Rolex might’ve been relatively quiet no thanks to temporary factory closures and delayed product launches due to the pandemic, but it’s finally back to make your year a little better.
And what better way to do that than by thrusting one of its most important models, the Submariner, back into the limelight. The long-awaiting Rolex 2020 lineup will not only see one, but eight new divers in stores this year, alongside a new Oyster Perpetual, Datejust, and Sky-Dweller range.
The new Submariner
The new generation of Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date have undergone several upgrades, the biggest being that they’re now in a redesigned, slightly larger 41mm case instead of the usual 40mm.
Proportions have been updated so the new range sits prettier on the wrist, especially now that Rolex has done away with the “super case” for slimmer and more tapered lugs. The crown guards have also been tweaked to be more angled, giving the timepiece a more purposeful silhouette without losing any of its sleekness. Look closely, and you’ll notice yet another subtle difference between the new and old Submariner: A tiny Rolex crown logo between “Swiss” and “Made” below the six-o’clock marker on the dial.
The bracelets, while still a classic three-link Oyster, have been updated to have an additional millimetre in width throughout to now span 21mm between the lugs. It’s still secured by the Oysterclasp and the Glidelock extension system, so it’s still possible to extend the length of the bracelet by up to 20mm. With the exception of the Rolesor, yellow, and white gold versions — which have a polished central link — the bracelet is fully brushed on the steel models for a sportier aesthetic.
Inside, Rolex keeps things just as fresh with the latest generation calibres 3250 (for the Submariner) and 3235 (for the Submariner Date). Both self-winding mechanical movements incorporate the Chronergy escapement, a magnetic-resistant patented system that combines efficiency with reliability. Both movements are also fitted with an optimised blue Parachrom hairspring that keeps the watch 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks, making it a real tool watch, both in and out of the waters. As always, they’re both Superlative Chronometers — chronometer-certified by the COSC and also tested vigorously internally. Both see power reserves of 70 hours, up from the 48 hours previously.
Beyond the no-date iteration, there are seven new references — 126610LN, 126610LV, 126613LN, 126613LB, 126618LN, 126618LB and 126619LB. These are essentially two steel watches, two yellow gold versions, one white gold version and two Rolesor versions. All of them have kept the same 300m water-resistance as previous iterations, complete with a Twinlock crown and a masterclass on satin and polished finishing thoughout.
The 126610LN is a classic steel variation that sees a black dial and matching bezel. It’ll replace the current ref. 116610LN. The 60-minute Cerachrom bezel comes with a knurled edge for better grip underwater even with gloves.
The steel 126610LV is the direct successor of the 50th anniversary special, the “Kermit”, with its green ceramic bezel and black lacquered dial.
Meanwhile, the 126613LB is a Rolesor model that combines an Oystersteel case with 18k yellow gold elements on the crown, bezel, and on the bracelet’s central links. The Cerachrom bezel and sunray-brushed dial is a deep blue, which when combined with the PVD yellow gold scale, and indexes and hands, lends a rich contrast.
Those who fancied the previous 116613LN would appreciate the 126613LN — a classic two-tone Submariner Date with a yellow gold and steel combination. Here, it’s paired with a black dial and bezel.
Fans of solid yellow gold Rolexes should make a beeline for the 126618LN and 126618LB. The former is a black-on-black yellow gold model with a matching bracelet, while the latter sports the same gilded facade but with a blue dial and blue Cerachrom bezel.
It is, however the new 126619LB that’s our favourite. The replacement for the older ref. 116619LB is a white gold Submariner Date with a blue Cerachrom bezel and a black dial, marked by large luminescent hour markers for ultimate legibility in the dark.
The new Sky-Dweller
Those who prefer flying high instead of diving deep should look to the new aviation-minded Sky-Dweller instead. The new collection comes in both 18ct yellow gold and Everose gold, only this time with the sportier Oysterflex bracelet with glide lock (only leather straps and Oyster bracelets were available previously).
Don’t mistake this for a mere rubber strap; the Oysterflex bracelet is in fact made of flexible metal blades from a titanium and nickel alloy that are over-molded with high-performance black elastomer. The comfortable strap incorporates the much-loved glide-lock system for easier adjustments anywhere.
Inside, the same in-house calibre 9001 movement runs the dual time and annual calendar functions of the watch with a 72-hour power reserve.
The new Oyster Perpetual
Rolex has also looked into its dressier offerings this season. Besides a range of candy-coloured variations of the 36mm model — think tones like baby pink, yellow, green, coral red, and turquoise, the Crown is also introducing a larger 41m model into the family.
The larger Oyster Perpetual 41 is a novel configuration, with a silver sunray-finish dial that’s marked by 18ct yellow gold hands and hour markers. A second version in an equally traditional black sunray-finish dial with 18ct white gold markers and hands is also available. Both sizes are fitted with the calibre 3230, and boast Chromalight display for nighttime viewing.
The new Datejust
For the ladies, the new Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31 is presented in a white Rolesor version (Oystersteel and 18ct white gold) and features dials in a variety of colours, with either index hour markers or Roman numerals made of 18ct white gold.
The highlight of this collection is undoubtedly the aubergine-dialled model, which sees a bezel set with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds and an equally sparkly Roman VI. Three other versions are available, fitted with either a mint green, sunray-finish dial, white lacquer dial, or dark grey, sunray-finish dial, and a fluted bezel in 18ct white gold.
These new watches are equipped with calibre 2236, an anti-magnetic, shock-resistant chronometer that offers a power reserve of approximately 55 hours.
PSA: You don’t have to run to the stores just yet; the watches haven’t arrived on local shores yet and no official “interest list” has been created. All you can really do now is to butter up your favourite watch dealer, especially if you’re gunning for any one of the Submariners.