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Rolex Datejust vs. Submariner: A Comparison Guide

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rolex datejust vs submariner

The Rolex Datejust is regarded as an elegant, reliable watch suitable for everyday wear and use. It can be worn at formal and informal events, providing versatility to its owners. With its fixed, smooth, gem-set, fluted, and rotating bezel options, the Datejust collection showcases a classic design representative of the iconic Rolex brand.

On the other hand, the Rolex Submariner is a purpose-built professional dive watch designed specifically to cater to the needs of scuba divers. It features additional design elements, such as its superior water resistance of 300 meters, setting it apart from Datejust’s 100-meter water resistance. 

Explore these Rolex timepieces further. Here’s an in-depth look.

Rolex Datejust Vs Submariner (Comparison Table)

The table below compares the watches’ main features:

CaseMore Material Options, Such As Stainless Steel, Everose Gold, Yellow Gold, And White Gold.Less Material Options, Like Yellow Rolesor, Oystersteel, and Yellow Gold.
BezelSmooth, Fluted, or Gem-Set. Older Models Had Textured And Engine-Turned Bezels.Unidirectional Rotatable, with 60-minute graduations And An Insert Crafted From Ceramic Cerachrom. (Modern Models)
StrapOyster/Jubilee/President, With a Clasp Fitted With a Folding Oysterclasp With Easylink 5mm comfort extension link (Oyster and Jubilee) And Concealed Folding Crownclasp. (President)Oyster, With Glidelock Extension System Buckle.
DialVarious Colors, Such As Rosé, Golden, And Slate, With Dressy Hands and Arab or Roman, Classic Stick Index, or Diamond Markers.Minimal Colors- Black, Green, Blue , More Straightforward, With Chromalight Lume on Hands and Hour Markers.
MovementDepending On The Case Size; 36mm And 41mm Have The Caliber 3235 Movement With 70-Hour Power Reserve. 28mm And 31mm Have The Caliber 2236 With 55-Hour Power Reserve.Depending On The Model. The No-Date Has The Caliber 3230 Movement With 70-Hour Power Reserve. Newer Date Models Have The Latest Caliber 3235 Movement With 70-Hour Power Reserve.
Price PointCostlier On The Private Sales Market, Going For Between S$4,277 And S$67,244.More Affordable On The Private Sales Market, Having A Price Tag Of Between S$11,889 And S$52,927.

The Rolex Datejust is the dressier of the two watches, boasting more case size options in various delicious materials. The elegance continues to its array of bezels- each serving amplifying the case and more eye-catching dials while adding a sophisticated look.

Its bracelets testify to the collection’s commitment to quality- the most common being the Jubilee and President choices. Each has a fitting clasp that complements its beauty while offering unmatched comfort.

Its watches’ movements are super accurate (+2/-2 seconds per day), offering unique power reserve capabilities depending on the model and mechanism.

The Rolex Submariner may be more reserved but offers the same sex appeal. Its rugged, larger case size in various material choices, coupled with a functional unidirectional rotatable bezel, well-lit dial (also in several colors), and rugged bracelet with an extension system make it a reliable accessory in water and on land.

Its latest models have the latest in-house movements with an impressive power reserve and accuracy capability- promising precise timekeeping for years.

Let’s have a more detailed look at the watches’ different aspects.

Heritage and Brand

rolex datejust watch

The Rolex Datejust is a classic dress wristwatch known for its elegance and versatility. It was released to the watch industry in 1945 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rolex’s founding. It was Rolex’s first self-winding chronometer watch to grace the date window at 3 o’clock.

In 1953, Rolex introduced the Cyclops magnifying lens on its crystal, magnifying the date for easier reading. This feature has become the watches’ signature characteristic.

Rolex went a step further in 1957 to introduce the Lady Datejust- which was smaller than the Datejust but offered the same sophistication and exciting features.

On the other hand, the Rolex Submariner was launched in 1953 as a purpose-built professional dive watch, offering exceptional underwater reliability. It’s available in two choices: The Date and No-Date.

In 1954, Rolex added a rotating bezel to the Submariner, allowing divers to track elapsed time underwater. The bezel featured a 60-minute scale, and divers could align the zero marker with the minute hand to measure elapsed time.

Design and Aesthetics

It features several design and aesthetic features that amplify its appeal, such as a round face, gold and Rolesor material options, a fluted crown, diamond-set bezels and hour markers, and various bracelet options such as the iconic Jubilee bracelet, making it a quintessential dress watch that’s perfect for formal occasions.

rolex submariner watch

As a dive watch, the Submariner sports a rugged look with a rotating bezel, rectangular face, screw-down crown, crown guards between its crown, a bigger and more legible dial, and an Oyster bracelet with an extension feature to enable it to be worn over a diving suit. 

Its design caters to the needs of scuba divers while maintaining a versatile style for daily wear.

