Well, the rumors were true! There is an entirely new Rolex Submariner collection for 2020, and while the overall aesthetic remains largely unchanged, this new generation marks a significant update to Rolex’s iconic line of dive watches.
The key detail about the 2020 update to the Submariner collection is that Rolex discontinued every single Submariner and Submariner Date watch from the 2019 line and rolled out a whole series of brand-new models. This update isn’t just a new Submariner watch or a new metal option added to the collection; this is a whole new generation of the Rolex Submariner.
New Rolex Submariner Collection for 2020
2020 Submariner Updates:
– New 41mm case diameter
– Redesigned thinner lugs
– Caliber 3235 (Date) or Caliber 3230 (No-Date) movements
– Stainless steel model now with black dial/green bezel (Hulk discontinued)
– 18k white gold model now with black dial/blue bezel (Smurf discontinued)
Since 1959, the Rolex Submariner has had a case diameter of 40mm. While the overall profile of the watch saw a significant update in 2008 with the arrival of Cerachrom bezel inserts and the introduction of the ‘Super Case’ that featured thicker lugs and crown guards, the actual diameter of the Submariner remained the same 40mm as before
Additionally, while the exterior of the Rolex Submariner saw a significant update with the introduction of the 6-digit series, the movements powering the watches remained the same as the ones featured in the previous generation. First introduced in 1988, the Caliber 3135 was Rolex’s go-to movement for many years and it can be found in a number of different date-displaying Rolex watches. While the Caliber 3135 is about as rock-solid of a movement as you are likely to find from any manufacturer, it is undeniable that the Cal. 3135 was starting to seem somewhat dated after more than three decades of production.
New Rolex Submariner Watches with New and Improved 41mm Cases
The biggest update to the Submariner collection is the increase in case size from 40mm to 41mm. While purists will likely object to the new case diameter, the change actually makes sense in the context of Rolex’s past releases and the criticism that they have drawn.
The 5-digit series of Submariner watches with aluminum bezel inserts now look rather small compared to the rest of the Rolex’s catalog, and the previous 6-digit series drew criticism for the thicker lugs of its ‘Super Case’ throwing off the celebrated proportions of the watch. The new 41mm case has slightly thinner and more refined lugs than the previous version, allowing Rolex to produce a larger watch while simultaneously returning to proportions that are more in-line with what the public has come to expect from the Submariner line.
Internally, the new Rolex Submariner watches also benefit from a significant improvement. Regardless of the specific model, all of the new 2020 references are powered by Rolex’s Caliber 32xx movements (Cal. 3235 for the Submariner Date and Cal. 3230 for the no-date model). Built around Rolex’s proprietary Chronergy escapement, the new series of movements offer users an improved power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
In the past, Rolex would first update the precious metal versions of the watch and then update the stainless steel models from the collection. For example, Rolex first introduced ceramic bezels on the solid gold Submariner in 2008, but it was not until 2010 that the stainless steel models received the new bezel and updated case design.
However, the 2020 update is for all versions of the Submariner, and every single model from the stainless steel no-date version to the solid gold references has been completely redesigned both inside and out. Consequently, there are a total of 8 new Rolex Submariner references for 2020.
– Submariner 124060: Oystersteel, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial (No-Date)
– Submariner Date 126610LN: Oystersteel, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126610LV: Oystersteel, Green Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126613LN: Yellow Rolesor; Black Ceramic Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126613LB: Yellow Rolesor; Blue Ceramic Bezel, Blue Dial
– Submariner Date 126618LN: Yellow Gold, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126618LB: Yellow Gold, Blue Cerachrom Bezel, Blue Dial
– Submariner Date 126619LB: White Gold, Blue Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
New Rolex Submariner 2020 Price and Availability
While Rolex increased its retail prices across the board in January of 2020, the new generation of Submariner watches is accompanied by a further increase in price. With the launch of the new generation of 41mm Rolex Submariner watches, the least expensive model (the stainless steel no-date Submariner ref. 124060) has an official retail price of $8,100, while the most expensive model (the solid 18k white gold Submariner Date ref. 126619LB) costs $39,650.
Below is a list of current retail pricing for the new 2020 Rolex Submariner collection:
– Ref. 124060 = $8,100
– Ref. 126610LN = $9,150
– Ref. 126610LV = $9,550
– Ref. 126613LN = $14,300
– Ref. 126613LB = $14,300
– Ref. 126618LN = $36,950
– Ref. 126618LB = $36,950
– Ref. 126619LB = $39,650
As you will notice (just like before), the white gold model costs more than the yellow gold version, despite both being crafted from 18k gold. Additionally, the green-bezel version of the stainless steel Submariner is accompanied by a retail price that is slightly more than its all-black counterpart. While the black bezel version has an official retail price of $9,150, the model with a green bezel costs $9,550 when purchased brand-new.
