Did Rolex Do the Right thing: Increasing the width on the 2020 Submariner Bracelet?

Did Rolex Do the Right thing: Increasing the width on the 2020 Submariner Bracelet?

We are all human. We make mistakes, we trip, we are not perfect. However, collectively we are better when we are working towards a common goal, as this is often when we really shine. Rolex, is eternally aiming at a common goal, making the best watch possible - the Rolex way.

Even though they work incredibly hard, they make mistakes too. Does anyone remember the Rolex Daytona Safari Leopard edition? That watch was simply the worst watch to come out of Rolex ever. While that leopard watch was a glaringly bad design faux pas, some Rolex “mistakes” can be on a smaller scale and it can take a real watch enthusiast to split hairs over what could or couldn’t have been done better. One such watch that faced the critics recently is the Rolex Submariner.

There were several minute (and seemingly random) changes made on the Submariner that was released in 2020 (reference 124060, 126610 and a few other variations too) and many people questioned if Rolex did the right thing with the new Sub.

A huge discussion online, on forums, countless youtube videos and discussion at RedBar meetups was, “increasing the Submariner from 40mm to 41mm was…(fill in the blank). A lot of people were less than pleased with this minute size increase. A few people were downright irate and a few were quite happy, but everyone had an opinion one way or another.

 In my opinion, based on the fact I have access to or own all the submariner references from 1980 on, including the latest one, is that the case increase was an unnoticeable change. The watch still looks and feels perfect case wise. It may be just my opinion but I have met quite a few new Rolex Submariner owners and they all love the new case as well. While many people touted the size increase as a mistake, I feel like it’s Rolex for the win on this change.

Another area of the Submariner that Rolex could have easily screwed up was their decision to widen the clasp significantly for what seemed like no good reason. The previous generation bracelet tapers from the lugs at 20.0mm to a 15.6mm wide link at the clasp. The clasp is 17.6mm wide on the previous generation.

The new Submariner is 21.0mm at the lugs and tapers to a 16.4 wide link, but then has an 18.6 wide clasp. That’s 3mm wider than the previous generation, which in watch dimensions, is clinically significant but still minute. The length of the clasp, links, bracelet, etc. did not change, just the widths. These additions of only a millimeter here and 3 millimeters there, would normally be again unnoticeable, but when you have the two bracelets side by side (as seen by the pictures) you can tell it makes a huge difference. 

This point really did not get much play online or in the forums when the new Submariner was announced. Usually, a watch brand only mentions the case width on their press releases, and overlooks the bracelet configurations. So, most Rolex guys assumed there were no changes here. The discussion really didn't start until recently when people started to get their new Submariners. The results of my little survey of new Rolex owners is going to surprise you.

Guess what, they actually like it more and so do I. I even was able to talk to a woman with a wrist smaller than 6 and half inches and she said that she thought it was simply the perfect watch. Looking at it from a feel on the wrist, I barely notice it. I would say it is slightly noticeable but not in a negative way. The look is actually nicer, but I am a bigger guy. I like watches that have a bit of size on them and the new Submariner really ticks the box when it comes to dive watches. Overall, this change was for the better - kudos Rolex.

Even though there were several changes to the new Submariner that many people worried were mistakes, the truth is every change just works and actually works better than the previous generation. Rolex never explains themselves or gives the why behind their design changes so we are left to guess. We are often quick to judge these changes and give our two cents, but when it comes to design, Rolex truly seems to be very intentional in their changes. Ultimately we usually end up liking their new releases more than we thought we would. 

Last note before you comment bellow, if you own the new Submariner, sign up HERE to get notified when it comes out in January. But if you own the original Submariner Ceramic, good news you can get a rubber strap for your Sub right HERE from us.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.