Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Rolex Submariner 14060 review

This is not really a watch review per say, but a look at the Rolex Submariner reference 14060. I like the Submariner, but never got one. Instead I ended up with the Rolex SeaDweller 4000. Perhaps one day......

The watch we are looking at is not mine but belongs to a good friend, in fact there are two of them (both good friends). Both  watches are here with me because they just underwent a spa treatment at RSC Taiwan. 

The watches are both reference 14060, one from 1991 (X series) and the other from 1993 (S series).

The brothers together..... The S series on the metal bracelet while the X series on the NATO strap.



The 14060 was introduced in 1989 (some say 1998, give and take a year) and ended its run in 1999 (2001?). It was updated and the reference 14060M was introduced. Basically from my understanding, the movement was upgraded from the Caliber 3000 to 3130. So I guess the M in the reference refers to the movement upgrade? 

Changes between 3000 and 3130? A full balance bridge was introduced against the balance cock of the 3000, a larger balance wheel and Breguet overcoil against a flat overcoil of the caliber 3000. The number of jewels also went up from 27 to 31, but I understand these were 'non-working' as it is for the date wheel, which the 14060 does not have. 

The reference 14060, X series. It did not come with the metal bracelet, which is with the owner. :)



Case.

As with all watches in the (most) Rolex range, the case is made from 904L stainless steel. The case is well made and is of the 3-piece design, i.e. bezel, case and case back. Back in the day when I was much younger and dumber (not much smarter), I always thought the Rolex had a 2 piece case design and that to get to the movement, you had to get it from the top. Silly me....

The watch is errrr 39.5 mm in diameter, measured at the bezel while only 38 mm measured from the case. Case and crown is 43 mm while bezel and crown is a whopping 44 mm. Lug to lug is 47 mm. The watch is 12 mm thin. This makes it a rather slim watch and a very comfortable one at that. It is not heavy and yes, it is very comfortable fitted with a NATO strap.





Yes, the bezel is slightly larger compared to the case.



The case has the traditional Rolex trademark polished sides and brushed top. I like the older case design with the drill lugs that this watch has.



The edge bevelling along the lugs are still visible.



Beautifully made and finished watch.



As with any Rolex, save a few, the case back is sterile. No marking at all. The case back has a brushed and polished finish and the traditional Rolex case back serrations for case back opening. Love the shoulder-less spring bars.



The crown has the Rolex crown (coronet). The crown measures 6.5 mm in diameter and is 4 mm thick. It is a nice size and using it is a breeze. Nice size crown for the watch. 




The crown is of the Trip-lock design (3 dots under the crown), which means the watch is water resistant to 30 ATM.


As with other Rolex, the model number and serial numbers are engraved between the lugs, which are 20 mm apart. The reference between the 12 o'clock lugs while the serial number  between the 6 o'clock lugs. Newer Rolex have the serial numbers on the rehaut. 

The bezel is easy to use. It is made easier by the fact that it extends slightly over the case. It is well made and the serrations are not hard on the fingers. Grip is good and you can even turn it on the fly. It is a unidirectional rotation bezel (required as it is a divers watch) and has 120 clicks. 



The bezel insert (aluminium?) has the traditional diver watch markings, with the minute markers extending to the fifteen minute marker. You can see some patina on the pip....



Dial.

The watch has the 2 liner dial that is very popular among Sub collectors. It is a call back to the 2 line dial of its predecessor, the reference 5513. It is a simple and easy to read dial. I like the design of the dial.


At the 12 o’clock position we find the Rolex crown or coronet  and signature. Under it we find the legend ‘Oyster Perpetual’. Below the 6 o’clock hour marker we find the legend ‘Swiss - T < 25’ which tells us the watch is Swiss made and the luminous material used is Tritium. Above the 6 o'clock marker is the "Submariner' and its depth rating legends (the 2 lines....). 



The hour markers have the white gold surround. The 12 o'clock position is marked by a large triangle and this helps the diver to orientate the time when diving. The luminosity is long gone as the dial has tritium as the luminous material. A nice and slight patina has already developed on the markers.



The other thing I like about the watch is the lack of a date complication, hence the lack of cyclops on the crystal. Oh, BTW, there is no such thing as ND (No Date) Sub and Sub. There is Sub and Sub date.

The S series Sub. Got to love the dial....



Hands.

The watch has the typical Mercedes hands Rolex is famous for. As with the dial, the hands are Tritium filled and the luminosity is also long gone. I could be wrong, but I believe the hands are white gold as well. The hands are well made and do not show any signs of Tritium corrosion common on Tritium filled hands. I am guessing that the use of white gold helps.


Both the minute and sweep seconds hand extends all the way to the minute markers. That makes telling the time easier.  

Crystal.

The watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal and does not have the Cyclops. The crystal itself is 29 mm in diameter. The crystal does extend beyond the bezel by about 1 mm but this is not an issue as the crystal is sapphire and is scratch resistant, but is prone to chipping. The crystal was replaced in the last service (X series). 


Bracelet.

The watch has the older solid metal bracelet and the hollow end links. The bracelet, reference 93150 has a brushed finish and for a watch that is almost 20 years old does not show much stretch.

The end links, reference 501B also has the same brushed finish and is well made. It sits well between the lugs and has a ‘closed’ design, i.e. no gaps to facilitate the spring bars removal. Removal of the spring bars is via the drilled lugholes on the lugs.



The clasp. 




The clasp, reference 93150 is made of steel inox and is also well made. It is the traditional Tuna can clasp. A simple stamp pressed clasp. The Flip lock provides additional security from accidental unlocking. 


Adjustment is via adjustment holes on the folding buckle. There are 4 adjustment holes and allows the bracelet to be adjusted by 12 mm in length. If there is a need to adjust the bracelet longer or shorter, there is a need to physically alter the length of the bracelet by removing or adding links, which is an easy process as the links are held together by screws.



The folded part of the buckle is polished and is simply signed 'Rolex'. It is thin but does the job and does it well.

The bracelet and clasp has the diver extension, as all good diver watch should have. 



Now the interesting part of the 'review'. The difference between the the watches? Is there any? Yes there is. It is on the bezel. From my understanding, both bezel inserts are original to the watches and have not been replaced. 

Look at the photographs below. Can you spot the differences? Yes it is on the font used on the bezel insert. Look at the numbers....




I believe this is called the fat font bezel. 



This is the thin font bezel.



The number 20...



Interesting yes? Explanation? I have none....

Conclusion.

It is a very comfortable watch, not heavy but with enough heft. When I was wearing it, I found the watch very comfortable and had no issues with the bracelet, which is a sore point with many collectors of Rolex. I do understand why it took Rolex a long time to change or improve on the bracelet and buckle design.

The watch is easy to read and tell time. It is not flashy and at  about 40 mm it does go against the current trend of large watches. But since it is all dial (almost), it does not look small at all on the wrist. 

The brothers in arms....





I do love the Submariner. Who knows, maybe one day.....

No comments:

Post a Comment