With that in mind, despite only being separated by a few hundred dollars in price at the retail level, the actual price difference between the green Submariner “Hulk” and its all-black counterpart is significantly higher (typically a minimum of several thousand dollars) on the secondary market. Although these new watches have just been released, we would not be surprised if the new green Submariner ref. 126610LV ends up selling for significantly more than the all-black model once these new watches reach the open market.
Rolex Hulk Discontinued, New Ceramic Kermit Introduced
The previous generation of Rolex Submariner watches offered two different versions of the stainless steel Submariner Date. There was a version fitted with a black dial and a black bezel (ref. 116610LN) and a version fitted with a bright green sunburst dial and a matching green ceramic bezel (ref. 116610LV aka “Hulk”). While an all-black option still remains in the catalog, the all-green Submariner Hulk has been discontinued and replaced by a new model that features the color green.
While the ref. 116610LV Submariner Hulk features both a green dial and a green bezel insert, the new green Submariner (ref. 126610LV) features a black dial and a green ceramic bezel. This new update recalls the color profile of the 50th Anniversary Submariner “Kermit” ref. 16610LV that was first released in 2003 and features a green aluminum bezel insert.
While the new green Rolex Submariner 126610LV embraces the same black dial and green bezel design as the “Kermit” from the 5-digit generation of Submariner watches, there will be little to no chance of confusing these two green Rolex divers. In addition to offering a larger 41mm case (compared to the 40mm case of the Kermit), the overall lines of the watch are significantly more bold and angular when compared to the older 5-digit series of the Submariner.
While the lugs have been thinned out a bit compared to the previous generation, they are still noticeably thicker than the ones found on the 5-digit series. This makes the two watches immediately identifiable from one another, despite their similar designs and color profiles.
Rolex Smurf Discontinued, New White Gold Model Introduced
In the same way that the all-green Rolex Submariner “Hulk” was discontinued in favor of a new stainless steel model with a green bezel insert, the previous 18k white gold Submariner ref. 116619LB “Smurf” has been discontinued and replaced by a new white gold model (ref. 126619LB) that follows the same 41mm case design as the rest of the new 2020 Submariner watches.
Additionally, just like how the stainless steel “Hulk” was fitted with a green dial to match its green Cerachrom bezel, the now-discontinued Rolex “Smurf” was fitted with a blue dial to match its blue Cerachrom bezel. Furthermore, in the same way that Rolex now fits a black dial to the green bezel version of the stainless steel Submariner, the new 18k white gold reference 126619LB features a black dial paired with its blue ceramic bezel insert.
While stainless steel Rolex Submariner watches always feature Oyster bracelets with entirely brushed links, the two-tone and solid gold models feature high-polished surfaces on the center links of their bracelets. This practice continues with the new 41mm Rolex Submariner watches for 2020, and the center links of the new 18k white gold Submariner 126619LB are finished with a glossy finish, which contrasts with the brushed surfaces of the side links.
Lastly, there are also new Yellow Rolesor (two-tone steel and yellow gold) and solid 18k yellow gold Rolex Submariner watches. However, these new models represent significantly less of an update compared to their now-discontinued predecessors. Just like before, both models are offered with either the option of black or blue dials and bezels, with identical retail pricing for both colors. The biggest change to note here is that while the text on the blue dials from the previous generation is gold, the text is white on the blue dials from the new 41mm generation.
Final Thoughts on the New 2020 Submariner Watches
Despite the new movements and updated color profiles, the most discussed (and controversial) aspect of the new 2020 Rolex Submariner watches is their new 41mm case size. Many collectors feel that 40mm is the perfect size for a sports watch; however, there is no denying the fact that a Rolex Submariner from the 1990s simply looks a bit small when compared to the rest of the brand’s moden watches.
Regardless of what anyone says about the new 41mm case diameters, these new Rolex Submariner watches will undoubtedly be some of Rolex’s best-selling models. Just like with the previous generation of the Submariner – along with virtually every single other stainless steel Rolex sports watch – these new 41mm Submariner models will likely have multi-year waiting lists at retailers around the world.
Chances are that unless you have a very good relationship with your local authorized retailer, you will likely need to turn to the secondary market to get your hands on these new 2020 Rolex Submariner watches – and if that’s the case, you can almost guarantee that they will be trading hands for significantly above their original brand-new retail prices.
*All images courtesy of aBlogtoWatch