Let’s clear up a few things because one of my first articles ever on Fratellowatches, was about the modern classic Rolex Submariner 14060M. I made the claim that it was essentially a perfectly designed watch due to its excellent dial symmetry, but also because it lacked that odd protrusion of a feature: the Cyclops. I also made it very clear that there are only 2 types of Subs: the Submariner and the Submariner Date. There is no such thing as a Submariner “No Date” – that’s just silly. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that it was actually a struggle to pull the trigger when a very honest Rolex Red Submariner came up for sale some five years ago for a very reasonable price. But…the head lurched in front of the heart and made the decision because, if nothing else, a well bought vintage sports Rolex is a sound investment.
I had just moved to Germany five years back when my Dad shot me a note stating that a Canadian jeweler outside of Toronto had received a Rolex Red Submariner in on trade and had put it up for sale for around $5,000 Canadian. (This dealer also had a lovely 1675 that neither of us jumped on – ugh). I hemmed and hawed a little, but, admittedly, there was also a little voice inside of me that became really excited because, honestly, I never thought I’d be able to find an affordable vintage sports Rolex again.
Rolex, in its self-pronounced desire to push innovation, claimed that it was the first time it was able to produce such a deeply rated watch with a Cyclops. They claimed the bubble as a potential source of weakness that they were finally able to overcome with technology. Well, heading back to the late 1960’s and the Rolex Red Submariner, the brand took a page from the contemporary Detroit era of cars – as in, there’s no cure for cubic inches. In Rolex’s case, though, they mounted what now looks like an absolutely insane crystal that’s now known to collectors as a “Top Hat”. Essentially, in order to withstand the 200M depth rating inclusive of the famous Cyclops, a ridiculously thick crystal was fitted to the Sub. When I say ridiculous, we’re talking mm’s upon mm’s. In today’s world – or at least back in the 1980’s – it looks like a Plexiglas special. It’s so damn ridiculous that the thing loses its near 90-degree corners on everything from desks, door jambs, and whatever else. But, it’s endearing and I had to find a NOS one…
Taking a closer look at some details on the Rolex Red Submariner, you’re met with some really cool features that just don’t exist in today’s Subs. I’ve been critical of modern Subs for being too modular and blocky looking. I hope you’ll like these macros because I think it shows off some of the best details within this beauty. Let’s start with that bi-directional bezel.