I had wanted this watch ever since I was a boy. I was sold on it when I read "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." For many years, I said to myself, "self, someday I'm going to buy you a Rolex." But, through my college years, and afterwards, I could never quite justify paying such an exhorbitant amount for a watch. I mean, quartz watches actually seemed to keep better time, were more robust, and were cheap. My frugal engineer's soul just couldn't make the leap to buying a "luxury watch."
Years later, I found myself in Hawaii, on my first real vacation in over a decade. On a whim, I wandered into a watch store along the main tourist drag in Lahaina. There it was, sitting in the display case. The Rolex Sub. And there was no earthly reason for me to not buy it.
Well, actually, there was. No Rolex dealer on the island was willing to negotiate at all on price. That sounded fishy to me, so I decided to wait until I got home, out of a tourist trap, to buy the thing.
Sure enough, upon my return, I walked into the Rolex dealer down the street, and managed to negotiate what I thought at the time was a decent enough deal, about 13% off. I walked back home, happy as a clam, secure in the knowledge that I was wearing the best timepiece money could buy...
Unfortunately, after several weeks of enjoying my watch thoroughly, I had the misfortune of discovering TimeZone while searching for some technical information on my new pride and joy.
You can guess the rest of the story... My descent into madness had begun.
I've become very ambivalent about this watch. On one hand, it was my dream watch since the time I was a kid. On the other hand, I've come to feel as if I've been ripped off. As I've learned more about the world of watches, I've discovered that this Rolex watch certainly doesn't display the same level of design and craftsmanship as other watches available in its price range. Cheaper, more functional alternatives exist. Its bracelet is quite uncomfortable, and has some serious aesthetic and functional drawbacks. And I've grown to beleive that the house of Rolex is just resting on its laurels, cynically exploiting its history and brand recognitions.
However, it is a quite robust watch, and keeps excellent time through thick and thin. If purely functional issues were my main concerns, though, I would have stayed with the G-Shock...
Knowing what I know now? No. Unless I decided I needed it for purely wardrobe-related reasons. I'd seriously investigate the possibility of a vintage Rolex Sub, though.
The Sub's movement is the in-house Rolex Caliber 3135 . It is 28,800 bph, diameter 28.5mm, height 6mm, 31 jewels. Glucydur balance. Breguet overcoil. Kif shock protection. Power reserve ~50 hours. "Superlative chronometer", C.O.S.C. certified.
The date is set in the first crown position, with a quick-set.
The time is set in the second crown position, which hacks. There is a bit of play in the hands when setting and pressing back the crown that I find bothersome.
The case is stainless steel, diameter 40mm, height 12.8mm. It
is very chunky in appearance, especially from the side view. However,
due to its shape, it settles down quite nicely onto your wrist, and
the thickness isn't too apparent when the watch is actually being worn.
Some surfaces are brightly-polished, but the bracelet/strap lugs
have a rough brushed finish. The lugs themselves are somewhat sharp, and
can be painful at times.
The bezel is a unidirectional diving-style timer, with a tritium dot at the 0-minute indicator. It turns very robustly, with a positive clicking sound.
The crown is protected quite well from damage by projections of the case. The crown is Rolex's famous and patented screw-down triple-locking crown, and looks bomb-proof. It is signed with the Rolex crown with 3 dots underneath.
The crystal is quite thick, and very shiny. It protrudes above the bezel a noticeable amount, which apparently makes it prone to chips and dings, though I have not encountered any such difficulty. The crystal has the Rolex trademark cyclops eye magnifier over the date. I have grown to dislike the cyclops eye, as it interferes with rapid and accurate reading of the time, and requires viewing of the date at limited angles. I would prefer no cyclops eye, if given a choice.
The dial is a deep, attractive black. Applied round markers at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 o'clock, baton markers at 6, 9 o'clock, and a singular triangular marker at 12 o'clock. Markers have tritium inlays. The date window is at 3 o'clock.
The hands are the classic Rolex skeletonized "Mercedes" style, with tritium inlay. The second hand has a small round ball near the tip with tritium.
The dial is littered with writing, which really makes the face quite busy. At 12 o'clock, there is a Rolex crown logo, under which is the phrase "oyster perpetual date". At 6 o'clock, we find 4 lines, which say: "submariner", "1000ft=300m", "superlative chronometer", and "officially certified". I think that the watch would be much more attractive with a lot less marketing literature painted on the dial, frankly.