You know that feeling you get when you work really hard on something and it doesn’t work out in the end? That’s how I felt when I first began my search for my next big watch purchase, the Rolex Submariner 114060, I’ve documented the full acquisition story here. Luckily the story took a turn for the better, and I was finally able to acquire this iconic watch all thanks to the help and understanding of Howard Fine Jewellers located in Ottawa Ontario.
This watch purchase was to celebrate a few milestones, one being the 5 year anniversary since the founding of the Watch Review Blog. The other milestone being various achievements with our watch accessories brand WATCHPOD®. I wanted this watch to be an iconic piece, something recognizable, and one that would be appreciated by other watch enthusiasts which to be honest is a little out of character for my personal taste. I usually like the underappreciated watches just like my 34mm air-king, but the more I looked at photos of the Submariner 114060 the more I started to fall in love with it, and the more details I noticed in the piece the more it made me start to understand why this specific model is so widely sought after.
I’ve had the Sub 114060 on my wrist for about one month now, and I can’t seem to take it off, it feels like an extension of my body now. Although when I first began looking into this reference I was not entirely convinced. I thought this model was a little bit boring, everyone wants one and everyone has one, it’s just your average chunky dive watch, it’s also been relentlessly copied and counterfeited for years now. Why would I want this watch? That mindset completely changed when I finally handled one in the metal while visiting NYC. It was incredible. It was smaller in size than I had imagined, the intricacies of the dial suddenly made sense, and the shape of the case was absolutely gorgeous. There is a legitimate reason behind the frenzy of demand for this watch besides pure hype and followers chasing the next hot watch.
Fast forward many months and here I am an official owner of the Submariner 114060. Lets dive into the details of this beautiful piece.
As many of you know I have a small wrist coming in at 6.5 inches. I was concerned that the 114060 would be too big, but it’s not. While this is probably the largest watch I will ever buy, there’s a few reasons why it doesn’t feel large and why it works so well on both small and large wrists.
For one, the rotating bezel takes up some dial room, meaning the dial on this watch actually does not feel big, unlike the dial on the Explorer 1 39mm that felt way out of proportion for me. The dial on the 114060 is actually smaller than the dial on the Explorer 1 39mm. This brings me to my next point that the proportions on the Sub are near perfect, the lugs do not appear too long and contrary to popular belief the lugs do not feel overly wide either. The bezel is also slim feeling, whereas in some photos it looks large due to the shimmering ceramic insert. For a dive watch the 114060 is actually quite thin lending to its elegant classy aura, while remaining more functional than just about any other dive watch on the market. The black on black monochrome colouring is also slimming in appearance, much more so than say a two-tone Sub. Rolex nailed the design so well that it just looks good on any wrist small or large.
A lot of why it looks great on all wrist sizes also translates over to its comfort. Because the design of the watch is so well implemented it’s also incredibly comfortable on wrist. Two things stand out to me as big contributors to the comfort, the bubble back design and the glidelock adjustable clasp.
The bubble-back raises the watch off your wrist an extra millimetre compared to the new ceramic GMT Master II’s. This extra height gives your wrist more clearance from the edge of the watch case allowing you more maneuverability of your wrist during physical activity like diving or just having a drink at your local pub. The extra height on wrist is quite noticeable and I find myself raising my watch to eye level and gazing at the underside occasionally to view this in action as I rotate my wrist in awe of the clearance.
The other amazing thing about this Sub is the Glidelock that simply allows you to do an extra quick bracelet size adjustment as your wirst expands and contracts throughout the day. If it’s hot out your wrist will expand and you can quickly accommodate to this by using the glidelock. Same thing when you cool down, just take off your watch and glide the bracelet left or right for the most comfortable fit.
Where do I start here? This is after all one of, if not the most iconic and handsome looking watch of all time. While I have some photos here for you guys they really don’t do it any justice, you need to handle this watch in person to see it for yourself.
