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Hands-on Review of the 3 Most Popular New 2020 Rolex Submariners

When you think of diver’s watches, the Rolex Submariner better be the first one that comes to mind. It is not only the most iconic diver’s watch, it is among the most sought after, talked about, and instantly recognizable sports watches the world over. Released in 1953, it’s a watch that can honestly claim to be the first true diver’s watch. It’s a watch that James Bond wore on screen throughout the 60s and 70s and from then on was Rolex’s most emblematic model. It’s a watch that every watch collector wants in their watch box. It is a classic watch that has held onto its rich tradition while always keeping up-to-date with the best in the industry as it evolved. And with the release of the new Rolex Submariners in 2020, the epochal collection continues to exceed expectations.

We know first hand as we have our hands on three new Rolex Submariner watches: reference 126610LN, reference 126613LN, and reference 126613LB. 

Below, we are going to dive into the new Rolex Submariner collection, discussing what’s new and what’s the same. We are also going to give you a hands-on review of the three 2020 Submariner models we have in store at Diamonds By Raymond Lee, which includes the 2 two-tone models (LB & LN) and 1 of the 2 stainless steel models (the LN). 

2020 NEW ROLEX SUBMARINERS

Up until last year, the last time Rolex launched a new Submariner was in 2008. Back then, we were in the midst of a global financial crisis. In 2020, Rolex released the latest line of Submariner watches amid a pandemic crisis, COVID-19. In fact, due to the coronavirus, the Submariner didn’t release until September 2020, almost 6 months later than it was supposed to (Baselworld 2020 was cancelled). As always, nothing can stop the Submariner from being a success.

As of writing this, the new Submariner watches have only been available to the public for 5 months. So, it is still the hottest topic in the world of Rolex. After all, the new collection of Submariners brought about some important changes to the quintessential diver’s watch, which we are about to get into. If you know anything about times when Rolex makes changes to their most popular collections, then you know, typically speaking, changes are not well received. It takes time for people to come around, and then, grow to absolutely love the updates. With the new and improved Submariners, surprisingly, the updates were instantly appreciated. Right now, the Submariner is the Rolex watch to buy. There have been droves of people trying to get their hands on them. Needless to say, because of that, the waiting lists are long. 

Before we discuss the changes, let’s go over the specific models within the new Rolex Submariners collection…

8 NEW SUBMARINER MODELS IN 2020

As of 2020, there are only 8 Submariner models available at retail..that is, if they can actually be found without signing up for a waiting list. Thankfully, there are secondary markets and sellers, like Diamonds By Raymond Lee who have the new Submariners for sale. 

The new Submariner models are as follows…

  1. 124060: This is the only No Date Submariner. It is stainless steel with a black bezel and black dial. 
  2. 126610LN: Stainless steel with a black bezel and black dial. WE HAVE THIS ONE FOR SALE.
  3. 126610LV: Stainless steel with a green bezel and black dial. It is being called “the new Kermit”, and it replaces the Hulk.
  4. 126613LB: Yellow Rolesor (two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold) with a blue bezel and blue dial. WE HAVE THIS ONE FOR SALE.
  5. 126613LN: Yellow Rolesor with a black bezel and black dial. WE HAVE THIS ONE FOR SALE.
  6. 126619LB: White gold with a blue bezel and black dial (this one replaced the Smurf).
  7. 126618LB: Yellow gold with a blue bezel and blue dial.
  8. 126618LN: Yellow gold with a black bezel and black dial.

As you can see, we marked and linked the ones that we have for sale at Diamonds By Raymond Lee. These are the most coveted of all the Submariner right now (although the No Date is also extremely popular too). 

WHAT’S CHANGED WITH THE NEW SUBMARINER?

Before we get into what has changed with the new Rolex Submariners, we should state that the original DNA of the Submariner is still fully intact. The functions – unidirectional 60-minute bezel and 300 meters of water resistance – and overall aesthetics – Oyster case, Oyster bracelet, 60 minute graduated bezel, Mercedes style hand, generously lumed circular, rectangular, and triangular hour markers – are exactly the same. It is still the Submariner that we all know and love. 

Like previous generations, the changes are merely refinements and upgrades. That said, as subtle as some of the changes may be, when it comes to Rolex, changes are always seen as significant. 

Let’s go over the case, bezel, dial, bracelet, and movement separately to discuss the updates.

CASE

As the case saw one of the most significant changes, let’s start here…

While the Rolex Submariner began its life back in 1953 with a 37mm Oyster case, in the late 1960s, it was updated to 40mm and it has remained that way ever since…well, up until 2020 that is. 

With the release of the new Submariners last year, we were introduced to the first ever 41mm Rolex Submariner. 

1 millimeter may not seem like a lot, but when it comes to Rolex watches, 1mm is a big deal. It got everyone talking. And the truth is, it really does make a big difference to the wrist presence. That said, with the new Submariners, we also saw a refinement in the Oyster case’s design. Rather than having a Super Case, which the Submariners from 2010-on had, the new Submariner Oyster case takes cue from previous generations. 

The Super Case design is bulky, with lugs and crown guards nearly twice the size of previous models, which made the 40mm case size feel and look bigger than past models. This was Rolex’s way to keep up with the trend of bigger watches.

The new 2020 Rolex Submariners have a more refined case, so the 41mm, while surely appearing bigger on the wrist due to the 1mm surplus, is not such a drastic change. If it was a 41mm Super Case, the change from 40 to 41 would certainly be more considerable, and the change from pre-2010 models to now would be particularly polarizing.

