The Ultimate Buying Guide to Rolex’s Original Dive Watch

There are two main versions of the Rolex Submariner – one with a date function and one without. The original Submariner, first introduced in 1953, was created without the date function. The first version with a date function was reference number 1680, released more than a decade later in the 1960s. Fans of Rolexes can usually be divided into two camps: those who favor promotion and those who favor nostalgia. Those who love the vintage charm of the past, also known as purists, will see the Submariner “No-Date” as a true interpretation of the original Rolex dive watch. Submariner No-Date devotees love symmetry, as there is no date hole at 3 o’clock.

Our guide will cover the Rolex Submariner in its purest form, starting with an in-depth history of the Submariner diving watch, how the date has evolved, and ending with the most notable references to the No-Date collection.
Key features of the Submariner No-Date.
Introduced: developed in 1953 (marketed in 1954).

Case diameter: 40 mm; 41 mm

Material: stainless steel; 18kt gold (white, yellow); yellow Rolesor (steel and gold).

Function: Time + running seconds

Bezel: rotates on a black 60-minute chronograph scale

Dial: black, illuminated hour markers

Bracelet: oyster or leather strap.

Water resistance: 100m / 330ft; 200m / 660ft; 300m / 1,000ft.
The Submariner was developed by Rolex in 1953 and officially launched at the Basel Watch Fair in 1954. The first generation was water-resistant to 100 metres and had a diameter of 37 mm. the bezel was not unidirectional and the case did not offer a crown guard.

From its first introduction in 1953 to the release of the reference 1680 in the late 1960s, Rolex’s Submariner displayed only the time of day. Given that almost every early Submariner had no date complication, one of the classic features of the Rolex Submariner was the absence of a date window on the dial.

Since its introduction in the late 1960s, the date version of the Submariner has bore on its dial the text of Rolex’s famous “Official Certification of the Highest Chronometer”. However, it was not until the 14060M revision that the latest Submariner received a unified chronometer certification, bringing the entire Submariner family into the COSC rating range. By this time, each Submariner watch had been equipped with a sapphire crystal and an updated winding crown, providing 300m water resistance.

In addition, the No-Date Submariner was the last Rolex to retain several of the features that have become characteristic of classic Rolex sports watches. These traits, which are now highly valued by many collectors, include the drilled lugs, the hollow end links, the stamped clasp and the aluminum bezel inserts.

Not until August 2020 will the latest version of the Rolex No-Date Submariner be reference number 114060, which for many years has not defined many of the signature features of the No-Date Submariner. The movement has been upgraded to Rolex’s in-house developed, COSC-rated Calibre 3130. The drilled lug holes and stamped bracelet components have been replaced with equivalents that are more consistent with the rest of the Submariner line. In addition, while Ref. 114060 maintains the same 40mm dimensions as its predecessor, it actually has significantly more wear due to its redesigned case with larger angles and wider lugs.

Another new feature of the reference 114060 is the scratch and fade resistant Cerachrom bezel inserts made from Rolex’s proprietary ceramic material, rather than the anodized aluminum inserts of the previous model. It features a diving scale engraved on the bezel face, which is then coated with a thin platinum PVD coating. This is, of course, a dive watch with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a 60-minute chronograph scale to record immersion and decompression times.

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