It's happened. Some people (including Rolex) said it probably wouldn't happen this year. But then it did. They launched the first new Submariner in 12 years and people went into meltdown. Whether you love it or hate it, there's no getting away from the fact that the Rolex Submariner is the tool watch of the horological world. Perhaps even the most iconic of all the Rolex watches. So when they change it, we notice. Especially when they change something as established as the actual size of the thing.
Because that's right folk, the new Sub range has gone from a historical 40mm to a whopping 41mm! It's clearly the end of days. Except it isn't really. Of all the things to notice about the new Submariner, the case size is the very last of them. Take a look at the new Kermit variation with black face and green bezel. Ok it's replacing a classic in the shape of the Hulk and there's no doubt Kermit doesn't have quite the same presence in terms of naming as it's predecessor... But whisper it quietly, I quite like the balance. The same for the blue Cerachrom bezel option. It's a great addition in my view. Those are the differences that literally jump off the page, but, for me, the new size isn't one of them.
I know it doesn't take a lot to make watch lovers froth so I understand the questions that arise whenever a watch manufacturer as brand savvy as Rolex makes a change of any kind. There may be many good reasons for the change of course. The collection is being overhauled with new movements, caliber 3230 for the Submariner, and 3235 for the Submariner Date, both state-of-the-art Rolex movements that are being used in the Submariner for the first time. They offer 70-hour power reserves compared to 48 hours in previous movements. But I don't think that's the reason for the bigger case. I think Rolex are, to a certain extent, following the trend in gradual stages for slightly larger watches with more presence. Customers have quietly been asking the question for a long time now. Personally I think it makes little difference, but I understand the thinking from Rolex here.
What I would say however, is that I'm already noticing a distinct upsurge in demand for the discontinued models. Some beautiful pieces I've had a for a little while now have suddenly flown off the shelves. (Don't worry there are still some classic pieces left). It's that perculiar characteristic of Rolex watches that they almost become more valuable to people once they are discontinued. It's a theory I've had a for a very long time that once people become acutely aware that they aint making any more like it, a watch becomes infinitely more desirable.
Whatever your view on the new Rolex Submariner range, one thing is for sure. In a year of turmoil and uncertainty it's nice to be talking about a watch that is the very definition of stability and reliability, instead of all the other things we have to worry about.