Rolex Submariner Date vs no Date
Rolex Submariner date or not date? This is a question that has split opinions ever since a date and a no-date version became standard side-by-side Submariner duo in Rolex’s collection of watches.
We regularly see people who are looking to buy a Submariner, and ask for advice online on which they should choose: with or without a date? But it seems pointless to ask for advice because the answer is awfully close to 50/50 every time.
Now, there is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a Submariner – only personalizes preference. However, there are pros and cons of both versions, so before you choose one or the other, read the pros and cons of the Rolex Submariner date vs no date.
To non-watch people, the debate between date and no date may seem insignificant and silly, but small changes make for huge differences for (probably) the most iconic and recognized watch model in the world.
Rolex Submariner date and no date Rolex Submariner background
First off, let’s just start by saying that Rolex does not officially have a watch that is called ”no date”. This is just what people have started calling Submariner without a date in order to distinguish them from the date versions.
In Rolex’s collection, there is Submariner and Submariner Date.
Before we dive into the pros and cons of the respective watch, let’s just briefly go over some history about the Submariner.
Development of the Submariner started in 1953 when a man by the name of René-Paul Jeanneret who came up with an idea for a diver’s watch. This man served on the Board of Directors Rolex. His idea was to make a sporty yet elegant everyday watch that would be waterproof. And apparently, Rolex liked the idea since development began in 1953. The following year, in 1954, the first Rolex Submariner was announced to the world: the reference 6204, debuting at the Basel watch fair. It has a 38mm Oyster case and offers a water resistance of 100m/300ft. A notable feature at the time was the rotating bezel that allows divers to keep track of elapsed time. The first submariner did not have a date function.
The Submariner became a huge success as it was a practical tool watch that made for a perfect all-rounder for any occasion. Since then, a lot have happened in the Submariner collection. Technology has been improved, materials updated, reliability increased, and styling refined.
In 1966, the Submariner reference 1680 made its debut. The 1680 is the first Submariner to feature a date window, complete with cyclops. The introduction of the first Submariner with date symbolized something interesting, which is that the Submariner was no longer just a tool for professional divers. It was also the watch of the likes of James Bond and everyday people. How is that so? Because of the simple fact that a professional diver has no reason to keep track of what date it is when diving deep down in the ocean.
Different versions of Submariner Date and no Date
There are not just one Submariner date and no date respectively. In fact, over the years, Rolex has released several different dates and no-dates.
The watches that most people tend to think about are the Submariner date reference 116610LN and the Submariner no date reference 114060, both with ceramic bezel and maxi case.
However, the previous generation with aluminum inserts also stand side-by-side as a date and no date version, reference 16610 and 14060. Both generations of references are identical to each other, apart from the fact that they have/do not have a date function.
Therefore, if you want to have an older and more traditional Submariner, you will perhaps opt for either the 14060 or the 16610.
Or, if you want a modern, robust, and sporty Submariner, you will opt for either the submariner 114060LN or 116610LN.
Submariner Date vs no Date: Pros and Cons
As mentioned there is no right and wrong answer to this question.
It all depends on what you require in a watch. There is no denying that the date is a practical function on the Submariner. Being able to have a glance at your watch and instantly know the date, rather than having to awkwardly pull up your phone can be really helpful in many situations.
At the same time, there are plenty of watches that do not have a date function, so if you do not have it on your other watches, you can reason in two ways:
Either you can say ”I don’t have a date on my other watches, so I am doing just fine without it”
Or you can say Because I don’t have the date function on my other watches, I want to get a watch that has this function”.
There are two main things that no date advocates highlight about the Submariner no date.
The first is symmetry.
The symmetry of the Submariner date is damaged due to the date window and the cyclops on the dial. Whilst the feature is practical, it does harm the symmetrical beauty. The Submariner no date ha a perfectly symmetrical dial that just is visually appealing to look at. Furthermore, the no date is cleaner, which gives the perception of a more widened the dial.
The other thing is originality. The first Submariner and a number of references after that did not have a date function. With that said, the date function and cyclops is a relatively modern idea. As such, the no-date version stays much truer to the original Submariner. Purists will naturally find the Submariner no date the better alternative, but in terms of practicality, it’s safe to say that it is not. By omitting the date function, the watch retains its lines and minimalist aesthetics. The Submariner is made for a specific purpose, so who needs to know the date when diving, anyway? It’s only that the closest most Submariners will ever come water is when the owner washes their hands.
The thing is that most people today who buy a Submariner will wear them as desk divers. They buy the Submariner because it is iconic, it has an interesting history, and because they like it aesthetically. But if you are only desk diving, the date function can certainly come in handy.
The look of the Submariner Date
There are also people who prefer the look of the Submariner with cyclops and date window. The most noticeable about the Submariner date is perhaps not the date window alone, but rather the cyclops that is glued on top of the crystal. The cyclops was introduced in 1966 to magnify the date aperture function two and a half times – a very clever feature to improve legibility.
The cyclops has today become an important element in many of Rolex’s models, not to mention the Datejust model. So unlike back in the days when the date cyclops was something very odd-looking, today many people associate it with Rolex.
Submariner Date vs no Date price difference
Have in mind that the there is a price difference between the date and no date Submariners
Naturally, because the date version has a date window, date wheel, as well as an upgraded movement to support the date function, it has a higher price.
So the question is, do you think it is worth to pay more to have the date or can you manage just fine without?
The 114060 vs The 116610LN
The ceramic date and no date Submariners stand side by side as rivals and make the choice for many people a tough one. If it would only be one, the choice would be much easier. But clearly, Rolex sees demand for both.
As mentioned, 116610LN and 114060 are more or less identical. They share the same 40mm Oyster case made from Oystersteel. A screw-down caseback and crown ensure water-resistance to 300m (1,000ft). Both have black dials with 18ct gold hour markers to prevent tarnishing. And both feature a unidirectional rotatable bezel with scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic.
The difference, however, is that the date version has a cyclops glued to the crystal at 3 o’clock. Furthermore, the 3 o’clock marker on the dial has been removed in order to give room for the date window. Because of this difference, the two watches also have slightly different movements. The reference 114060 is powered by calibre 3130 which is a self-winding mechanical movement manufactured in-house by Rolex. It’s fitted with a Parachrom hairspring and is certified as a superlative chronometer. The Submariner Date, on the other hand, is equipped with calibre 3135. It has the same specifications as the calibre 3130, but has an added instantaneous date with rapid setting.
Regardless of your choice of a date or a no date, you can never go wrong with a classic such as the Submariner. It is iconic, legendary, and truly timeless in design.
With that said, symmetry is something our eyes find visually pleasing. So are you prepared to compare the symmetry of the Submariner in favor of a practical date window? Or would you rather premier function over symmetry?
Share with us your thoughts below! Rolex Submariner date or no date?