It’s that kind of watch; the hero that lives for eternity, the legend that keeps on reinventing itself – the Rolex Submariner is that watch. It’s the timepiece that’s best associated with that overused and annoying phrase, the Ferrari of all watches but, you see, it is the Ferrari of all watches. It has classic lines, robust mechanical movement and unrelenting elegance; it is the object of upmost desire, yet it is simultaneously unobtrusive and subtle. It has it all and more, and is ready to take on anything, anywhere.
We all know that one guy who says he wants to be different, won’t follow the Rolex crowd and will have an Omega instead. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Omega, in fact, Omega can hold its own quite comfortably, but it is no Rolex Sub; it’s good but not great. Once you get the Rolex on the other hand, you’ll soon realise that it’s in a league of its own.
The Submariner’s unidirectional rotatable bezel is key to the functionality of the watch
But here’s the thing, the one caveat, the big question that will face every Rolex aficionado and watch geek – which Rolex reference Submariner should you choose? Well, this is where you practically require a degree in order to understand all the many references and what they stand for. Fortunately, there are plenty of archives and videos online which will take you through them all, so this is the best place to start.
My personal favourite is the Rolex reference 5508 – one of the first Rolex Submariners but also one of the final few. One of the key features is the non-crown guard and its vintage aesthetic is everything I look for in a watch. The tropicalised gilt dial, the puffy-lumed pips along with some well-earned chamfering on the bezel are all part of the story a watch of this age wants to tell.
You see, this is the problem I have with the modern stuff nowadays, I’m an old mechanical Land Rover Defender kind of guy (whilst the new model is fully electric and pretty much drives for you, I prefer buttons and dials), and the new Submariner kind of embodies the same idea (obviously it’s not electric!), however, its components are all made of today’s latest and greatest technology.
Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron is a huge fan of the Rolex Submariner
Ceramic and titanium-made, it’s just a different tool now. Yes it’s still a tool watch, yet just one that shouts ostentatiously, ‘hey I’m a ROLEX!’ The status symbol that has become synonymous with Rolex is unfortunately not going to go away anytime soon, however it only takes a small conversation with the watch owner to figure out if he or she is a real watch person or not.
The Submariner is just one of those watches that you will end up loving weather you want to or not. It does something that no other watch does: Don a pair of Orlebar Brown swim shorts and take it diving in the Bahamas and you instantly hark back to those Sean Connery Bond days. Wear it with a suit and you feel empowered, successful and uber-confident. Most importantly, you know that you have a very faithful and trustworthy tool strapped to your wrist.
Ultimately, this is what the watch was originally made to do – it is the quintessential tool watch. A watch fit for a purpose, the ultimate do it all exploration watch of generations past and present. It’s the one kind of watch that always has a story associated with it. The watch that the true explorers and adventurers want and, no doubt, a timepiece that not only gets the job done but simply gets better with age or, better still, ages like a fine wine.
So, whether you decide on a Rolex reference 5508 or a reference 6536, whether you have the Tritium or Chromalight Lume, ceramic or aluminium, one thing is for sure, there is a Rolex Submariner out there for everyone.
Dimensions: 40mm diameter
Image credit at the very top of the article: Rolex.com