First launched in 1953 the Rolex Submariner is the iconic watch range from one of the world’s finest watch houses. The model was first launched for the purposes of deep sea diving, and when it was launched at the 1954 Swiss Watch Fair it was an instant hit with those concerned with the sea. Known for it’s resistance to water, 980 feet, or 300 metres is now the usual depth that this watch can reach without harm, although the early models were resistant to water to a depth of 200 metres.
Other features of this watch is the shape of the hands, commonly known as the Mercedes hand because of the car’s badge symbol, but should be known as the Cathedral hand unlike the normal pencil shaped hands, again normally associated with the early 1950’s models. Other features of the Submariner is the screw down crown, a unidirectional bezel, which allows divers to track their immersion time, meaning that the bezel can only turn in a counterclockwise direction meaning that time can only be made shorter, a safety feature meaning that the diver can only make time shorter whilst in the water.
Each watch also features the automatic movement. An internal rotor winds the watch with the slightest movement and can give up to a maximum of 72 hours of power even if the watch is stationary.
This iconic watch is perhaps now worn for as much as its look rather than what it can achieve under water. Eleven James Bond movies have featured the watch, being worn by Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. In 1970 Thor Heyerdal wore the Submariner on his Ra II sea expedition, when it withstood over 1000 dives. It can cope with extreme temperatures too, and it was standard issue by the French diving company Comex when it kept precise time to 45 degrees below zero. The British Royal Navy used a special edition for frogman use.
In 2010, Rolex launched the green anniversary Submariner (pictured below). As with all the range, all watches come with large luminescent hour markers, graduated Cerachrom bezel and solid Oyster link steel bracelet. Only the finest steel is used in construction of case and bracelet, this being 904L, maximum resistance to corrosion and is highly polishable, and therefore always keeps its beauty even in the harshest environments. The dial with its luminous elements can keep its glow for up to 8 hours, twice as long as many competitors.
The bracelet is equipped with a special clasp which prevents accidental opening, and the Glidelock system allowing it to be adjusted to fit over a diving suit. The movement is the 3135 calibre. Made only by Rolex it is a certified Swiss Chronometer . It is fitted with a Parachrom hairspring which offers greater resistance to shock and temperature change. Reliability is not even in question.
Finally, the Rolex Submariner is not just a watch, its an investment. Many older models sell well in excess of the original cost. One could ask, is a Rolex Sub worth the money?
It is a hand made item with hundreds of parts, add to that the guarantee of water resistance to 1000feet, plus a highly polished of top quality stainless steel, it is clear that this is not your everyday watch. To determine the difference between a Sub and other mechanicals, in particular the accuracy, and smoothness of the winding stem and the second hand, notice the way the hand just glides around the dial. The watch has a lovely screw down crown, you will never get cross threading with a Rolex. This is a world full of mass production, it is refreshing to know that there are companies like Rolex that have a holistic approach to watchmaking.
Even the Rolex box is worth a mention. Well we say a box, of course it is a wooden case with a carved pattern on the lid. Inside is a pillowed suede covering that hugs the watch. However, there are copies out there, even with boxes and papers. You should be advised to only purchase from the most reliable source. If it seems too cheap, its for a reason. Some fakes even have what seems a genuine movement. A fake is worth nothing, so as with any investment, do your homework and be very careful.