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A closer look at the king of Submariners, ref 116619LB

February 16, 2023

The Rolex Submariner is the diving watch of choice for most people, and quite rightly so. It's built its reputation as the go-to watch over many decades. While other dive watches from other watchmakers have come and gone or had a re-design, the Submariner remains true to its roots and yet totally designed for the times. For example, back in the seventies and eighties, it was a no-nonsense tool watch, made to be used and abused but still have a pedigree. Today, these watches are still worn as daily pieces by many people, but Rolex recognises the need to make its watches more special to continue justifying the high prices they cost. In that sense, the Submariner IS the watch for the times, and the range of colours and materials it's come in along the way only solidifies this. Today, we're looking at the undisputed king of the Submariner range, a 116619LB. 

You might be looking at this and thinking, "what is it if not a colour change?". You're right about that; it is a different colour from the other Submariners in the range. It's got a vibrant blue dial with a colour-matched ceramic bezel, but it doesn't have the warm tones of a two-tone Submariner, which most Rolex fans will know is available with a blue dial and bezel. This particular Submariner colour is so coveted not just because of the colour, but because of the metal it's made from.

You'd have to pick it up to notice it at first (and we'd strongly recommend you make an appointment to see this one), but the case and bracelet of this watch are made from solid 18k white gold. This means it's much heavier than the stainless steel versions, owing to gold's higher density than that of stainless steel. On reflection, you might also notice that the colour of the gold is not quite the perfect silver, having an almost yellow tinge to it.

Despite it being denser than steel, gold is less resistant to scratching, so while this is as capable as any other Submariner of hitting that 300m max depth rating, it isn't perhaps the one you want to wear every time you go to the beach or go diving in a quarry. It's also not as "stealth wealth" as some people might think. Rolex's enduring legacy means that most people know what they look like, and this one stands out for those who know Rolex watches. Don't let that put you off buying one, though. The 40mm case has the same proportions as the others, meaning it's easy to wear with a dress shirt and slide under a cuff. It also looks good when dressed with a smart/casual outfit like jeans, a button shirt, and a blazer.

The white gold Submariner we're looking at here was made in 2015. That means it comes with Rolex's in-house-made calibre 3135, a self-winding movement with a 4Hz beat rate, 48-hour power reserve and a date window. This COSC-certified Superlative chronometer movement features Rolex's Parachrom Blue hairspring. The hairspring connects to the balance wheel, is responsible for the watch's oscillations and is a vital component. The secret formula used in the Parachrom Blue hairspring means it's resistant to magnetism while still behaving like a traditional metal spring. It's also got a Breguet overcoil. 

Patented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1795, the Breguet overcoil raises the last curve of the balance spring over the rest of the spring itself. It might not seem like much, but it brings the anchor point of the hairspring closer to its diameter. This means that the hairspring has more consistent oscillations throughout the watch's power reserve. Without this, the power of the mainspring (the watch's fuel tank) isn't enough to pull the spring back and forth, thus causing the beat rate of the watch to speed up and the watch to become less accurate. It’s something that nearly all Rolex watches have currently, as far as we know.

All of that innovation and white gold comes at a price, but we think the white gold Submariner could well be the perfect centrepiece for anyone's collection, given its classical looks and usable functionality.

This is just one shining example of the watches we sell at Watches of Wales. Don't worry if we don't have the watch you want in stock. We buy and sell a lot of watches, so another one is bound to come around, but you can always contact us, and we can help you source the perfect timepiece for your collection.