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The Rolex Submariner Date Ref 116610LN is one of the most ubiquitous watches on the planet. Hundreds if not thousands of copycats abound. It is the blueprint for the modern-day mechanical dive watch. Or is it? Purists would argue that the Rolex Submariner Ref 114060 is actually the rightful holder of this title. Referred to as the “no-date” Sub, it is this model that bears the strongest resemblance to the original. So, is the Rolex Submariner better with no date? And is it even right to call it the “no date” Sub? Compelling questions, I’m sure you’ll agree. The type of stuff that keeps you up at night. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in.

A (Very) Brief History Of The Rolex Submariner

In the early 1950’s, a gentleman by the name of René-Paul Jeanneret was indulging his passion for scuba diving. A close personal friend of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, he had good idea of what a diver’s watch needed. And what it didn’t. He also happened to serve on the Board of Directors of a little company called Rolex. Jeanneret came up with the idea for a sporty yet elegant everyday watch that would be waterproof. He saw it as an opportunity to pursue his hobby and expand Rolex’s customer base at the same time.
 
Development began in earnest and by 1953, Rolex was ready to begin production and testing. But they needed a way to get the word out about the company’s ability to produce water-resistant watches. They came up with an ingenious but somewhat risky publicity stunt. It included Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer, Auguste Piccard. When he took his Bathyscape deep-diving submarine down to a mind-bending depth of 3,131.8 meters, a specially-designed Rolex went with it. The watch emerged from the successful dive completely intact and running fine. Point made.
 
The next year, in 1954, the Rolex Submariner Ref 6204 made its debut at the Basel watch fair. The design was practical and easy to read, yet also very attractive. The 38mm steel Oyster case offered unprecedented water resistance at 100m (300ft). A rotating bezel allowed divers to keep track of elapsed time. Importantly, for the purposes of this article at least, the original Submariner did not have a date.
 
By all accounts, the Rolex Submariner was a great commercial success. This was a practical tool watch that you could wear year-round for all sorts of occasions. Over the years Rolex has evolved the Submariner both technically and aesthetically. In 1966, the Submariner Ref 1680 made its debut. The 1680 is the first Submariner to feature a date window, complete with cyclops. In hindsight, this can be seen as a significant development. It demonstrates the growing appeal of the Submariner, and the dive watch genre as a whole. In other words, it was no longer just divers who were buying these watches.

The 114060 vs The 116610LN

At first glance the Rolex Submariner 114060 and Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN don’t look that different. And that’s because they’re not. In fact, these two watches are almost identical. They share the same 40mm Oyster case made from Oystersteel. A screw-down caseback and crown ensure water resistance to 300m (1,000ft). Both have black dials with 18ct gold hour markers to prevent tarnishing. And both feature a unidirectional rotatable bezel with scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic. They also both share a strong resemblance to the original Submariner.
 
There are distinctions too, of course. The most notable one is the presence of the date window on the Ref 116610LN. Likewise, the movement inside is also different. The Ref 114060 is powered by calibre 3130. This self-winding mechanical movement manufactured in-house by Rolex. It’s fitted with a Parachrom hairspring and is certified as a superlative chronometer. The Submariner Date meanwhile is equipped with calibre 3135. It has the same specifications as the calibre 3130. Plus, it adds an instantaneous date with rapid setting.
 
The other noteworthy variation between these two models is the price. The Rolex Submariner 114060 retails for GBP 5,750. The Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN commands a premium, retailing for GBP 6,550. As we all know though, retail price is one thing. Being able to get either watch through an authorised retailer is another. As a result, both perform well on the secondary market.

Which Is Better?

Despite being virtually the same watch, opinions vary on these two models. Purists say that for a modern Submariner, the 114060 is the only choice. Its clean, lines and minimalist aesthetic remain intact. This is a tool watch, designed for specific purpose. Who needs to know the date when they’re scuba diving? And yet the anecdotal evidence would suggest that 116610LN is the more popular model of the two.
 
There are five different versions of the Rolex Submariner in the current line-up. Four of them, including the Rolex Hulk, feature the date. Likewise, the 116610LN is a stronger performer on the secondary market. Prices start from around GBP 8,000 and up. The 114060 meanwhile trades closer to GBP 6,500. Both are always in demand of course. It seems though that people will pay a premium for the Submariner Date.
 
Does this mean the 116610LN is the better choice? Not necessarily. The reality is that these days most people are wearing these watches as a desk diver. In other words, they like the dive watch aesthetic. They like the model’s capabilities. Are they actually going diving with it anytime soon? No. And so in this context having the date on your watch is still quite useful.
 
For those who want the closest thing to the original Rolex Submariner – without going vintage – the 114060 is the logical choice. Its clean lines and unmolested dial are a thing of beauty. Plus, the lack of date makes it that little bit more versatile. Of course, if you want the date without a cyclops, there’s always the Rolex Deepsea
 
Whichever way you choose to go, you’re never going to regret buying a Rolex Submariner.
 
And for those who were wondering, the title “no-date” Sub is a misnomer. The Rolex Submariner with no date display is called the Rolex Submariner. The Rolex Submariner with a date display is called the Rolex Submariner Date. It’s that simple.

Technical Specifications: Rolex Submariner Ref 116610LN

  • Case: Oyster – 40 mm – Oystersteel – monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown – unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum – waterproof to 300 metres / 1,000 feet.
  • Dial: Black – centre hour, minute and seconds hands – instantaneous date – stop-seconds for precise time setting – Chromalight display with longlasting blue luminescence on hour markers and hands.
  • Movement: Calibre 3135 – bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor – paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring – 48-hour power reserve – certified as Superlative Chronometer.
  • Price: GBP 6,550.

Technical Specifications: Rolex Submariner Ref 114060

  • Case: Oyster – 40 mm – Oystersteel – monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown – unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum – waterproof to 300 metres / 1,000 feet.
  • Dial: Black – centre hour, minute and seconds hands – stop-seconds for precise time setting – Chromalight display with longlasting blue luminescence on hour markers and hands.
  • Movement: Calibre 3130 – bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor – paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring – 48-hour power reserve – certified as Superlative Chronometer.
  • Price: GBP 5,750.

 

Tom Mulraney
Tom Mulraney
Founder & Editor
Tom likes to write about luxury watches. So much so, that he created The Watch Lounge just so he would have an outlet for his passion. Together with his team, he is dedicated to bringing you original, entertaining (and maybe even a little educational) luxury watch and lifestyle content.

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