The dial, to the case shape, to the integration of the bracelet, has all been perfected by Rolex over many decades of continuous production and improvement. What we have now is just the fruit of many years of watchmaking perfection. This is a watch that looks amazing now, and will look even better as it ages (yes even with the ceramic bezel).
The details are what makes the Sub 114060 so fantastic, like the platinum filled markers on the bezel, and the white gold detailing on the dial. I love the maxi-dial compared to the older 5 digit subs, not only is the legibility of the watch increased but it also accentuates the symmetry of the no-date layout. The super-case while being chunkier than the older 5 digit models comes off as more modern. People make a big fuss online about the super-case vs the old 5 digit case but in my opinion after trying on both references side by side the difference is barely noticeable. The 114060 is still 40mm just with a slightly blockier oyster appearance.
I love the big crown and crown guards, it makes the watch sporty and capable looking.
My favourite part about the 114060 is probably the dial. It’s the type of dial that you can sit and stare at for a few minutes and just enjoy the layout and light play. It also gives off a bit of a re-issue vibe from the original Submariner that was also a no-date version, I swear you can feel the nostalgia even if you weren’t born in the 50s or grew up with the Sean Connery or earlier Bond films.
The history of the Submariner is also fascinating and it’s cool knowing that owning one of these watches in a way gives you your own piece of this history.
While the movement is an important part to cover, there is nothing here that is overly exciting. We know that Rolex makes extremely accurate and reliable movements. The movement in this watch is the in-house built calibre 3130, it’s a self winding Swiss chronomotere with a Parachrom hairspring. The moto for Rolex movements is efficiency, they aren’t into complicated decorated haute horology movements. Rather they like reliable, efficient, and quiet movements, this is a tool watch after all. I haven’t yet done an official timing test on this piece but I can tell the accuracy is rock solid just from general use.
In conclusion I love my new Submariner 114060. It’s a watch that will stay in my personal collection and will never be sold. Maybe I can even hand it down one day if I have kids. If you’re after an iconic watch with a huge history, or maybe you just like dive watches, this guy should be first on your list. Unfortunately the availability of this watch at retail is terrible, it’s the one caveat to this watch, it’s just very difficult to buy at retail price. With some persistence, determination, and a little purchase history at your local Rolex Authorized Dealer you may just get lucky one day.
If you don’t want a watch that is easily recognizable or that is difficult to obtain this is certainly not the watch for you, and there are many other options in the dive watch space that could fit that bill like the Fifty Fathoms or Omega Seamaster.
To view the entire Rolex lineup visit their official website here.
Danny Chico says
This is a wonderful review is what I feel for this watch to the point the I sell my many years ago and purchased again exactly what you describe in your review. This watch is my cornerstone
Matthew Catellier says
Definitely a staple piece in the collection, congrats on your re-acquisition.
Dave McAleer says
Great review! I’ve had my 114060 for 2 years now, and absolutely love it. Classic in all respects, it will always be in my collection. Although I have a Panerai GMT and a Grand Seiko Snowflake, the Submariner gets the most wrist time.
Thanks for your thoughts on this iconic beauty!
Tim Watkins says
Excellent review full of passion and facts.
I’ve had my 114060 for a couple of years now and it’s certainly everything you describe and a future classic. It definitely gets the most wear out of my two Tudors and my Panerai. Congratulations on finding your grail watch.
Interesting comments. Funny enough, I bought my no date sub 23yrs ago at Howard’s, great crew they have, very knowledgeable. I agree with you, I am also small wristed, this watch fits like it was made for me.
Only regret is that I traded my Tudor sub to Howard’s getting the price down to $3400.00.
Matthew Catellier says
Howards’s has been a bit of a let down since the acquisition of my 114060 actually. They had a great sales rep who helped me with the Submariner but since he left one of the store owners has been brushing me off. I even went ahead and purchased an engagement ring through her as well, but she has not taken me seriously on any of my requests since. I’ll be updating this article soon with some details.