For the uninitiated, choosing between the Rolex Submariner Ceramic (Date) and No-Date may be a simple decision based on aesthetics. To savvy Rolex aficionados however, the choice is grounded in far more. Think of it as picking between a vintage 1965 Mustang hardtop and convertible. Not so easy, is it?
The Rolex Submariner legacy dates back over half a century, with the model retaining many of its original styling cues. For much of its lifespan, the Submariner featured a rotating bezel with minute indicators printed on an aluminum insert. Several years ago, Rolex switched to a proprietary ceramic bezel called “Cerachrom,”which boasts engraved numerals and a single lume at the 12 o’clock position, as well as greater durability and scratch resistance than aluminum. This ceramic is available in a variety of colors – even an intriguing shade of emerald green that adorns the ceramic Rolex Submariner Hulk model, named for the popular comic book character. In short, the Submariner’s Cerachrom bezel won’t corrode, fade, or scratch … tough stuff, and consistent with what owners expect from their Rolexes.
Both the Rolex Submariner Ceramic and No-Date house similar mechanics, defined by Rolex’s high-precision movement and highly water-resistant (to 300 meters) 904L stainless steel Oyster case, in addition to its 904L stainless steel micro-adjusting bracelet. The winding crown, fitted with Rolex’s patented Triplock system, screws down securely against the case (similar to a submarine’s hatch) and is protected by a crown guard. The Submariner’s crystal is made of scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire.
If it sounds like the two Rolex Submariners are identical, you may want to think again upon further review. The No Date model (introduced at the 2012 Baselworld watch fair) deviates from the traditional Rolex design blueprint by eschewing a date window and requisite magnifier, with other subtle mechanical nuances with respect to lacking date window operation. And therein lies the crux of the Submariner’s Shakespearian conundrum … Date, or No Date, that is the question.
When looking at the No Date, there is no mistaking the clean lines and Spartan beauty of the watch’s face. It is a true sports timepiece in every sense, and the epitome of understated grace. That said, Rolex owners accustomed to gazing upon a date window will assuredly feel that something is missing from their Submariner. Some may even cry, “Blasphemy!” though the difference is not purely superficial. Rolex owners are fiercely loyal, and any change to the status quo will be met with some pushback. Appearance-wise, the two Submariners are as different as they are mechanically similar, and fans have lined up in both corners. In either case, there is no denying the ongoing appeal of the Submariner, nor its high-end utilitarianism. With or without a date window, the Rolex Submariner is designed to look great while playing hard. Date or No Date? It’s a matter of personal preference. (Price: ~$7,500 – $8,500).
Lack of date window (for some Rolex aficionados)
Utility overkill (When was the last time you dove to 300 meters?)
Whether you prefer the Rolex Submariner or No Date, they are both valuable watches and can also be valuable used or preowned. In fact, if you’re a Rolex Submariner or No Date watch owner you can request a quote on the value of your watch from Crown & Caliber.