The new models Rolex unveiled in 2020 were slightly larger and equipped with new movements—the Submariner has the new Calibre 3230 and the new Submariner Date versions are using the Calibre 3235 for the first time. The Submariner Date offered a surprising array of colour combinations while the Submariner with no date display stayed true to its original design; in specific, we took a closer look at the Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060.
If you think a Rolex innovation means a revolution, you’ll be mistaken. But the Submariner has been modified so that the sum of the various details has resulted in a new watch. The diameter of the watch has grown from 40mm to 41mm, or more precisely, from 40.6mm to 41.36mm, measured across the diagonal from 2 to 8 o’clock. The crown guards and lugs are slimmer, but this has increased the lug width by a whole millimetre, to 21mm. These seemingly minor upgrades have changed the proportions of the entire watch — including the main body of the case, bezel, dial, and bracelet. This means you’re looking at an entirely new model. If you place the new Oyster Perpetual Submariner next to its predecessor (which is discontinued) the changes become apparent. The new Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060 looks much more than just a millimetre larger than the older version, which is due to the numerous modifications of even the tiniest detail.
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Not quite so apparent is the new in-house self-winding movement, Calibre 3230, because just as with any Rolex watch, it is covered by a finely grooved caseback that is screwed down hermetically with a special key, and which can only be opened by a Rolex-authorised watchmaker. The difference in the Calibre 3235 is that there is no date display on the Submariner dial. Otherwise all other features are the same. The new Submariner is equipped with a Rolex-patented, innovative Chronergy escapement, made from a nickel-phosphorous alloy. It provides superior functional reliability with high energy efficiency and is resistant to the effects of magnetic fields.
The movement also has an optimised version of the Rolex Parachrom hairspring. Rolex produces the hairspring in-house from a paramagnetic alloy, which makes it up to 10 times more precise than conventional hairsprings. It also has a special Rolex overcoil that ensures a stable rate in all positions. The oscillator is supported by the excellent Rolex-designed and patented Paraflex antishock system. Thanks to the higher efficiency of the escapement and barrel design, both the Calibre 3230 and the Calibre 3235 have a power reserve of 70 hours.
In addition to the chronometer test from COSC, the watch must also pass the strict internal Rolex test for a ‘Superlative Chronometer’ which, according to the current specifications from 2015, permits a deviation of no more than 2 seconds per day. The Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060 comes from a time when dive watches were used more for professional applications than for recreational diving. For this reason, they remain true to their original appeal today — since reading the time clearly during a dive is a matter of life and death. The clear and simple Submariner dial has therefore remained unchanged. The hour and minutes hands are adapted from the Rolex Deepsea and are distinct from one another in order to prevent any confusion. The triangle, circle, and rectangle markers are designed to provide orientation and increased legibility, and to prevent possible mistakes underwater or on dry ground. The hands and markers are coated with Rolex Chromalight luminous material and glow bright blue in the dark. The prominent dot at the end of the seconds hand serves as a function check and is also luminescent. In addition, the zero marker on the dive bezel of the Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060 is also filled with the same luminous material to provide better orientation when setting dive time.
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The bezel of the Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060 ratchets perfectly, counterclockwise, in crisp half-minute increments. Deeply knurled grooves around the edge provide a secure grip for wet hands or diving gloves. The rotating ring has a numerical Cerachrom insert made of a special black ceramic. The recessed numerals and markers on the 60-minute track are coated with a thin layer of platinum using a PVD process. Rolex developed expertise and an innovative manufacturing process to create a sturdy, colour-saturated and extremely scratch-resistant special ceramic for the production of monobloc bezels and tracks, and now has its own fully independent production of ceramic components.
The bezel with its ceramic insert is part of the sturdy Oyster case for which Rolex guarantees a pressure resistance of 30 bar, corresponding to a water depth of 300 metres. It is the epitome of durability and reliability. Its case frame is manufactured from a single block of stainless-steel that is extraordinarily resistant to corrosion, which Rolex calls ‘Oystersteel’. In addition to the hermetically sealed caseback, the Triplock winding crown also ensures the specified water resistance with its triple seal, screw-down design, and protective crown guards. The top crystal is made of scratch-resistant sapphire.
The new Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060 is equipped with an Oyster bracelet, including its patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp and Glidelock extension system, which allows the bracelet to be simply extended up to 20mm using a 10-step sliding element. So much perfection needs no revolution to remain the undisputed standard among dive watches.
Images: Courtesy Rolex