As for the refinements, they come in the form of a smoother, more ergonomic design (which also makes it more comfortable), and slimmer lugs and crown guards. All in all, it makes for much better proportions, giving the new Submariners a more classic, sophisticated, svelte look, while also providing the modern wrist presence we all want with a luxury sports watch. 

MOVEMENT

Although the new 41mm case was big news, the biggest and most important change is the movement.

The Rolex Submariner has had the same movement (Calibre 3135) since 1988! Needless to say, it was time for the Submariner to have a movement up to par with specs we come to expect in the modern day. 

It should be noted that the calibre 3135 is considered one of the finest mechanisms ever created. It is a true workhorse of a movement. This is why it was able to last for 3 decades. As such, if you have an old Submariner, there is nothing to frown upon. Nevertheless, the new movement is far superior. 

The new 2020 Rolex Submariners have a Calibre 3235 movement. This movement is the modern workhorse we’ve all been waiting for – 90% of the movement features new components and it is protected by 14 patents.

First off, it has 70 hours of power reserve, which is 22 hours more than the calibre 3135. 

What’s more, it has Rolex’s proprietary Chronergy escapement, which has a revolutionary redesign of the classic Swiss Lever system. The two primary components of this system are the pallet fork and escape wheel. The escape wheel is skeletonized, which reduces its weight, and thus, its inertia. As for the pallet fork, it is also lighter with better contact surfaces. Altogether, the modifications increase the escapement’s efficiency by 15%. To make matters even more impressive, all of its components are made from nickel-phosphorous alloy, so the movement is highly anti-magnetic. 

Then, as with all modern Rolex movements, the new 2020 Rolex Submariners have a Rolex’s Parachrom alloy, a frequency of 28,800vph, and Paraflex shock absorbers. And, of course, it maintains the Superlative Chronometer rating, which guarantees accuracy between-2/+2.

This is the change for the Submariner that we all have been waiting for. 

BRACELET & CLASP

Like the case, there have been some refinements to the bracelet.

First, with the lugs being 21mm now rather than 20mm, the bracelet is 1mm wider. This 1mm addition to the width spans the entire length of the bracelet.

As for other changes, you have improvements to its tolerances. The bracelet has virtually no visible gaps between the links now. It is made to perfection. 

Beyond that, it is the classic Oyster bracelet you know and love – Big, sporty three-link design, solid, and immaculately finished with high polish center links and satin end links. 

In regards to the clasp, it has the Glidelock Extension System, which came out in 2010. However, rather than having 5mm extension capability, it has 20mm of adjustment with 2mm increments.

Note: To be fair, only Submariners from 2010-2011 had the 5mm Glidelock Extension System. The 20mm extension capability came in 2012, so any Submariner produced post-2012 will also have this same 20mm by 2mm increment adjustment. 

BEZEL 

The bezel is exactly the same. Why? Because it was perfect. There’s no need to mess with perfection. 

It is a ceramic bezel with a 60-minute diver’s scale engraved and filled with platinum or gold (depending on the model – i.e. the two-tone and all yellow gold models use yellow gold for the fill).

For those who don’t know, the ceramic bezel was introduced to the Submariner line in 2008, but it was only for the full gold version. In 2009, the Rolesors (two tone models) got it. Then in 2012, the stainless steel Subs got it. Since then, it has been ceramic all the way. Ceramic bezels are virtually scratch resistant and fade resistant, allowing them to look brand new for potentially ever.

Other functionality of the bezel is the same as it has been for the last 4 generations. It is uni-directional which means it can only rotate in one direction. This is important for divers as if it was to accidentally turn while timing a dive, it can only shorten the dive time, not extend it. 

DIAL

The dial is almost identical in design with the previous generation. However, because the case is 1mm bigger, the dial is also slightly bigger. Thanks to the dial having more room to work with, the new Submariners have a more spacious and balanced look. It just feels tidier and cleaner, but only a keen eye will notice this. 

Another very small tweak is seen in the handset. The minute hand is just a tad bit longer on the new Submariners, now reaching the minute track, and the Mercedes hand is just a little fatter. 

Lastly, you will notice a small Rolex coronet crown between the “Swiss Made” at the bottom of the dial, which precious generations will not have. This indication is only done with Rolex watches that have the newest generation of movement. You will see it in other collections as well. 

Besides that, everything else is the same. You have the date display (with exception to the No Date Sub), the trademark circle and rectangle hour markers with a triangle at the twelve, all generously filled with Chromalight lume. It is a beautiful dial made for easily legibility, day or night, above land or deep underwater. 

Colors: The stainless steel LV model now has a black dial instead of a green dial, reverting back to its old styling when it was known as the Kermit. As for the White Gold LB model’s dial, it also turns black, rather than blue, like that of the Smurf. 

NEW 2020 ROLEX SUBMARINERS AVAILABLE AT DIAMONDS BY RAYMOND LEE IN BOCA RATON

We have three new 2020 Rolex Submariners at our state-of-the-art luxury showroom in Boca Raton – The Rolex Submariner 126610LN, the Submariner 126613LN, and the Submariner 126613LB, all of which are in perfect condition and come with their original box and paperwork.

Rolex Submariner Reference 126610LN – Stainless Steel with Black Dial and Black Bezel

Submariner 126613LN – Yellow Rolesor (two tone yellow gold and stainless steel) with Black Dial and Black Bezel

Submariner 126613LB – Yellow Rolesor with Blue Dial and Blue Bezel

Have questions about our new 2020 Rolex Submariners watches? Feel free to contact us now. 

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