The Rolex Submariner turned dive watches into office accessories. More than that, the popularity of Rolex's most successful sports watch turned dive watches into the most popular style of luxury watch for men. Despite its high volume, the retail price of the Rolex Submariner continues to soar; only one Submariner model still can be bought new for under $10,000 in February of 2023. This episode shows watch collectors how to find and buy the best luxury dive watches for under $10,000.
Launched in 1953, the Rolex Submariner became one of the first modern-format diving watches. Despite its utilitarian beginnings, the Submariner rose to prominence as a luxury watch option and even a status symbol during the 1980s. No longer intended primarily for divers or swimmers, the Rolex Sub became a watch for full-time use in the office, at home, and in all attire. Today's Rolex Submariner 124060 was launched in 2020, and its retail price of $9,100 is the highest price in history for a stainless steel Rolex Submariner without precious metal or set gems.
Although it remains capable of diving to 300 meters, the modern Rolex Submariner is a luxury product. Its 41mm case diameter was new for 2020 along with a more modern automatic caliber 3230 movement. With a 70-hour power reserve and a COSC Swiss chronometer certification, antimagnetic qualities, and profound shock resistance, the Rolex movement matches recent industry standards for accuracy, autonomy, and durability. Both divers and desk divers will appreciate the Rolex "No Date" Submariner's Oyster clasp, which includes the same 20mm Easylink tool-free sizing system as the Submariner Date.
Despite its new retail price of $9,100, the Rolex Submariner often sells for far more than this number due to extended waiting lists at Rolex dealers. Many watch buyers choose to pay a premium of several thousand dollars to buy a preowned Rolex Sub rather than wait in line to be guaranteed MSRP.
Since the Rolex Submariner is so difficult to obtain, Rolex alternatives become attractive.
The Omega Seamaster collection offers a range of dive watches priced below $10,000. Since 1995, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M has been associated with cinematic spy James Bond, and the 2019 Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition is a modern tribute watch with vintage cues inspired by real and fictional British agents. The 42mm titanium dive watch incorporates British Ministry of Defense signatures on its caseback as well as references to the James Bond film franchise. When equipped with a factory titanium mesh bracelet, the no-date Seamaster Diver 300M James bond plays the part of a 1960s professional diving instrument. Its retail price is $9,500 with the optional bracelet
Ceramic offers relief to watch collectors who detest scratches on their expensive watches. Rolex offers no full-ceramic cases, so the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Black Ceramic boasts resistance to contact marks that Rolex can't match. The 43.5mm ceramic dive watch includes a matching black ceramic bezel and no-date dial design. Its crowns, bezel, and caseback are made from titanium. The Omega caliber 8806 is an automatic Master Chronometer (METAS certified) that offers antimagnetic resistance, an exotic co-axial escapement, and 55 hours of power reserve. The Seamaster Diver 300M Black Ceramic costs $8,400 and comes on a matching black rubber strap.
Watch references mentioned in this episode include Rolex 124060, 126610; Omega 18.104.22.168.01.001; 22.214.171.124.01.001; 126.96.36.199.01.001; 01 400 7769 4157-07 8 22 09PEB; RGM Model 300; Eterna Kon Tiki 12188.8.131.520
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