Blue Rolex Submariners have been “the in-thing” for as long as watch collectors can remember. Ever since its first release, Rolex Submariners in blue have always been a big hit with the audience. No one can be exactly sure why that’s been the case. Perhaps it is simply the touch of Rolex magic? Regardless, blue-toned watches have become a staple for the Rolex crowd. They are extremely recognizable and a commodity to enthusiasts and collectors alike. One of the most iconic Rolex Submariner Blue timepieces is the Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 116613LB, more commonly known as the Bluesy.
The Ref. 116613LB is a remarkable piece of luxury. It is one of Rolex’s latest and most beloved creations to date. Whether in conversations online or offline, this Rolex Submariner Blue is one of the most talked-about models in Rolex history. The Bluesy has so much to boast and has barely any faults. Many watch connoisseurs find that they simply can’t think of things to criticize this watch for. So, if there isn’t much to improve upon, how could Rolex possibly top the Ref. 116613LB?
In 2020, Rolex released the successor to the Bluesy, the Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB. The new Rolex Submariner Blue 126613LB features cutting-edge innovations and craftsmanship like no other. As we take a more detailed look at the new Bluesy, we will see if it truly is better than the original. Can Rolex refine a timepiece that already doesn’t disappoint? Let’s find out.
This addition to the Rolex Submariner line has a case diameter of 41mm, a millimeter more than standard Rolex Submariners. Although the specs show that the model is larger than average, the slimmed-down lugs and substantial bezel size make the watch appear smaller than it is. It is 12.7mm thick with a lug width of 21mm and has a lug to lug measurement of 48.1mm. Apart from the case diameter, the Rolex Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB has proportions much like other Submariner models. That said, anyone who has owned a Submariner and worn it with no difficulty will have a similar experience sporting the spectacular Ref. 126613LB.
Oystersteel and Yellow Gold Case and Caseback
There isn’t anything that Rolex wouldn’t do to ensure a high-quality timepiece. Rolex uses a combination of beveled Oystersteel and yellow gold to produce the case of the Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB. Many Rolex enthusiasts are familiar with this iconic color scheme and refer to it as Yellow Rolesor. The term “Rolesor” is one that Rolex coined, meaning half gold and half steel. The Rolesor of the Submariner Ref. 126613LB is a blend of Rolex’s highly-regarded, durable Oystersteel and exquisite 18K gold. Rolex adopts the best properties of both materials and melds them into a perfect mixture of style and strength.
The knob of the Submariner Blue Date is a screwed-down winding crown that features Rolex’s Triplock system. As its name suggests, the Triplock system makes use of a total of three gaskets to securely prevent water from leaking into the inner machinations of the watch. Simply put, this allows the crown to keep the timepiece safe underwater, whether the knob is screwed down or not. It ensures the watches are better protected and gives wearers some peace of mind knowing that their tremendously valuable timepiece is not in any danger.
Located at the rear of the timepiece is a screw-down caseback made from Oystersteel which keeps the inner mechanisms of the Rolex Submariner Blue safe. While it would have been nice to be able to view the movement at work through an exhibition caseback, a screw-down caseback is the optimal choice for greater protection. Compared to exhibition rear cases, screw-down casebacks are less vulnerable to leakages and can more effectively keep the watch safe from water damage.
Royal Blue Unidirectional Bezel
Inserted on the top of the Rolex Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB is a rich blue unidirectional bezel made of Cerachrom. “Cerachrom” is another word from the Rolex dictionary. It is an amalgamation of the English word “ceramic” and the Greek word “Chrom”, meaning color. At the top marker of the bezel is a luminescent bulb that provides brightness in dark environments. The ceramic bezel has its numbers and graduations overlaid with a tasteful gold coating to stand out from the blue surface of the dial. On the side of the bezel are notched edges that give an easier grip when rotating the bezel.
The reason why Rolex uses ceramics instead of their renowned Oystersteel for the bezel is because of the scratch resistance. Unlike the metals used for bezels that can get scratched time and time again, ceramic bezels display a more resistant surface overall. It is scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and resistant to UV rays. The only problem with ceramic, however, is its fragility. It does not take much to break ceramic, so it is pivotal to keep the timepiece from receiving impacts. Compared to steel, ceramics are more fragile and can crack, even shatter after taking a hard bump.
