The sum is greater than the parts
At first glance, the Rolex Submariner ref. 116619 is a watch of contradiction. On the one hand, it’s technically a dive watch born within Rolex’s most famous family of tool watches—the Submariner. Yet, on the other hand, it’s crafted entirely in 18k white gold—hardly the most suitable material for exploring the deep. Nevertheless, these two seemingly conflicting components come together to create an ultra luxurious sports watch that also happens to be a diving watch.
Technical Features of the White Gold Submariner
However absurd it may be to take a solid 18k white gold Rolex diving, the Submariner ref. 116619 could totally do it—and do it well. It is after all built just like the more rugged stainless steel Submariners. The 40mm case of the Submariner ref. 116619 is, naturally, a hermetically sealed Oyster case outfitted with a fluted caseback and sapphire crystal protecting the dial. The case is further enforced by the Triplock winding crown. What that all means is that the white gold ref. 116619 can safely plunge down to 1,000 feet (300 meters) without damaging the Rolex Caliber 3135 within.
Furthermore, the bright blue face of the golden Submariner features all the details one needs on a diver’s watch. The Cerachrom ceramic unidirectional bezel is not only scratch resistant but fade proof too. Thus, sun exposure will not fade the bezel as it used to on vintage Submariner models. Also, on the matching blue dial are the characteristic large lume plots and luminous Mercedes-style center hands that allow for solid legibility even in the lowest of light.
And finally, the white gold Oyster bracelet is also made constructed with diving in mind. The Glidelock extension system on the bracelet allows micro adjustments without any tools whatsoever, thereby providing a perfect fit each time—even over a thick diving suit.
The Luxuriousness of the White Gold Submariner
Rolex takes its metal very seriously—the watchmaker even has their own foundry where they produce steel, gold, and platinum destined for their fine watches. But, no matter how much detail is put into creating the metal, when looking at it from a distance, white gold on a watch can easily be mistaken for stainless steel. After all, they both sport a very similar shade and sheen. Up close it’s a different story and the metals do look different, with white gold boasting a warmer tone to it.
There’s something to be said about dropping big money on a gold watch—well over $35,000 at retail—with a look that can be somewhat achieved with a stainless steel model for a fraction of the price. Of course, that vibrant blue color on the bezel and the dial is unique to the white gold Submariner, so any Rolex aficionado would automatically be able to tell that it’s a white gold model and not a steel one. But, I would imagine in most cases, wearers of white gold Rolexes aren’t necessarily that interested in other people recognizing that it’s gold and are happy to just to know it for themselves.