If you’ve already read our early review of the no-date model, you should now be fully aware that Rolex is renewing one of its most important models, the Submariner. However, there’s more to the collection than just the classic steel and black dial/bezel model without a date. In a surprising move for Rolex, which usually introduces its novelties gradually, this year the Crown introduces an entire collection of new Subs. So here it is, the 2020 Rolex Submariner Date 41mm collection, comprising seven new references… and yes, the “Kermit” is back!
Before moving into the details about the new Rolex Submariner Date 41mm, we encourage you to have a look at our in-depth series of articles retracing the history of the Submariner – part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.
What’s important to know? Altogether, we’re talking about eight new Rolex Submariner references – one No-Date, the reference 124060, and seven Submariner Date models, the references 126610LN, 126610LV, 126613LN, 126613LB, 126618LN, 126618LB and 126619LB. Two steel watches, two Rolesor versions, two yellow gold versions and one white gold edition. And all of them come with the same updates as the no-date steel version.
A new 41mm case and bracelet
As explained with the No-Date reference 124060, the main visual update for the 2020 Rolex Submariner Date concerns the diameter, which has increased from 40mm in the previous reference 116610 to 41mm. But, and this is a big “but”, there’s more to the case than just an increased size; most of the proportions have been updated and shapes are different. The most significant difference comes from the discontinuation of the so-called “super case”, as the lugs of the new Submariner Date 41mm are now slimmer and more tapered, a return to the old-school look of the 5-digit references.
More updates can be seen on the case; the lug width is now 21mm and are slimmer, in order to be consistent with the increased diameter and the crown guards have been redesigned and are now more angled. What doesn’t change is the 300m water-resistance, thanks to the Triplock crown, the combination of satin-finished and polished areas and the solid screwed caseback, which doesn’t offer a view on the movement.
The bracelet, still a classic 3-link Oyster, is still present but has also been updated, with an additional millimetre in width on the whole length – 21mm now between the lugs. It is still secured by the great Oysterclasp with security lock and the clever Rolex Glidelock extension system allowing the length of the bracelet to be extended by 20mm, in increments of 2mm. The bracelet is fully brushed on the steel models, while the more precious Rolesor, yellow and white gold versions have a polished central link – classic for Rolex sports gold models.
7 new references, with new colour combinations (incl. the Kermit)
In the past, the Submariner Date (series 1166xx) was available in seven references – two in steel (black and green), two in Yellow Rolesor (black and blue), two in 18k yellow gold (black and blue) and one in 18k white gold (in blue). And indeed, the new 2020 Rolex Submariner Date 41mm collection series 1266xx will comprise seven references replacing all existing models.
- 126610LN – the classic steel on steel, black bezel and black dial version. An all-time classic that will always work. It replaces the ref. 116610LN.
- 126610LV – the successor of the “Hulk” model with its green colour scheme (dial and bezel). However, the new 126610LV comes with an important update. While it retains its steel case and steel bracelet, and while the green Cerachrom bezel is still part of the package, the dial is now black lacquered and not sunray green anymore. So indeed, we can say that this new version is the direct successor of the 50th-anniversary model, the reference 16610LV, the so-called “Kermit”.
- 126613LB – another classic in the Submariner Date collection, the blue Rolesor model. This version combines an Oystersteel case with 18k yellow gold elements, such as the crown and the bezel. The bracelet has 18k polished yellow gold central links. The Cerachrom bezel is blue with a PVD yellow gold scale and the dial retains its deep blue colour with sunray-brushed pattern and 18k yellow gold indexes and hands. As such, the new Rolex Submariner Date 41mm 126613LB remains close to the previous ref. 116613LB.
- 126613LN – a classic two-tone version, with a yellow gold and steel combination, here with a black dial and bezel. It replaces the previous 116613LN.
- 126618LN – the classic black on black yellow gold model with a matching bracelet. It replaces the previous 116618LN.
- 126618LB – same as above, in solid yellow gold, but with a blue bezel and a blue Cerachrom bezel.
- 126619LB – the only solid precious metal version in the Rolex Submariner Date 41mm collection so far, with 18k white gold case and bracelet. As such, it replaces the older ref. 116619LB. However, this new reference 126619LB shows one major update, as the dial isn’t blue sunray anymore but black lacquered, contrasting with the bezel – just like the 126610LV.
Apart from the colours on the bezel, there are no major updates and the Rolex Submariner Date 41mm retains all the elements of the previous versions. The bezel is still made of polished ceramic (Cerachrom), with platinum or gold PVD recessed tracks and numerals. The bezel is still unidirectional with 120 clicks.
As for the dials, the major update is that Rolex now plays on contrasting colours – it has always used matching dial and bezel combinations on the Submariner 1166xx series (black on black, green on green or blue on blue). A bit like the Tudor Black Bay 41 Blue or Burgundy, the Rolex Submariner Date 41mm now has black dials with coloured bezels – just like we predicted it in our Baselworld 2020 mockups – and this for the new Kermit 126610LV and the replacement for the Smurf, the 126619LB.
The dial of the new Submariner Date remains entirely in line with the previous generations, with the iconic combination of triangular, rectangular and circular hour markers, as well as the lollipop and Mercedes hands – all executed in white or yellow gold and filled with Chromalight. One small update, the minute hand is now longer (perfectly matching the minute track) and the hour hand is slightly wider. Thus, the “Maxi Dial” concept is still present.
The latest generation calibre 3235
The major evolution of the 2020 Rolex Submariner Date 41mm is mechanical which is now equipped with the latest generation Rolex movement, the calibre 3235, an automatic chronometer with hours, minutes, seconds and date at 3 o’clock (with the usual cyclops). This movement is shared with multiple other models, such as the Datejust 41 and Datejust 36, the Yacht-Master 42 or the Sea-Dweller 43. It is the new classic time-and-date engine that powers most watches in Rolex’s portfolio.
Equipped with the modern Chronergy escapement, the calibre 3235 has a comfortable power reserve of 70 hours, beats at 4Hz and comes with anti-magnetic properties – thanks to the nickel-phosphorus escapement and blue Parachrom hairspring. It is, of course, a Superlative Chronometer, meaning that it is chronometer-certified by the COSC and also receives an internal certification after casing. The precision is of the order of -2 /+2 seconds per day.
The 2020 Rolex Submariner Date 41mm will soon be available at retailers but expect it to be rather difficult to get (especially the new Kermit) given the high demand already existing on the previous Subs. The models will be priced from EUR 8,650 (steel, black).
More details to be found at rolex.com.