Rooney Rolex Review

Discussion in 'Watch Reviews' started by Ed Rooney, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. Ed Rooney

    Ed Rooney

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    Since October of 2007 I have had the good fortune to own and wear all three current versions of the venerable Rolex Submariner. In quick succession I purchased a Submariner model 14060M, 16610 and a Sea-Dweller 16600. I lump the Sea-Dweller into this group because I consider it a blood member of the Submariner family. I realize this is a fairly short period of time, but it let me form opinions about each model without having to reach into the deep recesses of my memory. Hopefully this review will be sufficiently in-depth to provide insights to knowledgeable Rolex enthusiasts, while also providing useful opinions to a prospective buyer considering their first purchase.
    The cosmetic appeal of these three watches is very similar. All have the classic black elapsed-time bezel, glossy black dial and brushed stainless-steel oyster bracelet that almost every other dive watch manufacturer has copied at some point. If you like this look, simply read on and pick your poison.

    History

    14060M (also known as the No-Date Sub): The least costly of the Submariner range, the 14060M is also the most true to the Sub’s legacy as a no-nonsense tool watch for aquatic activities. The 14060M is a direct descendant of the tough military-issue Rolexes as well as the legendary James Bond versions. It’s predecessor was the preferred timepiece of no less a figure than Steve McQueen, which should provide sufficient man-credibility for any living diver, race-car driver, adventurer, accountant, cop, chef, soldier, explorer, barrista or gambler.

    16610 (also known as the Sub Date): Easily Rolex’s most popular sport watch, the 16610 and its predecessors have been in existence since the mid-1960’s, when Rolex decided to add its popular date feature to the Submariner to enhance its commercial popularity. If you can imagine a bunch of Rolex WIS’ discussing the relative merits of their GMT-Masters and Datejusts over pints, wishing that Rolex would add a date and a Cyclops to the Sub, you probably have a pretty good idea of the Sub Date’s genesis.

    16600 (Sea-Dweller): The Sea-Dweller is arguably the king of the old-school bezel diver watches. Its existence is purely the result of Comex company requirements for its professional divers. Rolex co-developed and patented the Helium Escape Valve for this watch for use in decompression from saturation dives.

    Appearance

    Visually, the 14060M is as close to the legendary 1950’s and 60’s Submariners as you can get. It is the only Rolex sport watch to retain the old style bracelet as well as lug holes. To the layman, this “less-modern” Rolex without a date might be less desirable. Many knowledgeable Rolex enthusiasts consider the 14060M to be the iconic Rolex sport watch, and more attractive because of the dial symmetry.

    [​IMG]

    “Hey, that guy is wearing a Rolex.” In your world hearing that under someone’s breath might be a good thing or a bad thing. Hearing that at a speed-dating social – good, at Wal-Mart where even the greeters are a little suspect – probably not so good. If this is a concern, consider that the classic 16610 Submariner Date is equipped with the magnifying loupe epoxied to the crystal above the date, which is probably the single most visible indication that you are wearing over $5000 USD worth of watch on your wrist. Otherwise it is the classic Rolex sport watch, appropriate in any venue and sufficiently versatile with any wardrobe.

    [​IMG]

    Spanning 59mm across and weighing in at half a pound – well, not really, but you would think the Sea-Dweller was some sort of giant if you read most of the reviews, blogs and forums on the Internet. In reality it’s no larger than a basic Seiko SKX-series diver, and is truly dwarfed by behemoth divers from Breitling, Omega, Seiko and Doxa. It’s even a hair smaller than the Submariner Date. Many consider the Sea-Dweller the perfect evolution of the Submariner - with the useful date feature, but also some of the symmetry of the 14060M. It’s also 2mm thicker than the 16610 and some say more rugged. The additional thickness comes from an extra thickness in the case, crystal and case back. The bezel also sits up higher; however I do not find it any easier to turn than either of the Submariners. If you make your living on dry land, you probably won’t see many other Sea-Dwellers in the wild, a measure of exclusivity much sought after by many watch enthusiasts.

