IN-DEPTH: Gone but not forgotten – the discontinued Rolex Submariner ref. 114060Zach Blass
Before we dig into the Rolex Submariner 114060, I want to set the record straight on Submariner nomenclature. There is no such thing as the “Submariner No-Date” in the Rolex catalogue. The Rolex Submariner does not have a date window or cyclops magnification, that complication is reserved for the Submariner Date. This rampant mis-naming of the Submariner stems from the fact the date model is the more recognised and sought after of the two – at least by the masses.
Some collectors, myself included, prefer the original Submariner design for its clean, symmetrical and dateless dial. It displays all the analogue information a diver requires – I don’t think you really need to know the date when diving into the ocean. If you’re planning on staying under the surface that long, you have other more pressing issues to worry about.
The 904L stainless steel case is 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug to lug across the wrist (without including the fixed end links of the bracelet), and 12.5mm thick. The case is predominantly satin finished on its front, with the case sides mirror polished. The Rolex Submariner 114060 has a larger presence than its predecessors, but in my opinion that is more in feeling than in specification. As an example the older Rolex Submariner 1680 is 47.6mm lug to lug – less than a mm smaller than the 114060. Both watches are also 40mm in diameter, and the 1680 is over a millimetre thicker than the 114060.
So, why does the 114060 feel like the largest of them all? The Rolex Submariner 114060 not only introduced a uni-directional Cerachrom bezel to the Submariner, but also a new maxi-case profile that forsakes the tapered and bevelled lugs found previously. Instead we have more block-like lugs that make the watch look like it hit the gym and put on some muscle mass.
Everything about the reference was designed with longevity and robustness in mind. The ceramic bezel is highly resistant to scratches and the elements, with platinum inlays used for the timing scale to prevent wear and tarnishing over time. It could also be argued, after years of customers desiring polished and refinished watches, that the larger lug profile not only created a more sturdy profile but also a more repairable one. By having larger lugs, they can afford to lose the incremental amount of metal lost during a refinishing.
True to the Submariner name, the Rolex Submariner 114060 features a TripLock screw-down crown that helps secure the watch to depths up to 300 metres below the surface. The triple-gasket system provides three layers of protection and, so long as the watch receives the occasional check-up and TLC from your local watchmaker, will remain a very trusted companion beneath the surface of the water.
The gloss black dial of the Rolex Submariner 114060 is highly legible, which is quite surprising considering the crystal has no AR coating. The black backdrop seemingly absorbs all of the light that hits it, with minimal reflection to obstruct your view of the time. The hands and applied indices are made of white gold to prevent tarnishing over time, and are filled with their proprietary Chromalight lume that shine bright blue when you find yourself in darker settings. The coating has a very high endurance with the elements glowing for many hours without feeding on light.
The hours hand is fashioned in the famous Mercedes format, with a lollipop seconds hand that also harks back to previous designs. The lume plots of the indices, however, have grown in size – the maxi dial creating much more visible indicators on its surface. At 12 the Rolex name and logo is printed on the dial, along with the Oyster Perpetual foundation of its build (note it does not say Oyster Perpetual No Date). At 6 o’clock, four lines of text are printed including the Submariner name, the Superlative Chronometer status of the movement, and its level of water resistance (feet first). While many enthusiasts would prefer less printed boasting on the dial, I find it largely harmless and, fortunately, it does little to breakup the dial.
The Oyster bracelet is fully satin brushed across the top surfaces of the links and clasp, with only the sides mirror polished (matching the tone of the case). Each link is secured by a screw, a more trusted system than the more cost efficient pin and collar found on less expensive models. The Oyster clasp houses the ingenious Glidelock system that, like EasyLink, allows the wearer to make quick adjustments to the size of the bracelet. Whereas Easylink can add 5mm of length, Glidelock can add up to 20mm of length through ten increments of 2mm. This allows owners to not only stretch the bracelet over a dive suit, but also achieve the perfect fit on their bare wrist. No need to source half links, or play musical links with a screwdriver. The easy-to-use system can be incrementally adjusted to what you consider the best size.
The Rolex Submariner 114060 is powered by the Superlative Chronometer 3130 caliber, manufactured in-house by Rolex. The movement is extremely robust and accurate thanks to its full balance bridge and regulation to run within plus or minus two seconds per day. The power reserve of 48 hours may no longer blow everyone’s mind today, but it is still two days of reliable timekeeping off the wrist. Let’s face it though, the watch will certainly get a lot of wear time and as result be perpetually wound to run with its automatic movement.