So much has changed, but it is still the same…the Rolex way. Wait!?!? That isn’t how it goes! This however, rings quite true on the Rolex Submariner 126610 released in 2020.
When you read the hands-on review of the Submariner 41 when it was released at Watches and Wonders in 2020, the common theme was…so much changed but it is still somehow the same. The case and lug widths were new. The bracelet tapered differently. The movement was entirely new to the model. Basically, this watch got an entire redesign but it felt exactly the same, or did it?
I personally got lucky with this watch. Somehow, the Rolex gods shined down on me…I got the call really early. Once the first one arrived at an Authorized Rolex Dealer that I have a long purchase history with, I got the call and was able to get in on the wrist by the next day. Instantly, I agreed with what the Internet was viewing as a whole new watch, but the same as before. However, as I have worn it - I think I see what Rolex is doing here with the edits of the Submariner.
This exact same point of view was consistent with the Explorer II 42mm that came out only last year. Looks the same, seems like the same thing, but Rolex fully redesigned it. However, I think the new Explorer II and the 2011 releases Explorer II’s are quite different. Frankly, this is what Rolex does best. They edit and edit and edit until it is perfect. They take and evolve a watch from what it is to a better variant. They don't really seem to make changes unless it makes sense and they do not follow trends, they are the trend setter.
Image from Monochrome.com
So, what has happened with my opinion of the “new Sub?” Has it evolved over time or am I in the same opinion that the watch press world was saying back in 2020? Frankly, it has changed. I feel like Rolex improved a lot with the new design. Here is a small list of improvements and a small list of items they should have kept or changed also.
Starting with what I think was an improvement:
- The dial got a little wider. It looks a little better and the overall time telling of the watch is improved.
- The reduction of the lug thickness but increasing the width of the bracelet end link. With this many will want to arm wrestle me, but I think this edit made the watch seem broader without actually increasing it.
- The increase of the bracelet width. I love a good taper, but this change makes the watch sit better on the wrist overall.
- The movement was modified to the higher power reserve. This is possibly up for debate with your local watchmaker, but the longer power reserve is nice for a person who doesn't always wear the same watch.
What they should have kept or changed:
- The bezel’s PIP sticks out too far. I feel this was actually solved on the DeepSea and the Sea-Dweller Anniversary’s pip. It is closer to the bezel and frankly is cleaner and better.
- They have a 1.5mm spring bar instead of the 2.0mm spring bar from the previous version. This is a very minute detail but I think overall they made an error with the less robust spring bar.
- The movement doesn't seem as accurate as the marketing says it is. This is somewhat deceptive of Rolex. The movement requires a full winding, which with the new version of the watch requires you to wear it indefinitely or you would need to wind the crown about 40 times every time you put it back on after setting it down. This is a flaw in all large barrel/high power reserve movements in my experience.
Overall, the watch is better and frankly it was almost perfect before they made any changes. After wearing it for two years now, I love it. I love this watch like Oprah loves bread - that is as much as anyone can love an inanimate object. It is just the right amount of flash and sparkle. It also happens to be the right amount of classic styling encased in a robust, purpose built dive watch. It is the best watch, period. Frankly, the only thing that might knock it off its high horse, is when Rolex remakes a whole new design in 10 years, however it will somehow still be the same…LOL.
*Image in Hero is from www.watchfinder.co.uk