Rolex Submariner No Date 114060
Regarding the meaning of status symbol, the Submariner, smart choices. And resale value too.
I've always been known for not buying a wristwatch exclusively for its resale value. Nowadays, it's so common to include a new watch into an investment portfolio, that love for watchmaking is gradually losing credibility; there's a growing bunch of people who are not driven by passion when looking for their new watch. Nevertheless, I do respect those who buy one as a status symbol; after all, we're not all watch geeks: our new watch often is a means to prove we have achieved (or aim to achieve) a higher social status. This behavior is prevalent across Italy than anywhere else, and three brands, mainly, rule.
How does my choice of purchasing (and reviewing) a Rolex Submariner No Date 114060 with Cerachrom ceramic bezel fit into this context? The one you see pictured in here is not any Sub, but my only Rolex watch, if we exclude a vintage Rolex Milgauss that I inherited from my grandfather. Did I surrender, and started to buy watches for the sake of safely investing my money, or should I be still considered as a watch aficionado? I did ask myself that question, and I thought I had to share my vision and thoughts with you all, and why did I choose this specific reference, the 114060. Also, from an editorial perspective, I believe I have written about almost any modern Rolex sports watch, but the Rolex Submariner, the pillar of the Geneva-based manufacturer.
Soon before a Sky-Dweller or a Yacht-Master 2 eventually hit the market, and the folks began to ask for a Rolex Daytona, Rolex Pepsi, Rolex Batman or whatsoever, impatiently, the Rolex Submariner was the favorite choice to those approaching Rolex: it is simple, sporty, classy and designed for diving, yet not too big, showcasing the sturdiness Rolex is known for. When I was a child, it was an Italian baby boomer's top choice. During the 1990s, when we were moving from our currency to the euro, a Rolex Submariner was a great deal, and, thirty years later or so, it still is. Its history is intermingled with the highly sought-after GMTs; the truth is that the latter would perhaps not even exist if the Submariner had not ever existed. The Rolex Submariner is, today, a hot-piece once again, given, also, a GMT Master 2's limited availability.
If we list all the sports watches belonging to the under-ten-thousand euro price range, the Rolex Submariner No Date 114060 has no competition. Its awareness is so powerful that most people consider it not solely the reference diver, but the first one ever conceived, without knowing at all the first-ever commercially distributed diving watch was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, such a different piece in terms of product, brand, and production volumes. The Oyster case and the Triplock system have no doubt represented a significant innovation in sports watchmaking during the twentieth century, and Rolex not only understood how relevant it is to design and build every part in-house, but they also got how important is to communicate every single innovation, before anybody else, accurately.
Why did I choose the Rolex Submariner 114060 No Date?
I was eager to own my first Rolex watch, and the Submariner No Date embodies the no-frills modern sports diving watch. The primary reason for buying a 114060 rather than a 116610LN, is it has no date and no magnifying glass at all: the one-thousand price gap between the two is something I hardly understand; I also believe the Sub No Date is way sleeker and more faithful to an original diver's watch. As I write this post, if you're looking into buying a Submariner No Date 114060, be aware you have to apply to a (growing) waiting list.
Vice versa, the Submariner 116610LN is usually in stock at your nearest Rolex retailer: it is an interesting trend and case study indeed. From up-close, a 114060 is not superbly finished; it is rather perfectly executed. No doubt, it is the best industrially produced luxury watch, in terms of both quality and overall experience, in the benchmark. The bezel is a masterpiece: not only did Rolex patent the Cerachrom inlay, but it also introduced ceramics made bezels, in the industry. Ratcheting is as smooth as it is precise, unparalleled unless you opt for a Tudor Pelagos, that belongs to the same Luxury Group. The grooves across the outer ring feature a perfect spacing between each other: they are not too wide as on some professional diving watches nor too thin as on a Skin Diver.
The Rolex Submariner and the Voice Of Customer: it is as reliable as it is not precise (they claim).
Two are the leading topics when talking Rolex watches with your peers or friends: the first is that they are not as precise as the brand declares, even so after the Rolex Submariner has become a Superlative Chronometer officially certified watch. I have no proof and never tested it against an Omega Master Chronometer or a Grand Seiko Spring Drive, that can easily outperform not just a Rolex watch, but any competitor. The second one has to do with "product reliability": according to many (owners and repairers, especially), a Rolex watch's reliability is unequaled.
This very last sentence, unless you compare a Submariner against the likes of any other contender, sounds too optimistic, and not fact-based. We are dealing with a simple wristwatch powered by the less complicated mechanical movement available, that has undergone a continuous improvement process over the last fifty years or so: should we expect any quality issue on here? As far as my own Submariner No Date 114060 concerns, it's too early to talk precision rate and reliability, I got mine at the end of July, and I'm using it with extreme care.
The Rolex caliber 3130.
Product robustness brings the conversation to talking about the Rolex caliber 3130. With a 48-hour maximum power reserve, it is close to being phased out, I presume; it is outdated in comparison to the state-of-the-art Rolex calibers that run for slightly more than seventy hours. Also, it looks poorly refined too. I think Rolex is "brave" in showing it as a stand-alone piece on their official website, or high confidence instead. Finally, it proves how the average Rolex buyer is not caring at what ticks inside his or her Rolex watch, at all.
With the METAS certification changing the game, Rolex decided to switch to an in-house certification process carried out on the entire watch, thus overcoming the COSC certificate's well known technical obsolescence. As that's the case with a Patek Philippe's Seal, there is no evidence nor further details regarding which tests are executed to guarantee a +/- 2 seconds per day accuracy, but I have no doubt it works. If I'm looking for superior precision, I buy a Grand Seiko Spring Drive. Period. However, it seems Rolex has, again, turned a letdown into added value for the customer.
Perfect proportions and superior comfort. Plus, the "legendary" resale value.
It looks bizarre to introduce the term "perfect fit" when it comes to a wristwatch, it is not a bespoke garment, after all. No other sports watch wears and wraps around your wrist as a Submariner does, in this price range, that's a matter of fact. No pinching at all is also guaranteed. The Oyster bracelet is a feast for the eyes, and superior engineering ensures excellent comfort. Keep also in mind it is rare to find a 40mm large sports watch, today.
Let me sum up with the Submariner No Date 114060's resale value: sticker price is close to breaking, according to rumors, the € 7,000 threshold anytime soon in the first quarter of 2020. It nevertheless will keep representing the best value luxury watch your money can buy. From a buyer's perspective, it is the best Rolex sports watch that you can ever take, and the one that guarantees a 19% mark-up as soon as you step off the authorized dealer. Something that most people take into account when investing 7,000 euros, and look forward to reselling it after a year or two. Even though, as that's my case, I look forward to enjoying it for a very long time instead.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®