steel case fitted with the caliber 3235.
2. Ref. 126613LB
You can find the new two-tone Submariner under reference number 126613LB. This watch features a mixed Oystersteel and 18-karat yellow gold case, a combination known as Rolesor. The bezel still has a Cerachrom inlay; however, rather than the black or green on the previously mentioned models, this watch comes with a blue bezel. It looks great paired with the matching royal blue sunburst dial. The hands are 18-karat yellow gold, and the bracelet is a mix of Oystersteel outer links and 18-karat yellow gold center links. The new Rolex Submariner Date 126613LB will replace the older ref. 116613LB.
3. Ref. 126619LB
Lastly, Rolex released a brand-new version of the white gold Submariner Date with a blue bezel, aka “the Smurf.” This watch bears the reference number 126619LB, while the previous version is the 116619LB(“lunette bleue,” or “blue bezel”). The new Smurf has a 41-mm case with thinner lugs; however, the case is not steel but rather 18-karat white gold. The dial is black, similar to the LN, LV, and no-date editions, while the hands and indices shine in 18-karat white gold (like every model except the two-tone Sub).
Every new Rolex Submariner, whether it has a date display or not, is a Superlative Chronometer, meaning it has passed both COSC’s and Rolex’s certification processes. It also comes with a five-year international warranty. The release of these new models means the older references will be discontinued, including some beloved models like the Hulk – for the time being, at least. The Submariner was not the only line to receive new watches and updates in 2020. Stay tuned for more new Rolex releases.