|Case||Oyster, 40mm, yellow gold|
|Crown||Screw down, triple lock Triplock waterproofness system|
|Bezel||Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scrath-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)|
Rolex Submariner 116618LN Review
Some months ago I reviewed the yellow gold Rolex Submariner reference 116618LB, and it received a pretty decent score of 73% on The Peaked’s Tally. So what, if any, difference does it make to the watch when the colour of the dial and ceramic bezel is changed from blue to black?
Since its founding by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in 1905, Rolex has become a status symbol, overtaking and outlasting many brands founded both before and after it. Indeed, my assessment of the maison is it has become a ‘horological gatekeeper’. For many, such has been Rolex’s masterful marketing, product placement and, of course, creation and honing of great watches, owning one has become one of those great accomplishments in life. The present you buy yourself after a lifetime of hard work – the one you finally believe you have earned and you can justify spending thousands of pounds on.
Rolex – always a part of the horological journey
There are the few, on the other hand, for whom Rolex is just the start of their horological journey. The itch that has to be scratched before, for example, moving on to the brands to which the term ‘haute horology’ can be applied. Brands like the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin. The next layer perhaps includes Breguet, Jaeger Le Coultre or IWC before then exploring the smaller independent brands like Bovet, HYT or Richard Mille. The list is almost endless.
So you see my point. For the overwhelming majority of those into the subject, their timepiece journey will almost always include a Rolex, be it at the start or the very end.
How does it compare with ol’ Bluesy?
What of this particular piece therefore? How does it stack against the blue version? My initial thoughts, before I actually got to see it in person, were there was no way it could compete with the Bluesy. I saw that as the iconic yellow gold Submariner and the black would look too dated. Too retro. Too eighties.
But I was so wrong; this is a beautiful watch. The black in both the dial and the bezel is incredibly deep, very much akin to what I would imagine it would be like staring into an abyss. Indeed it manages to achieve a real depth to it, without the need for its sibling’s sunburst effect. My view is that adding this to the black would have been too much and, as is the norm for Rolex, they got it just right.
The weight is sensational. I am a fan of heavy watches because I love the feeling of solidity on the wrist. The great thing about the Rolex Submariner’s oyster bracelet and ‘Glidelock’ extension system means you can achieve a snug fit, which is so important with a watch of this mass. Accordingly, once you have made the necessary adjustments, it effortlessly melds into your activities but simultaneously never lets you forget it’s there. It is always present.
The one slight criticism I could find was that, whilst the dial is easy to read in most lighting conditions, particularly thanks to the ‘Chromalight’ display, when outside in strong sunshine, there was a little more glare through the sapphire crystal on this version compared to the blue.
Which one? Black or Blue?
So, how do you choose between the two? And, more importantly, which one would I have? It is genuinely a difficult question to answer because, despite being so close on paper, they are very different looks. My impression before seeing the 116618LN was that it would be the loud, brash one of the two. The version drawing inspiration from the obnoxious, overly extravagant, braces wearing yuppie era of the eighties. But I was wrong. In my view it is actually the slightly more subtle version and perhaps, as a result, more versatile. It grabs your attention because it’s yellow gold, yes, but that is complimented by the black, not added to with an extra dose of ‘look at me’, which you get with the blue version.
So the question I would ask myself is this: why am I buying this watch? If it is to use on a more daily basis, then I would choose the ‘LN’. If, on the other hand, it is likely to be more commonly used on social occasions, it would be the ‘LB’. But whichever you decide to go for, they are both fabulous versions of an iconic watch and accordingly, they get the same score. A beauty.
The difficulty in choosing between the two is borne out by their similarity in price. The Rolex Submariner, reference 116618LN, retails for £26,350. Given it is a precious metal version it is not as difficult to find as its lesser stainless steel siblings, albeit a short wait might be required to acquire one through a boutique. Despite this, there is little drop in value on the secondary market, with a good one to be had for around £21-23,000.