Royal Blue Chromalight Dial
It is impossible to deny the grandeur of the Rolex Submariner Blue’s sunburst royal blue dial. The dial is glorious, with a stellar design that shimmers and shines under all sorts of lighting conditions. On the dial are geometric hour markers and an alpha handset encased in luxurious 18K gold. The hour markers come in different shapes of circles, rectangles, and a triangle for 12 o’clock — a simple yet effective way to indicate time. Perched at the 3 o’clock position is a date window roofed by a convex cyclops lens. Rolex supplies the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB with their signature Mercedes-style handset, similar to the ones found in other Submariners. The hands and hour markers are also generously coated with Chromalight to provide brightness and legibility in the dark.
Here is an intriguing detail about the Submariner Date Ref. 126612LB’s dial. Tilt the watch slightly to the side, and you can see “Rolex” engraved several times on the inner walls of the timepiece, a testament to how Rolex truly pays attention to the finest of details.
The main difference this particular Rolex Submariner Blue has from the previous Bluesy is its crisp, white-colored text. Many enthusiasts and collectors welcomed the color change as it is a more satisfying contrast to the blue dial than the original gold text. Ultimately, however, it is up to the preference of the wearer which version is truly better. Another minor difference can be found at the bottom of the dial. Right below the 6 o’clock marker of the new Rolex Submariner Blue is a small “Swiss-Made” signature with a crown affixed in between.
For a watch as extravagant as the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB, sapphire glass is the only option fit to shelter the striking royal blue dial. No other material does a good job of protecting the Submariner timepiece as sapphire glass. It is superbly scratch-resistant and can take a good beating compared to the other materials in its category. Positioned on the right side of the glass is a convex cyclops lens that magnifies the date aperture on the dial. Such placement allows owners of this two-tone Submariner to read the date with just a glance.
A lesser-known fact about sapphire glass is that it tends to be highly reflective. Because of that, it is typical for watchmakers to apply a layer or two of anti-reflective coating. This allows wearers to comfortably read the time without any obstructions. Although the scratch resistance of sapphire is certainly noteworthy, it is still susceptible to cracks and shattering. With that in mind, it is best to keep the Rolex Submariner Blue safe and not go knocking it around against a hard surface.
Rolex Calibre 3235
Rolex equipped this blue Submariner Date with their latest mainline movement, the Caliber 3235. The Caliber 3235 is an automatic movement based on the previous in-house Caliber 3135. The 3235 features a precision of -2/2+ seconds per day, which is incredibly accurate even by Rolex’s standards. In making their latest caliber, Rolex didn’t just make some minor adjustments. Rather, they heavily modified every aspect of the 3135 to create an upgraded Caliber 3235 that is even more efficient and reliable. That said, just what changes and improvements were made to the 3235?
First, we will address the oscillator. The Calibre 3235 uses a paramagnetic Parachrom Bleu Hairspring to oscillate the balance wheel. While the hairspring isn’t entirely new, it has undergone a series of upgrades and fine-tuning. As a result, it runs with more enhanced isochronism and is ten times more accurate. Rolex used a blend of zirconium and niobium to create the alloy of the revamped hairspring. These elements give the hairspring greater resistances to magnetism, corrosion, and varying temperatures. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers also work to dampen the rebound and compression of the hairspring. A traversing bridge secures the shock absorbers and reinforces the shock resistance even further.
Rolex was also able to improve the power reserve of the 3235. The caliber can now last approximately three days. With the inclusion of the bidirectional self-winding feature, you could power the watch with a simple movement of your wrist. An incredible thing to note about this improvement is that Rolex achieved the enhanced power reserve by simply slimming down the walls of the mainspring barrel.
The most significant improvement to the 3235 is its highly innovative Chronergy escapement. The escapement is what regulates the power delivered by the mainspring from the oscillator. When it comes to upgrading movements, one of the most delicate things to improve upon is the Swiss lever escapement. After much research and testing, Rolex came up with an escapement innovation that offers 15% more efficiency. Rolex also used nickel-phosphorus in developing the new escapement, allowing it to be more resistant to magnetism.
31 jewels hold the caliber 3235’s mechanisms to keep them from undergoing excess friction. The 3235 also has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, which is the ideal standard for modern luxury watches.
Another thing that makes Rolex timepieces remarkable is that every aspect has a certain standard of quality, even the bracelet. With the Rolex Submariner Blue’s bracelet, the first thing that draws our attention is the Yellow Rolesor pattern. Its design dates back to the 1930s and is present in the bracelets of many Oyster Perpetual models, such as the highly recognizable Rolex Datejust. Despite its age, it still proves to be a timeless look to this day. In addition, the Oystersteel material of the bracelet is exceedingly resistant to corrosion, which enhances its durability.
