We haven’t run a Favorite Watches post for a while, and it’s time to get back to it. This time, it’s the Rolex Submariner 14060M No-Date. For me, this watch is in a constant struggle with my Speedmaster Professional for my all time favorite watch. The no-date Sub certainly gets the lion’s share of wrist time.
The no-date Submariner is arguably the tooliest of the Rolex tool watches. Its “everything you need, nothing you don’t” vibe has a distinct appeal to aficionados who simply need to know the time along with a quick, reliable, highly visual way to measure elapsed time.
No need to know the date when using this kind of tool. After all, you don’t have a calendar attached to your crescent wrench, do you?
Now, you say elapsed time can be accomplished with a chronograph? Yes, but typically not underwater, not without compromising the integrity of the watch. Additionally, a chronograph’s buttons are hard to operate with neoprene-gloved fingers.
Enter the rotating bezel of the Submariner. Quick, reliable, doesn’t compromise the integrity of the timepiece, and operable with thick gloves, if necessary.
The 14060M traces its heritage directly back to the 5512 and 5513 Submariners from the 1960s. And as every Rolex WIS knows, those watches also sired the MilSub watches. It’s hard to argue with that heritage.
The direct predecessor to the 14060M was – wait for it – the 14060 (which was itself the successor to the 5513). Rolex released the 14060 in 1990. A decade later they made a minor but important change to the14060’s calibre 3000 movement. Rolex replaced the balance cock with a full balance bridge (and they made a few other small modifications too – Breguet overcoil, larger balance wheel), and the modified movement became the calibre 3130. Rolex added the ‘M’ (for Modified) suffix to the reference number of the watch.
An interesting aside is that the 14060M was offered in both non-chronometer and chronometer certified versions. The non-certified piece has only two lines of text below the center of the dial, while the chronometer version has four.
And finally, in 2012, Rolex replaced the 14060M with the updated 114060. They kept the 3130 movement, but housed it in the larger “supercase” (and of course added in other changes: the Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert, the lume – Rolex’s Chromalight, and the Oysterlock clasp).
But really, why is the 14060M two-liner (non-chronometer) my own personal favorite?
It’s the “everything you need, nothing you don’t” vibe I mentioned earlier. Then there’s the fact that it looks great on a steel bracelet, an Everest rubber strap (prototypical at this point), or a NATO in a color of your choice. And yes, a chronometer certification would be nice, but in my book, the two-lined dial beats the four-lined version. But biggest for me are the updated 3130 movement and the still-slender lugs and crown guards.
The style of the Submariner in general is such that it looks as good with a suit as it does with jeans and a T-shirt, not to mention a wetsuit. But it’s been pointed out to me that the regular Submariner in black is the basic entry level nice watch that every up-and-comer buys first. Now, I’m nothing if not contrarian. So, for me, the no-date is the perfect contrarian Submariner.
Not for nothing has this watch been called “the last of the best.”