Crowning Glory

One of the most iconic watches of our time just got better.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

When the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner debuted in 1953, it was the world’s first dive watch that was waterproof to 100m. Over the years, its depth rating has increased to the current 300m and it has been sported by professional divers, celebrities and watch collectors.

In a year when exciting new watch releases have been somewhat scarce, Rolex made quite a splash when it announced its 2020 novelties helmed by eight updated new Submariner models on Sept 1. Known for its methodical, steady approach to product development, the brand has made subtle changes to one of its best-loved families. These can be seen across the Submariner’s latest iterations, including a no-date Oystersteel (a steel alloy specific to Rolex) version with a black dial and bezel and seven Submariner Date models in Oystersteel, Rolesor (a combination of Oystersteel and 18-ct gold), and just 18-ct yellow or white gold.

Firstly, its case has grown to 41mm, an increase of a milimetre from its previous size. Despite its larger dimensions on paper, however, the new Submariner wears well on the wrist and looks a tad sleeker than its predecessors, thanks to redesigned lugs and crown guards that are more tapered and angled. The Oyster bracelet here, too, has been remodelled and is now slightly wider. Fans will be glad to know that the new bracelets are outfitted with the Oysterlock clasp and the nifty Glidelock extension system that allows the bracelet to be adjusted by up to 20mm.

The coloured Cerachrom – Rolex’s patented and virtually scratchproof ceramic – bezels of the brand’s professional watches have consistently given them a unique character. In this year's Submariner range, a blue bezel adorns a two-tone yellow Rolesor (18-ct yellow gold and Oystersteel) model with a blue dial, as well as a white gold edition with a black dial. A green bezel tops an Oystersteel model with a black dial – a combination that last appeared in a 50th-anniversary edition in 2003 that is affectionately known among fans as the Kermit.

One of the most significant improvements lies in the movements powering these new timepieces. For the first time, the Submariner and Submariner Date are outfitted with the brand’s latestgeneration automatic movements, calibres 3230 and 3235, respectively. Featuring an energy-efficient Chronergy escapement, the movements are reliable – each watch is covered by Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer certification – and have a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.

It just goes to show that an icon can always get better, even while effortlessly standing the test of time.
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