So tell me, how about the Submariner?

By Montredo in Reviews
March 2, 2020
So tell me, how about the Submariner?
Sub with or without date, that is the question here

Chicken or beef? Sparkling or still? Eat in or takeaway?

We all have to face difficult choices at some point in our lives, but there are questions whose very existence can keep fans of automatic watches awake at night – whether one prefers the Rolex Submariner with or without a date feature.

Submariner with or without date: a question of taste?

Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LN

One could simply dismiss the question by stating that everyone has to decide this for themselves. On the other hand, as a watch blog, we are no stranger to seemingly superfluous discussions. Therefore we would like to add our own horological two cents to this hot topic.

We are sure you agree that the Rolex Submariner needs no further introduction. The most famous and most copied diver’s watch in the world is surrounded by a hype that cannot be explained rationally. The million dollar question of whether to include the date feature or omit it, possibly even less so. But what can you expect from contemporaries who spend thousands to buy something as useless as an automatic watch?

The original Submariners

The Submariner ‘No Date’ – an unofficial title given to the older version –
was launched in 1953 in the form of the reference 6204. It took Rolex a full 16 years to bring the first Date-Submariner onto the market with the reference 1680. It is worth mentioning that the first Sea-Dwellers, which had a date function from the beginning, came out two years earlier.

One argument for a no-date version is that it is closer to the original Submariner models of the 50s and 60s than the version with date and magnifying glass. Quite the daring thesis. If you look at the numerous 5512 and 5513 references of that time, it can be difficult to understand why only omitting the date display and magnifying glass, would a closer visual proximity to the older models be achieved. In addition, the Red Submariner (Ref. 1680) from 1969 to 1975, was an absolute classic of the Submariner series, which featured a date and magnifying glass. In the mid 2000s the Red Submariner was even the entry point into the world of vintage models for many collectors of Rolex models. Here was a model of Submariner with
a date function that attracted as much attention as the models without one.

In addition, the current Submariner references 116610LN (with date) and 114060 (without date), despite few changes over the years, are so visually different from the first models, that omitting the date display makes little difference in the long run.

A question of taste!

The entire discussion misses the reality most Submariner fans face anyway. Nowadays you can be happy if you can get a current Submariner at list price. If you are eagerly waiting for a call from the Rolex concessionaire, you will probably rarely refuse, as he model that arrives will come with or without
a date. Those who can and want to pay the silly surcharges on the second-hand market will even be able to pick out the one they want. So in the end, the answer remains the same: The choice of with or without date has to be decided by each individual themselves.