Just when we thought we won’t be seeing any Rolex novelties this year, et voila, we do. And true to the watchmaker, these new contenders do not disappoint.
After much anticipation and yes, predictable delay due to Covid, Rolex had finally unveiled its new watches, which included improved – and slightly larger at 41mm – Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date which, aesthetics-wise and save for the remodelled bracelet, stay true to the original design. The Submariner in Oystersteel comes with its usual black dial, rotatable bezel and matching Cerachrom insert; while the Submariner Date comes with a yellow Rolesor version – a combination of Oystersteel and yellow gold – a royal blue dial, rotatable bezel and a Cerachrom insert.
For greater legibility on those dives, the 60-minute graduations on the bezels come with Cerachrom inserts in black, green or blue. Cerachrom is, of course, Rolex’s patented high-tech ceramic that’s virtually scratch-proof and resistant to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thus maintaining the vibrancy of its colour. The ribbed edges also provide excellent grip, allowing divers to adjust their time even in gloves.
To ensure waterproofness to a depth of 300 metres, its middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel – a corrosion-resistant alloy – or from white gold. The case back, meanwhile, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. And the Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case and is protected by a crown guard.
The watches are equipped with self-winding movements fitted with the patented Chronergy escapement made with nickel-phosphorus, making it impervious to magnetic fields. The movements also have an optimised blue Parachrom hairspring using a paramagnetic alloy, making it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring. Its oscillator is fitted on Paraflex shock absorbers designed to increase the movements’ shock resistance, while its 70 hours of autonomy is thanks to its barrel architecture and efficiently operating escapement.
The beginnings of the Submariner dates back to the early 1940s, a time when there was a growing fascination for exploring the deep seas, paving the way to scuba diving as we know it. Rolex took on a crucial role in developing water-proof chronometer wristwatches, getting a head start of sorts having had developed and patented the Oyster case in 1926.
Rolex was up to the task of developing a tool watch that could, indeed, accompany divers to the deep recesses of the ocean, and so in the 1950s began experiments that involved some of the pioneers divers. The result was the introduction of the Submariner in 1953, which would be the first divers’ wristwatch that’s water-proof to a depth of 100 metres. Rolex did not stop there; a year after it improved the waterproofness to 200 metres, and in 1979 extended the depth further to 300 metres. Other technical features followed, such as a luminescent disc on the hour hand to distinguish it from the minute hand, and a crown guard.
Today, Rolex’s Submariner stands as one of the most iconic watches ever, and is just becoming more efficient, powerful and reliable, and arguably the most sought-after watches in the market today.
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.