|Case||Oyster, 40mm, 904L Oystersteel|
|Crown||Screw down, triple lock Triplock waterproofness system|
|Bezel||Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerechrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum|
|Movement||Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding Calibre 3135|
|Crystal||Scratch resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens (2.5x) over date|
|Waterproofness||Waterproof to 300m / 1,000 ft|
|Power Reserve||Approximately 48 hours|
|Functions||Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop seconds for precise time setting.|
|Bracelet||Oyster, flat three-piece links, with folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system (5mm)|
What can be said about the Rolex Submariner, reference 116610LV, aka the ‘Hulk’ that has not been said before? Nine years after its launch it is still as sought after as ever, commanding a premium on the secondary market and, whilst it is not as rare as it used to be (as a result of numbers purchased over a period of time, not an increase in production), it always attracts a knowing glance from others into the subject.
Why? Firstly, the size (40mm in diameter) and proportion of the case is almost perfect. This is a sports watch that looks great on men and, if I may say, just as great on women. The Submariner range is ubiquitous in its appeal for good reason – a design of over 60 years old that has stood not only the test of time in terms of aesthetics but also quality.
Secondly, the dial is uncluttered and incredibly legible even in low light; which should be expected of a diver’s watch, but is not always the case with some pieces.
Thirdly, the bracelet and deployment clasp are extremely comfortable and the new adjustability is welcomed, meaning a good fit can be achieved without ever pinching skin or hair.
What makes the Hulk so special is it elevates that winning formula by injecting personality and fun. Not adjectives one would necessarily associate with the Swiss brand, but what we have come to learn about Rolex is it rarely makes mistakes. Even when they are perceived as doing just that, for example the leopard Daytona, they begin to be appreciated post production and start to rise in value.
The genius in the Hulk is the sunburst dial. Depending on the angle you look at it and / or the lighting conditions, the colour genuinely changes from a sparkling emerald to a deep forest green that flirts with black. It’s mesmerising. Then Rolex off-sets it with the a ‘cerachrom’ ceramic bezel, which has a completely different way of imposing itself, once again working through shades of colour you didn’t think possible. The effect is one that mostly matches, sometimes clashes, but always arresting on the eye.
The fact Rolex never showcases its movement is not an issue. Why? It has carved itself such a position in the market it doesn’t need to. With each new generation the reliability increases; these watches feel bomb proof – a far cry from the somewhat chintzy bracelets of just a decade or so ago. On top of that, their command of aesthetics coupled with an unparalleled eye for celebrity endorsements, means their lustre is stronger than ever. Would the extra cost of finishing their movements to a standard, perhaps comparable to the holy trinity, mean they would sell more watches? Given they are the market leader and already making close to 1,000,000 a year, this is highly unlikely.
If you want an everyday watch that looks just as great with a suit as it does casually and has a robustness arguably no other manufacturer can match, the Hulk is a fantastic twist on a classic timepiece and a must have for any collector.
The Rolex Submariner, reference 116610LV, retails for £6,950, if you can get one through a dealer. Some are quoting 2-4 year waiting lists, whilst many have closed them. Otherwise if you want this now iconic watch, you’ll have to bite the bullet and pay up to 20-30% extra on the secondary market.