A review of the Rolex Submariner ref 124060
The concept of a slightly larger Rolex Submariner watch has been anticipated for quite some time, so when in 2020 Rolex released the 41mm Submariner ref 124060, it sent collectors into a bit of a frenzy and there are no prizes for guessing why. It marked a new generation for the Rolex Submariner – a new in-house developed movement too, along with some small tweaks to its dial and bracelet. All the while, the Rolex Sub embodies the faithful DNA of the true icon that it is.
If you are considering adding the Rolex Submariner ref 124060 to your collection, you’ll want to first read up on the basics, but also learn how the watch wears in terms of comfort and how these minor modifications play out on the wrist. Here is an in-depth look and a thorough review of the Rolex Submariner ref 124060, complete with all you need to know about the new iteration of the beloved dive watch.
To start – the basics. This model bears a 41mm width and is crafted from 904L stainless steel. This Oyster case is integrated with 300-meter water resistance and was launched back in 2020. The essential elements of its black dial illuminate at night or in dark conditions, showing a full set of Chromalight-treated hour markers and central hands. Its black ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel features a legible 60-minute dive scale upon its surface and the watch houses Rolex’s in-house manufactured Calibre 3230 inside its robust casing. To finish, a matching 904L stainless steel Oyster bracelet is designed to secure firmly to the wrist with the brand’s patented Glidelock clasp that can extend to accommodate a wetsuit.
A brief history of the Rolex Submariner watch
To appreciate the full beauty of one of Rolex’s most legendary icons, it is first necessary to learn a little about the background of the Submariner watch and how the very first model marked a pivotal point in the famous watchmaker’s history back in 1953. Whilst the birth of the watch is believed to be 1953, the brand didn’t release the first model officially until the year 1954. Its waterproof Oyster case was ground-breaking for its time within the watchmaking industry. What’s more, it housed a perpetual self-winding movement at its heart. It had a distinct style and found its way onto watch enthusiasts with impeccable taste, as well as those utilising the watch for underwater exploration. The first model also featured a 60-minute dive scale on top of a bezel but went without a date feature for ten years. It was, in fact, the Rolex Submariner ref 1680 that featured the first date aperture, before countless upgrades were added to the collection – older ones of which became phased out and subsequently grew in desirability.
Some of the most important modifications of the famed Submariner dive watch include the switch from acrylic glass to sapphire crystal, improved water resistance from 100 meters to 300 meters, and the decision to develop not only a safer unidirectional rotating bezel but also replace its material from aluminium to the brand’s patented Cerachrom material for higher resistance to colour fading. Historically, some of the most popular models of the Submariner collection include the 1990 watch ref 14060, which resumed back to a no-date model as a triumphant relaunch of its original design, as well as the no-date ref 114060, which launched in 2012. This marked the aforementioned replacement of the aluminium bezel with a Cerachrom one. These 6-digit models were also chunkier in appearance, with thicker crown guards and heftier lugs.
A close look at the Rolex Submariner ref 124060
Extending on the legacy of the Rolex Submariner no-date watch, the ref 124060 takes the already-robust proportions of the former 6-digit models from the 40mm category and enlarges them ever-so-slightly to a 41mm size. Although seemingly a small increase, for avid fans of the Rolex Submariner – this is understandably a big deal. Despite this, it has slightly sleeker lugs and a more refined case profile compared to its predecessor’s “Super Case”. That said, all the classic design elements of the much-loved Submariner watch are as present as ever, ensuring that those who have followed the models closely over the last half a century can still appreciate the compact and functional qualities of the iconic diver’s watch. As mentioned, inside this slightly larger 41mm case is an in-house designed movement – another long-anticipated feature.
The Rolex Submariner ref 124060 is the largest Submariner ever produced. Somehow, it manages to wear much like its smaller predecessor on the wrist, however. The lugs of the watch are thinner and therefore feel less “boxy”. There is a small increase of lug width from 20 to 21mm and the bracelet measures slightly wider in diameter on the wrist. Overall, the Sub ref 124060 has an undeniable sense of balance about it. These proportions are done very cleverly by Rolex, with a shape and feel that is more akin to its 5-digit Submariner predecessors.
Other features of the case include a Triplock screw-down crown, which contributes to sealing the watch and upholding its impressive 300-meter water resistance. Whether you plan to take your watch down to such depths or not is entirely up to you, but its Triplock technology incorporated into the case certainly serves as added reassurance that this dive watch can hold up underwater. Combined with its robust Oyster case and a screw-down crown, the watch also features a strong pane of sapphire crystal glass that protects the surface of the dial. The glass is not only highly scratch-resistant but has been treated with anti-reflective technology to rid the dial of any undesirable glare when needing to reference the time under direct artificial or natural light. The case of the Submariner ref 124060 is mainly satin-finished with polished effects carried out on the sides of its case and the bracelet links. The Cerachrom bezel also features a platinum PVD-coated 60-minute diver’s scale with batons and Arabic numerals that are easy to reference at a glance.
The lettering at 6 o’clock on the dial of the Submariner ref 124060 has received a small change. The “SWISS MADE” lettering is now accompanied by the iconic brand crown logo, which nestles itself in between the two words. The hour markers also have slightly more space between them and the addition of the brand logo signifies the upgraded movement that now beats at the centre of the case. The hands also appear wider and the minute hand has subtly grown in length to reach out to the minute track.
The hour and minute hands have received a layer of Chromalight - the second hand of which is crafted in the traditional lollipop style with a luminous pip. The Chromalight material was produced in-house by Rolex back in 2008 and since then has almost entirely replaced the brand’s former Super-LumiNova-treated dials. Its brilliant bright blue glow is richer and longer-lasting compared to the green glow of Super-LumiNova.
The redesigned bracelet of the Rolex Submariner ref 124060 is slightly wider but remains largely unchanged. The end links have been slightly tweaked for a more integrated finish, tapering nicely to the clasp. The Glidelock clasp attached to the bracelet is an innovative adjustment tool-free system that allows for fine adjustments of the bracelet without using any tools. It can increase in size to 20mm in discreet 2mm increments, fitting over a thick wetsuit if needed.
The Rolex Submariner ref 124060 is equipped with the Calibre 3230, which replaces the former Calibre 3235 with a date-less version. The new movement debuted for the release of this model and is said to be around 15% more efficient than its predecessor. It also boasts improved resistance to magnetic fields and shock and offers a longer power reserve of 70 hours compared to 48. It also comes equipped with a Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex shock absorbers, and an anti-magnetic nickel-phosphorus Chronergy escapement.
Unless you have loyal connections with a retailer, this 41mm Rolex Submariner ref 124060 watch is proving incredibly difficult to acquire despite only being on the market for a year. With that in mind, pre-owned watches are selling for a higher price than retail price due to large waiting lists. The watch sells on average for around $13k on the second-hand market, compared to its original retail price of $8k.
The Rolex Submariner 124060, in effect, is a watch that has changed without really changing. The fact that its evolution has been so subtle enables a dedicated fan base to remain satisfied with the growth of the collection. Thanks to cleverly redesigned proportions, the watch has undergone a size increase to appear somewhat smaller and more refined on the wrist. This is no mean feat, but for a company with as much experience and expertise to its name as Rolex, the way to resolve its “boxy” dimensions and give collectors a timepiece that feels natural on the wrist, probably came quite easy. Its 41mm size now offers a watch-wearing experience that is both new and familiar for collectors at the time same.