The Definitive Guide to the New 2020 Rolex Submariner

Video Transcription


It’s a new watch day. It’s a new watch day. Guess what?  We have a bunch of new watches.

Hey guys it is Nathan with Crown & Caliber and if I was excited a couple of weeks ago because we had a new Submariner then I am even that much more excited today. So, a couple of weeks ago we received the 124060 No Date Sub and I was giddy like a little schoolboy. I mean, we did a reveal on camera and the fact that we had a 41-millimeter Sub just made me super excited. I took lots of measurements. Was just geeking out over the watch and then just days if not weeks later we get the 126610LV, the new green bezel, and the 126610LN black bezel Date Sub. And so, to kind of reprise the previous video based on comments that we had in the first one we went ahead and got the past three generations of all those.

So, here we go. The No Date in progression, the Date Sub in progression and the three anniversary Subs in progression. And this is such a privilege of being able to work here at Crown & caliber. That I get to see all of these watches and hold them and examine them and take an inordinate number of measurements and really start to come up with the differences and kind of create a definitive guide on the current Submariner. And so today what we’re going to do is we’re going to kind of go through these watches and look at kind of the bigger picture because I’ve already taken all the measurements and this time around we won’t focus on that, but we’re going to focus on the differences that have occurred and then also how they wear and ultimately what I think is the best Sub now. So, let’s jump in. Okay so getting started. I’m going to take a breath.


Yeah slow down.


I’m nervous. I’m excited. Okay so jumping in. We will get Jonathan to take photos of these watches on my wrist. We’ll get some close-ups on my wrist as well, so you get an idea of how they wear but we’re going to jump right in and talk about first the five-digit references.

So, that is the No Date Submariner right here the five-digit Date Sub right here and the five-digit anniversary Submariner right here. So, 14060,16610, and 16610LV for the green bezel known as the Kermit. These three represent kind of the end of the line as far as what the sub had looked like for effectively 50 years. And I think what’s really interesting among these three is there’s a lot of inconsistencies. They’re not the same thickness. The size, which we’re measuring from three o’clock to nine o’clock corroborated with six o’clock to 12 o’clock on the outside of the bezel, they are also not consistent. The lug to lug is not consistent. There just is inconsistencies in the size which means that in production there’s just differences. They’re great watches I mean it’s a Submariner.

All three of them have hollow center links in the bracelet but in the two date Subs the end links are solid end links so it made for a much more secure fit. Specifically, here we’re looking at transitional references which means the case sides no longer have pierced lugs. The No Date Sub never received the solid end links and the closed off case sides as a five-digit reference. So, just some context and kind of what that watch is.

So, these are the six-digit references. These were the Supercase references. The Ceramic Sub, as its come to be known, and things got more consistent. The watches had the same thickness, they had the same size dial, same size case, same size bezel. They now had the updated bracelet which meant not only did the No Date Sub now have the solid end links, all of the center links were now solid as well. And it had the updated milled clasp with the new divers extension kind of easy link. So, in every way I think the six-digit Supercase Ceramic Sub, as we’re going to call, it was more impressive. I’ve said that before that’s nothing new. Some of the flaws. I’m going to call them what they are. Call them flaws with the watch – is the Supercase.

It is a much more blocky design at the end of the lugs. It is just chunky which then makes that transition to the bracelet much less elegant than its five-digit predecessor. This is going to get really granular, but it was a good thing and a bad thing when we switched to the six-digit reference the bracelet on the six o’clock side has one less non-removable link. What that means is on the six-digit reference bracelet on the six o’clock side there are three non-removable links which then means you can size the watch much smaller and you can have the clasp centered in your wrist.

