The Rolex Submariner basically created the dive watch as we know it. It's more than just a pioneer; the Rolex Submariner is an icon. Tonight, the Rolex Submariner faces its competition from Omega, Tudor, Blancpain, and even Rolex itself.
If Rolex is the most famous watch brand in the world, then the Rolex Submariner is the world's most famous watch. No other dive watch - or any watch - is as recognizable, sought, or copied as the Submariner. More than any other cause, the success of the Rolex Submariner explains the global dominance of dive watches as the most popular category of luxury watch.
Rolex last redesigned the Submariner in 2020. Given its monumental success, the Submariner changes only gradually through many incremental refinements. Wholesale redesigns are the business of brands that struggle for recognition, identity, and demand. Naturally, Rolex has all of that, so the 2020 Submariner offered only a few significant upgrades including a 41mm case, 21mm bracelet end links, and a new 70-hour Rolex caliber 3235 automatic movement.
Basic Rolex Submariner models start with the simply named "Submariner." Often described by watch collectors as the "no-date" Submariner, the basic watch is the closest current model to the original 1953 Rolex Sub, and it is the closest in design to the "big crown" Rolex Submariners worn by Sean Connery during his turn as James Bond in the 1960s. The Rolex Submariner 124060 has a 2023 price of $9,100. The Submariner Date, reference 126610LN, is the most popular Submariner model, and it has a retail price of $10,250.
Add a green bezel, and the Rolex Submariner 126610LV channels the sprit of the famous 2003 "anniversary" Submariner that Rolex buyers nicknamed "Kermit." The 2023 "green" Submariner combines the green bezel of the 2003 watch - now in Cerachrom green ceramic - with the earlier model's black dial. The new ceramic-bezel green Submariner replaces the previous all-green "Hulk," and it gains a new name: Cermit. This neologism combines "ceramic" and "Kermit" [the Frog], a nickname for the 2003 50th anniversary Submariner. The 2023 Rolex 126610LV has a price of $10,800.
Since 1957, the Omega Seamaster has been the arch rival of the Rolex Sub. Since the 1990s, the Seamaster family of dive watches has encroached on Rolex's traditional territory by stealing screen time with the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig iterations of Agent 007. Granted, a substantial quantity of Swiss francs made that possible, but the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M is every inch the Rolex Submariner's equal. Launched in late 2022, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary (184.108.40.206.03.002) combines historic styling cues from 1962 (Dr. No) to 1995 (Goldeneye). It is a loving tribute to both 1960s military issued Omega Seamaster 300s and the Seamaster Professional worn by Pierce Brosnan in his four turns as Bond.
Other watches mentioned in this episode include the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, the Tudor Black Bay P01, the Tudor Pelagos 39, the Fortis Marinemaster M-40, the Sinn UX SDR dive watch (EZM 2B), the Grand Seiko SBGA463 Spring Drive Diver, Rolex Yacht-Master 126622, and Rolex Yacht-Master 42 RLX Titanium reference 226627
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