The new generations of the Submariner were supposed to be unveiled at Baselworld 2020 back in March, but due to COVID-19, things got delayed. Finally, just earlier this month, the new line of Submariners were released. We got our hands on the new stainless steel black dial black bezel 41mm Rolex Submariner, reference 126610LN. This watch is an instant classic. It is so insanely popular that waiting lists are up to 10 years right now. The only way to get one is on the secondary market. But expect to pay a hefty price.
In honor of the new release of the world’s most iconic diver’s watch, we wanted to give you an in-depth hands-on review. In this review of the new Submariner 126610LN, we are going to talk about what’s new and what’s the same, starting with the most significant changes and upgrades.
For the first time in the legendary brand’s history, the Oyster case of the Submariner has been sized up from 40mm to 41mm. It may not seem like a significant change to amateur watch fans, but for true collectors, you know this is a big deal. Especially when talking about one of the most iconic, most highly celebrated, most recognizable watches the world over.
The Submariner’s case has been the same 40mm size since 1979, with the release of the Sub reference 16800. And at the time, the increase in size was only .5mm, as the previous generation, reference 1680, had a 39.5mm case size. Thus, this jump of 1mm is the biggest in the Submariner collection’s history.
It’s been 40mm for 41 years. The Submariner being 40mm is like the sky being blue. You just expect it. So, with this update, of course people can’t stop talking about it.
Now, granted, in 2010, when reference 116610 was unveiled, we saw a change in the Submariner’s case with the then-new “Super Case” design. The Super Case gave us a bigger-looking, chunkier, more robust Subby…but it was still 40mm.
The newest Submariner, reference 126610, takes arguably the most popular sports watch on Earth out of traditional watch collectors’ generally agreed upon “best wristwatch sizes”. For many purists, 41mm is simply too big.
Well, with the increase in its case diameter comes some refinements in its design.
Much of the Rolex community thought the Super Case of the Submariner 116610 was too bulky and blockish. It was said to have lost the elegance and grace of past generations. So, with the new Submariner 126610, Rolex addressed that complaint.
The new Submariner is svelte, taking the case back to the gracefulness of past generations, yet with a larger case size. It’s like the best of both worlds. You get the modern size we all want (face it, we like bigger these days, but not too big), and you get the elegance of the classic Submariner case design.
Rolex did this by slimming down and tapering the lugs. They also slenderized the crown guards. However diminutive it may be, it actually makes a big difference. Taking that extra millimeter off the lugs gave Rolex the ability to extend the case in a way that improves the overall proportionality. So, while the watch is larger, it appears more sophisticated, sleek, refined, and even “vintage” on the wrist. It’s already clear this was a fantastic move by Rolex as the new Submariner 126610LN is extremely sought after right now. The positive response to it has been nothing short of miraculous.
Note: The new Submariner has the same Twinlock crown double waterproof system, so as with the past generations, it promises waterproofness to a depth of 300 meters (or 1,000 feet for us Americans).
While the biggest change in design is the Oyster case, the most remarkable change to the new Submariner Date is its new engine, Calibre 3235. We must say, it was about time and we all saw this coming. The Rolex Submariner had the same movement for the past two generations. We are talking about the Calibre 3135, which was introduced back in 1988. The Calibre 3135 movement will go down in history as one of the best workhorse movements of its time, but these days, it simply doesn’t have the specs you would expect from a modern Rolex.
With the introduction of the 41mm Rolex Submariner 126610LN, we get the Calibre 3235 movement. Rolex’s Calibre 3235 was created back in 2015. You will find it in any Sea-Dweller or Deepsea since then…and now, the Submariner.
The new self-winding movement offers a number of special benefits, with the most prominent being its power reserve. It has a power reserve of 70 hours, which is far more than the 48 power reserve of the calibre 3135.
Furthermore, it has a monobloc rotor fitted on ball bearings. This new engineering increases the longevity and required maintenance that the automatic assembly needs over the years.
It also has Rolex’s Chronergy escapement. This is a revolutionary redesign of the classic Swiss Lever system. Essentially the two main components are a pallet fork and escape wheel. The escape wheel is skeletonized so it reduces weight, and thus, its inertia. As for the pallet fork, it is lighter as well, with slimmer teeth. What’s more, both components are made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy, so the watch is highly anti-magnetic.
From there, you still have all the benefits you’d expect from the Submariner, such as the Parachrom alloy, Paraflex shock absorbers, and a very hearty frequency of 28,800vph.