So, for people that have, let’s say it probably starts around a six and a half inch wrist, you could much more easily center the clasp which is a good thing, but what then had to happen is that means that the bracelet had to now taper from 20 millimeters at the lug to 16 millimeters because that is the size of the removable links and it had to do that in one less link. So it had to do it in three links and if you look on the Supercase Submariners the bracelet taper is really aggressive and it almost makes it seem like the heft of the Submariner is going to overtake that of the bracelet and pairing that with these much more blocky lugs makes for some pretty extreme angles.

This is a perfect time to mention that we are talking on an extremely granular level but that’s what Rolex is. That’s how Rolex operates and that’s a lot of why people love these watches and it’s somewhat lost on this design because when it works you don’t really notice it, but when it doesn’t work it’s noticeable, and I think what we see here across these generations is if you just glance you’re looking at the same watch but it’s these minor changes over time and a refinement of a design that makes it so great. So that’s a short offshoot but back on track.

Here we ended up with a bracelet that could more easily be sized for smaller wrists but with that a much more aggressive taper from the 20-millimeter to the 16-millimeter removable link. Okay moving on. We are now to the 2020 submariner. The 124060 and the 126610. Of course, the LV and the LN green and black bezel and with this release, which just dropped in September, it seems that Rolex may have righted its wrongs.

So, let’s start with the positives then. I think going forward I’m going to call these the 12s because it’s a one-two reference and I don’t know what we’re going to continue calling them. So, the 12s they continued the consistency. So, they had the same size diameter. All three of them do which we would expect between the black and the green bezel dated Subs. They’re going to be the same. The lug is the same. Thickness is the same. Bezel is the same. So again, consistency is there.

Now here’s where things start to get really interesting, in my opinion. We’ll start with maybe the most obvious is the case size increased. So, it went to the 41-millimeter Sub, but as we addressed a few weeks ago it’s not really a 41-millimeter. The previous generation, the six-digit Supercase was a 40.2-millimeter watch and in the new 12s we have a 40.5-millimeter case size, so we were talking three tenths of a millimeter in difference. So not a full 41-millimeter. Consistently across the board it is a 40.5-millimeter case.

The bracelet went from a 20 millimeter to a 21-millimeter bracelet so making for a larger bracelet and also the dial on these three went from a 30-millimeter to a 30.3-millimeter. So, what we can see is proportionally the case size and the dial grew in unison from the six-digit reference. Now some of the more nuanced things what that means is that the bezel which how we measured the bezel here is we measured from the case diameter. So that’s from the outside of the bezel we measured from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock and then corroborated it from 6 to 12 for consistency and then for dial we measured the crystal and again 3 to 9 o’clock 6 to 12 for consistency and we took the difference as the bezel measurement.

Here’s what’s crazy from the five-digit reference all the way to the new 12s, the 2020 submariner. The bezel has remained the same it is a 5.1 millimeter bezel which means on the newest Sub it has proportionally speaking a thinner bezel. And is that going to be that noticeable? No. It is again fractions of a millimeter, but it does have a proportionally thinner bezel which I think is a pretty crazy point.

A couple other points. Now that we have a thicker bracelet in a 21-millimeter on the new reference and the outside measurement of the lugs on the newer Submariners is actually thinner, millimeter for millimeter, from the previous Supercase we end up with both visually thinner but actually thinner lugs. So you know there’s probably some margin for error in how I measured things. I tried to be extremely consistent but effectively each lug is a millimeter thinner at its end than the previous generation. So, you have a slightly larger case size. You have physically thinner lugs and with that bigger bracelet it just makes it seem that much more elegant because it is proportionately that much thinner in comparison to its previous generation.

Other things worth noting of importance is the new generation is actually thinner the previous generation Sub. The Supercase was 12.3 millimeters thick we are now looking at a watch that is 12 millimeters thick and again three tenths of a millimeter how big of a difference is that Nathan? Well it’s a pretty big difference when you’re starting to talk about case thickness and the fact that the watch has gotten bigger diameter wise. Marginal it may be, and thinner means it is going to wear that much better on the wrist. Paired with the fact that the taper is also smaller it just wears smaller. There I said it. The new 41-millimeter Submariner actually wears smaller than its previous generation.

