A cool early-summer breeze kicks up specks of sand as I sit on the beach. Summer Shandy in hand, I watch as the second-hand gracefully makes its journey over the iconic black dial. The hour and minute hands perfectly framing the name and logo that has become synonymous with luxury over the last 99 years - Rolex. As I move my wrist around, letting the light hit the ceramic bezel at various angles, I begin to realize why this watch is so iconic. While it is a fairly common watch in most frequent-flyer clubs, a right of passage to anyone with an MBA, and owned by anyone who has “made it”, the watch remains pure. It is everything you want in a luxury item, yet still maintaining its original tool watch functions. While it is instantly recognizable as the epitome of watchmaking to the average person, this is an object that perfectly balances form and function.
It may be a bit dramatic, but this was a moment of realization I had while sporting the Rolex Submariner (ref. 114060) at the beach. Few items hold the legendary level of design status as the Rolex Submariner. To me, the watch is synonymous with the likes of the Porsche 911, the iPod, and the Eames chair. To be frank, I can think of a list of watches that cover all the same bases as the Submariner for half the money, and yet, if I had to pick one watch to wear for the rest of my life, this would be it.
After a month on the wrist, there isn’t much I haven’t felt comfortable doing in this watch. From sitting on the beach with a beer to throwing on a suit and heading into a business professional setting, this watch has been the perfect companion. The brushed finishes and clean design elements create an odd sense of rugged luxury I have seldom come across with watches outside of the Rolex brand. While Rolex has transitioned from the ultimate tool company to the world’s most recognized luxury brand, the stainless-steel version of the Sub still feels like an actual tool.
As you will have noticed by now, this isn’t the most famous version of the Sub, this is the No-Date variant. To me, this iteration of the Submariner (ref. 114060) is the purest, as the symmetry of the design is un-compromised by the lack of a date window/Cyclops. This watch is everything you need, with all other elements stripped away. With every rotation of the bezel, you receive a satisfying auditory click as it moves. While some pursuits have been slow to warm up to the larger maxi-case design, I feel it only adds to the structural integrity of the design and gives it a more beefy presence on the wrist. When comparing to the previous case design side by side, I found it to have a more robust overall feeling, while still maintaining all the classic design elements.
At the heart of this watch, there is a sense of adventure. While most see it as the ultimate sign of luxury and success, I see it as something else entirely. This watch is so much more than a simple means of telling the time, it is a companion. The design works so well because you never have to think about how it will pair with an outfit, it just works. Throughout the month of wearing it, I never felt like the watch was holding me back from doing anything. The taper of the oyster bracelet was perfectly complemented by the updated clasp with glide-lock technology. Simply click out an inner-clasp to make quick micro adjustments. Throughout the day as my wrist would swell when out in the sun I could easily adjust the bracelet to the perfect size.
In terms of how I was able to style the watch, I found very few limitations. Some might find the pairing of black dial/bezel with brown shoes less than ideal I feel it works well. The brushed elements of the watch give a sleek look that I complimented everything from a suit to jeans and a tee shirt. For those wishing to match the watch more closely to their outfits, it also looks fantastic when paired with a brown leather strap or a variety of Nato straps.
To summarize this time-piece, I would say it is the foundation on which most sports watches are created. The rugged nature of this diver will serve anyone well in almost any situation. For those craving something unique and different this isn’t the watch, however, but it isn’t supposed to be. This watch is the base level Porsche 911. It is everything you want from a Rolex, with a “no nonsense” approach. It carries all of the iconic design elements with nothing you don’t need. Overall, I found it met everything I needed on a daily basis, even though I typically like to have a date-window. The smooth glide of the second-hand is a therapeutic experience as you watch it make its way around. This watch has served as the benchmark for decades, and this version shows why Rolex is king in the watchmaking industry.
Huge thank you to the folks over at Crown & Caliber for lending me this watch, you can check out this watch and thousands of other great pre-owned pieces here.