Of course, the movement abides to the moniker’s Superlative Chronometer rating, which guarantees accuracy between-2/+2. This kind of precision and reliability is the best in the business.
All in all, the Calibre 3235 is to the modern world what the 3135 was back in the 90s. It is an advanced, highly proficient workhorse that we can appreciate for many years to come.
The 41mm stainless steel Submariner 126610LN has a Cerachrom ceramic bezel. It is exactly the same as the previous generation, which was the first black dial black bezel Submariner to have a ceramic bezel.
Let’s first talk about the benefits of Rolex’s patented “Cerachrom” ceramic bezel. Cerachrom combines the word “Ceramic” with the greek word “Chrom”, which means color. Rolex’s Cerachrom bezel is virtually scratch proof and fade proof, so it’s going to look brand new far into the future. This was a major change to the previous generation as before that they used an aluminum insert for the bezel which would get scratched and faded over time.
As for the functionality of the bezel, it is exactly as it was for decades. The bezel has an engraved, platinum-filled PVD 60-minute diver’s scale so divers can keep track of time underwater. And at the zero, there’s a luminescent capsule to make legibility easier.
The bezel also rotates unidirectionally. Before 1980, Submariner watches could rotate both ways, but for safety concerns, Rolex changed the bezel so that it could only rotate in one direction. This way, if the bezel was to move accidentally, it could only shorten the diver’s time, not increase it. As you can imagine, going over the diving time can be life or death, as you have limited oxygen supply.
The bezel has serrated edges as well. This makes it much easier to rotate the bezel with a diver’s suit on.
Overall, the bezel is another example of how each and every element of a Rolex watch is carefully thought out.
The dial features some of the most subtle changes in the evolution of the Submariner. It is the same Maxi dial with some small tweaks. Let’s go over each of those.
First off, the black backdrop of the dial is obviously a bit bigger, as to accommodate the 41mm case.
With the classic Submariner dot and baton hour marker’s remaining the same size, it gives the dial a more spacious, balanced appearance. It feels somewhat less cluttered, although we’d never call any of the previous Submariner’s dials “cluttered”. In any case, this subtle change is well-received.
Second, you have a slight alteration in the handset. The overall design is the same, but the size has be adjusted. The Mercedes-style hour hand is a bit fatter and the minute hand is ever-so slightly longer, to the point where it now reaches the minute track.
Lastly, they added a very small Rolex coronet crown between the “Swiss Made” below the 6 o’clock.
Everything else…exactly the same. It’s the good old classic steel Submariner through and through. A beautiful black dial with powerfully contrasting indexes, hands and lettering. Not to mention, powerful Chromalight lume for dark settings and underwater visibility.
The Rolex Submariner 126610LN rocks the sporty three-link solid stainless steel Oyster bracelet as always. Because of the change in the size of the case, the bracelet had to be slightly updated. It is now 1mm wider, so it is 21mm in width. This applies to the entire length of the bracelet, as well as the clasp.
Rolex also refined the bracelet, tightening up tolerances. The new Oyster bracelet has no visible gaps between the links.
As always, the bracelet’s end links are brush-finished and the center links are high polish, creating a beautiful contrast between the centerline and the flanks.
The new submariner has the ever-advanced Oyster clasp Glidelock Extension System, which was introduced back in 2010, yet further updated in 2012.
The Glidelock Extension System allows 20mm of sizing adjustment, in 2mm increments, without the use of any tools. This makes it prefect for adjusting the size to a diver’s suit.
Overall, the clasp is thoroughly reliable and comfortable on the wrist. It has a satin finish on the exterior and a high polish on the underside. Rolex doesn’t miss a beat.
The new Rolex Submariner 126610LN has a suggested retail price of $9,150. But here’s the thing, it would take a miracle to get one new from an authorized Rolex dealer. People are reporting 8-10 year waiting lists for the new steel Submariner. That’s even longer than the stainless steel Daytona.
The stainless steel black dial, black bezel Submariner is one of the most sought after watches in the world, and it has been for decades. This new generation is proving to be the most coveted of them all.
The point is, if you want one now, you have no choice but to look to the secondhand market, and you will be paying a heavy premium for it.
At Diamonds By Raymond Lee, we have a pre-owned, yet in brand-new condition, Rolex Submariner 126610LN for $21,995. It comes with the original paperwork and box. The watch is in perfect condition.
If you want to buy the 41mm Rolex Submariner 126610LN, you can come into our showroom or buy it online.
This watch will not be available for long, so if you want it, the time is now.