Another point, and this is, I think really granular but it is worth mentioning. So the new reference is a 21 millimeter bracelet; it now tapers to a 17 millimeter removable link and with that it is still done over three removable links in the bracelet. And funny enough millimeter for millimeter the taper seems to be the same so you’re going from 21 to effectively a 17 millimeter link over those three links that are non-removable. The taper is the same measurement but because in the new reference it is a larger bracelet that means that millimeter for millimeter is proportionally a smaller percentage and thus on the new reference the bracelet taper does not seem as aggressive and like I said this is granular. These measurements are minor but when you see the sum of the parts and you see it together it looks so much better.

Another interesting point is we’ll go back all the way to the five-digit. So, I mentioned that six o’clock side four non-removable links and that happened to be on both sides of the case. Jump up to the six-digit reference we have now three non-removable links which means you can size the watch even smaller and have a centered clasp on the underside of your wrist. We jump to the newest reference you have three non-removable links on the six o’clock side but now four non-removable links on the 12 o’clock side.

Why Rolex did this we can speculate. Here are a few things. How the clasp sits means that you are generally going to want a smaller bracelet size on the six o’clock side. So, there’s no real reason to have equal non-removable links on both sides that would seem to be probably the most obvious reason. But I think an interesting point too, that is now there has to be a separate product number – a separate SKU for the six o’clock and the 12 o’clock bracelet side because it’s non-removable. You have two physically different parts and I think that is maybe small but on the scale in which Rolex makes watches is pretty impressive and these are the things that I think can get missed if you own one and don’t have the opportunity to look at nine of them.

But that is small changes that really speak to Rolex saying hey we are going to in every way refine this and make it the best that we can make it and something as silly and trivial as that may seem that makes a big difference and it really goes to show that nothing is without consideration in this watch. Something a lot of people also asked about is the weight of the subs. So, going from the five-digit reference to the six-digit reference you’re looking at a difference of about 30 grams. May not sound like a lot but when it is on your wrist it is noticeable.

I think with going from the 40-millimeter to the 41 there was a concern that it was going to get that much heavier. Well I’ll let you know that the three 41-millimeter submariners are like two to three grams heavier. I mean it is a negligible difference. I had talked with one of the watchmakers and he said that the new 3200 series movement is actually a heavier movement so it probably has some of the weight difference as well, but all in all the weight difference between the six-digit Supercase and the new Submariners is negligible.

And so if you are used to the weight of one of the heavier watches, which I will say is mainly from the bracelet, the fact that all those center links are now solid milled stainless steel – that is where it’s gaining a lot of weight. So, if you’re used to that, the new 41-millimeter reference isn’t going to change that much. And for those of you that love the five-digit reference, the lighter weight of that I think with the updated clasp design and bracelet you can, especially if you have a smaller wrist, more finely dial in where that clasp sits and probably get a better fit on your wrist.

So, I don’t think the weight difference really even applies now to the newer reference because of how you can get that clasp to sit that much better and that much more accurately on your wrist. So, point worth addressing is the weight because they are heavier. But I think it’s a negligible difference when it comes to the updated bracelet as well.

All right now that we’ve covered a ton of numbers I do want to briefly address the movement. So in the five-digit references we had the 3100 series. 3130 in the No-Date, the 3135 in the two dated versions. Jumping to the Supercase, that didn’t change. So, the 114060 No-Date continued having the 3130 and the “Hulk” and the Supercase Date Sub had the 3135. So, when we jumped into the 12s we gained the wholly new 3200 series movement. So, it’d be the 3230 and the 3235 in the date versions and Rolex says something like 95 new parts.