    [​IMG]

    Comfort/Wearability

    The No-Date Submariner is probably the most comfortable in the range. It sits a little flatter, feels a little lighter, and because of the dynamics of the non-solid end link bracelet, it rest on the flat of my wrist with no flop. Owning a 14060M means two things: lug holes and non-solid end links. In this matter you have no choice. Perhaps this is a nod to the old-school Rolex designs. The 14060M is also a little safer to wear. If you get jacked for your watch, you should simply explain that this is only the $4500 model, and the criminal will probably leave you alone and go seek out a more lucrative target. If you can get by without a date (my previous chronograph of 20 years had none) and don’t plan on going below 300 meters, consider the 14060M. Plus, there’s something about being able to change out your bracelet with a dirty toothpick.

    My 16610 specimen was an early y-serial, which means it had drilled-through lug holes and solid end links. Coming from a 14060M, I felt the SEL’s made the bracelet a little stiff. The reason for this is the fact that the solid end link moves the pivot point of the end link from the spring bar out to the pin holding the first link. For the week that I owned both watches concurrently, I found myself wearing the 14060M most days. I found the date cyclops a little distracting. I generally had to peer under the cyclops to see the date at a comfortable angle, or else hold the watch perfectly perpendicular to my eyes. On the positive side, the cyclops was an extra reflective surface and had a jewel-like appearance, making the watch a little more “blingy”.

    A week on, my Z-serial Sea-Dweller seems to be a perfect compromise between the aesthetics of the No-Date Sub and the practicality of the Sub Date. While I would prefer non-solid end links and lug holes, the taller profile of the Sea-Dweller makes it sit on my wrist more like the ND Sub. I do find it heavier, but no heavier than my Seiko chronograph with an aftermarket oyster bracelet. It definitely has a presence, and to those in the know, a certain nobility.

    Conclusion

    In these reviews the author tends to write that his/her current watch is their best and final choice. I cannot commit to that. Next month I might own an Explorer, GMT or even a Datejust. I’d like to think I’m settling down, but 7 days is too early to tell. I do know that if I had no watch and walked into an authorized Rolex dealer, I would not have an easy choice to make.

    I think I see a Pepsi GMT-II winking at me….

    1/2009 Edit: I am rapidly approaching 1 year with my Sea-Dweller. It would take quite a watch to get me out of my 16600.
  2. DSimon9

    DSimon9

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    Ed, a very nice review. I love my SD, but to be honest, I have yet to try either the Sub or Sub/date. I find myself wearing the SD more often than not. Although at the moment I find myself wearing my 16750.

    Thanks for the review.
  3. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Excellent review, Ed! :thumbsup:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these 3 classic icons from Rolex!
  4. daveathall

    daveathall

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    Great review Ed, really enjoyed it, It would take a super watch to prise me from my Rolex Sea Dweller also.
  5. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Agreed. The SD's definately a keeper for me, too! It's on my wrist now, and the DSSD is staying idle in the safe. :crazy:
  6. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Fantastic review, Ed! :thumbsup:
  7. Goldbug

    Goldbug

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    Ed,

    Great review of all three watches. For me, I really like the simplicity of the No Date Sub. There is something about it that really just stands out. Maybe it is the fact that it doesn't have the cyclops even though I'm a big fan of the cyclops. At least with the No Date, your chances of getting jacked for it aren't as high since it doesn't have the single most recognizeable feature of Rolex on the dial. :thumbsup:

    :goodpost:

    Thanks for your input. I enjoyed reading it as it has stirred my desires for a No Date Sub.

    John
  8. RW16610

    RW16610

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    Well done, Ed! Had a look at this earlier but only getting around to posting now :smile: :cheers:
  9. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Great review, I enjoyed it very much.
  10. Erwin

    Erwin

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    that was quite a very informative and nice review! proud to be an sd owner!
  11. leopardprey

    leopardprey

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    Great Review. Of the three, my favorite, and the first Rolex I owned (and that I should never have sold) was the Sub No Date. Great watch!
  12. X2CDO

    X2CDO

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    Very good review Ed.

    I am awaiting with much anticipation a 14060M, myself. I have owned two Submariner 16800's in the past and just want the beautifully un-cluttered 2 line dial without the date. I will, no doubt, be flipping my GMT Master IIc when it arrives in a week.

    :cheers:
  13. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Good to see older reviews pulled back to the top. I see from a response I made that I had read Ed's review before...but had completely forgotten reading it!

    Great review, Ed. (again.) :)
  14. Zgar

    Zgar

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    Nice review
  15. SSD

    SSD

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    Ed, I have no idea how I missed this review, but I must now say I enjoyed reading it a great deal! Thanks for putting in the time to record such thoughtful observations and historical accounts. Well done!!!