The bracelet uses the Rolex Glidelock system, which allows users to freely and precisely expand the band up to 20mm. The system comes equipped with a flip-lock extension which allows wearers to further adjust the bracelet by an additional 26mm. Such measures are necessary to ensure divers and non-divers can wear the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB with a comfortable and secure fit. Finally, a folding Oysterlock clasp fastens the bracelet cozily around the wearer’s wrist. The lock bears the iconic logo of the company and adds a sense of sophistication to the bracelet.
This blue Rolex Submariner Date also possesses a water resistance of 300m or nearly a thousand feet. The timepiece is COSC certified and has received Superlative Chronometer status after further testing in Rolex’s facilities. A luxury watch with 300m water resistance can effortlessly handle activities such as showering, swimming, snorkeling, and even recreational diving. This Rolex Submariner Blue can go to depths that reach the proximity of saturation diving but bear in mind that it has its limits. If you’re looking for a timepiece built for excellent underwater reliability even in the deepest waters, the Rolex Sea-Dweller might be a better choice.
If you want a spectacular dive watch that isn’t a Rolex, here is an alternative that could more or less fit the bill.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm Ref. 126.96.36.199.03.001
The Submariner and the Seamaster have gone at it for a long time. Whether it comes to cameos in James Bond movies or the actual horology industry, Rolex and Omega are nothing short of rivals. As expected, Omega has its own contender in competition with the latest blue Submariner of Rolex. In 2018, Omega unveiled their most recent 42mm Seamaster Diver Master Chronometer. The new Seamaster has a proficient set of qualities that match Rolex’s Ref. 126613LB.
Similarities to the Submariner
First and foremost, the Seamaster is a self-winding watch that also uses kinetic energy to supply power to itself. It features a helium decompression system which allows the timepiece to release helium when worn during long dives. The installation of the helium escape valve makes the Seamaster a professional choice for underwater exploration. As an added benefit, the crown is self-locking and securely screwed in to offer better water resistance.
The Seamaster also makes use of a high-quality stainless steel case and a ceramic unidirectional bezel. Being unidirectional ensures accuracy to a diver, and the ceramic plating will reduce any chances of scratches staying on its surface. The Omega timepiece also received COSC certification for its performance, durability, and resistance to magnetism.
Differences Between the Submariner and the Seamaster
Now that we are aware of the similarities between these two dive watches, what exactly does the Omega Seamaster do differently?
Aside from having Omega’s signature wave dial, the Seamaster utilizes the Caliber 8800. Just like the Rolex 3235, this in-house Omega movement features more efficiency and preciseness in operation. The Caliber 8800 is METAS certified as a Master Chronometer — the highest standard for accuracy. For calibers to attain this status, watches must be COSC certified and undergo eight additional tests. What makes this certification more impressive is that timepieces must undergo these tests twice. Although Rolex’s 3235 is not METAS certified, it possesses a more efficient power reserve and beat frequency than the Caliber 8800. On the other hand, the Caliber 8800 contains 35 jewels to hold the movement and boasts a higher rating of 15,000 gausses of anti-magnetism.
Another difference is the usage of sapphire. For the Seamaster, Omega furnished both the front and the rear with sapphire glass. The watch has a dome-shaped sapphire crystal to protect the dial and a transparent sapphire caseback to protect the back of the watch. Since the caseback is see-through, wearers can view the Caliber 8800 in all its glory.
Putting everything together, the Omega Seamaster puts together lots of convenience with a considerable amount of elegance. Both the Submariner and Seamaster are excellent watches, but if you’re more of an Omega fan, then the latest Seamaster is also a splendid choice.
A Fun Fact About the Seamaster
Did you know that in the trailer of the latest instalment of 007 (No Time to Die), you can see Daniel Craig wear the 42mm Seamaster as his trusty timekeeper? His watch is the same model but of a different reference number. The exact reference Mr. Bond uses is 188.8.131.52.01.001. It is safe to say that we will see more of the Omega Seamaster in action once the movie finally releases. Let’s hope that Mr. Bond doesn’t break the watch. Then again, he probably has the money and the methods to get another one.
The 126613LB is most certainly a fine addition to the Rolex Submariner Blue series. With its astounding qualities and beguiling design, the blue Rolex Submariner Date is pretty much one of the best options out there. Like all Submariners, owners can sport this marvelous timekeeper on any occasion. Moreover, the Rolex Submariner Date 126613LB is always ready to deliver optimal performance with an added sense of sophistication. It is as beautiful as it is practical. The latest iteration of the Rolex Bluesy is, without a doubt, a stunning work of craftsmanship and innovation.
Need a more affordable diver watch? Have a look at the classy Orient Mako II?
Featured Image By Rolex