Things like their Chronenergy escapement, which is a much more efficient escapement, things like a 70-hour power reserve so definitely performance-wise a much superior movement. One of the points of contention potentially in the 3200 series is the oscillating weight. Apparently there are new bearings in the pivot and people say that it is louder so we’re going to do our best to capture that with the microphones on a comparison between the 3100 series movement and the 3200 series movement and really see if there is a noticeable difference because of those bearings. But other than that, the movement is by far a superior movement, so we have a lot of numbers and movement stuff out of the way.

So, let’s talk visually speaking and I want to start with the 126610lv “Starbucks,” “Cermit,” whatever we’re going to call it. We’ll come up with a name for it.  The green bezel seems to be the same green bezel that came from the Hulk. Now, it has a black dial rather than the green sunburst style from the Hulk, so it looks more like the Kermit. I’m still on the fence about this. I was a big lover of the hulk. I loved the green dial. I loved how it appeared black in some lights, but the super case just didn’t do it for me. So, I was super excited when they released this watch, but I kind of wish because it’s back to the black dial that the green was a little bit more of that emerald green that the Kermit had.

So, I’m still on the fence about what I think visually about this watch but again stylistically I think the sub is definitely a step in the right direction. Like we’ve talked about now between the plain date version and the 124060. I mean these two watches I’ll just say are near perfect. I mean the proportions are great; like I said they wear super well – the black is wonderful. The font on all three of these now is a little bit more bold. And I think in the side-by-sides you’ll notice that all three of these watches the hands have grown. Not only because the case size grew, but proportionally the minute hand now comes all the way to the minute track. The second hand is also a little longer, so the hands just fill the dial that much better.

Another point, this is going to be kind of hard to notice, but is at the center post it does seem that it dips in a little more than the previous Supercase reference and you can kind of catch it in some of the reflections from the high gloss lacquer on the dial . Someone did mention that in the previous video, and I didn’t notice it at first, and as I looked harder and harder, I think it is there. I think there is a noticeable dip that wasn’t in the previous reference.

So, now that we’ve talked about a bunch of measurements on the watch, let’s kind of step back again. Rolex is never going to say this, but the Supercase was a mistake. Some people may like it, but if we go from the five-digit reference to the new 12’s, as I’m calling them, it seems like a natural succession. It seems like the super case was kind of an offshoot and they have fixed it in every way.

The new 12’s seem like the older brother the newer sibling the bigger brother whatever you want to call it to the old five-digit reference. The elegant lines are back albeit they’re a little bit bigger, a little bit more impressive. Words that I use to describe the Supercase, but they don’t come with this blocky aggressive design that the Supercase had and in every way the 12 retains that impressive nature that the Supercase had, but it brings back the elegance of the five-digit reference.

So, I’m a big proponent of the five-digit Submariners. I love the nostalgia that it at a glance looks like a sub that’s 30 or 40 years old and you can’t really tell the difference. But the impressive nature of the Supercase Sub, the Ceramic Sub, and now the 12’s is hard to deny. And especially with the 12 it feels truly, and I’ve said this before, but it feels like a modern sports watch. It is impressive. Its proportions are great. It wears so well. So I think that it goes without saying that the three new 12’s – the 124060, 126610 and 126610LV Cermit, ceramic Kermit, Starbucks whatever we’re going to call it – are the definitive Submariner.

If you are looking for a Submariner, well, good luck. You’re probably not going to find one, but if you are shopping for a Submariner those are what I’m going to recommend. They proportionally are as perfect as we’ve seen yet and I think that from the sheer technology standpoint they are extremely impressive. So, line in the sand, that’s what I’m saying. I am saying that the new references are kind of the definitive go-to’s. Maybe that’ll change in the coming months as I’ve seen more of these and the newness wears off, but I think the fact that I am able to empirically look at them, I’m able to make a pretty objective decision in what I think is the current best Sub offering. The new Submariner!

We got them all if you have questions please continue to put them in the comments – we have the watches. We will answer them and let you know anything you want to know about them and as always, thanks for watching.

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