Materials (case, bezel, strap)

It has cleaner and more refined cases with smooth lines and gentle slopes for an elegant look. The cases are available in several material choices, namely:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Everose Gold
  • White Rolesor
  • White Gold
  • Everose Rolesor
  • Yellow Gold
  • Yellow Rolesor

They also come in four size alternatives- 28mm, 31mm, 36mm, and 41mm. However, it also previously had a 26mm case size option for its Lady-Datejust model.

As for its bezel, it provides various designs, namely fluted, smooth, and gem-set- which are all fixed. Some older Datejust models (Turn-O-Graph/Thunderbird) had rotating bezels, while others had textured and engine-turned bezels. Fluted and gem-set bezels generally give a classy appearance, while smooth choices provide a sporty feel.

It also provides several bracelet options: Oyster, President, and Jubilee bracelets. They match the case material and have complementing clasp choices. The Oyster and Jubilee straps have a Folding Oysterclasp With Easylink 5mm comfort extension link. Meanwhile, the President clasp has a Concealed Folding Crownclasp.

The President and Jubilee bracelets have an authoritative and dressier feel to them. On the other hand, the Oyster strap gives a more casual and relaxed vibe while maintaining the watch’s unbeatable luxury.

Newer models have a larger, more rugged 41mm case with curved lugs, a polished surface (some models have brushed surfaces), a proportionate design, and a commanding wrist presence for some wearers. Older iterations came in 37mm, 38mm, and 40mm case diameter variations.

It has fewer but equally luxurious case material options, namely:

  • White Gold
  • Oystersteel
  • Yellow Gold
  • Yellow Rolesor

Moreover, it boasts a unique 120-click unidirectional rotatable bezel with 60-minute graduations with varying insert options. Older models had an aluminum insert. However, newer models have a ceramic Cerachrom insert and knurled edges for a better grip with gloves. The latest bezels are available in four main color options: Blue, black, and green.

As for its strap, it has a sporty Oyster bracelet with a Folding Oysterlock safety clasp and a Rolex Glidelock extension system. Its suppleness and easy drape make for a comfortable wearing experience in different environments.

Movement and Precision

The Datejust and Submariner are equipped with reliable, in-house, Swiss chronometer-certified movements, ensuring high precision.

The Rolex Datejust’s movement depends on the watch’s case diameter. 28mm and 31mm sizes have a Caliber 2236 movement with 31 jewels, a 55-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency. It also has a Syloxi hairspring and +2/-2 seconds per day accuracy.

36mm and 41mm models have a new generation Caliber 3235 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve (approximately), and a 28,800vph frequency. It also has Rolex’s proprietary Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hairspring, and a +2/-2 seconds per day precision.

As for the Rolex Submariner, it provides several movement options: Caliber 3230 (for the No-Date model) or 3235 (for the Date model). The Caliber 3230 movement is an in-house movement released in 2020. It has 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve (approximately), and a 28,800vph frequency.

Plus, it shares the Caliber 3235’s features and precision capabilities.

Price Range

The price range for the Rolex Datejust typically varies between S$9,523 and S$20,407, depending on materials, models, condition, and bracelet options. However, it sells for between S$4,277 and S$67,244 on the private sales market, according to WatchCharts.

On the other hand, the Rolex Submariner’s price range spans from S$10,884 to over S$27,209, depending on the material, condition, and watch model. As per WatchCharts, it has a price range of between S$11,889 and S$52,927 on the private sales market.

Investment Potential

Both the Datejust and Submariner hold their value well and typically appreciate over time, making them solid investment pieces.

Note: Datejust and Lady-Datejust watches appreciate in value equally to some extent, with some negligible differences. The Datejust generally promises more profit in the pre-owned and secondary markets.

While the Submariner’s demand tends to be higher and may see more significant appreciation, the Datejust offers a more affordable entry point for collectors and enthusiasts to invest in a luxury timepiece. 

5 Best Datejust Watches

Here’s a list of five of the best men’s and women’s Datejust watches, along with their retail and pre-owned prices:

1. Rolex Datejust 41 m126334-0002

rolex datejust 41 ref. 126334-0002

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$13,947
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$18,100

The Rolex Datejust 41 ref. 126334-0002 is a luxury men’s dress timepiece. It features a 41mm White Rolesor case, a stunning blue dial, a Jubilee bracelet, and a fluted bezel. It also has a date display at 3 o’clock and a self-winding Caliber 3235 movement.

2. Rolex Datejust 36 126233

rolex datejust 36 ref. 126233

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$16,461
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$21,200

A perfect mix of style and sophistication, the Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126233 is a luxury women’s watch. It features a 36mm Yellow Rolesor case, a Jubilee bracelet, and a silver dial with Roman numeral hour markers (diamond VI and IX hour markers).

3. Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 m279171-0009

rolex lady-datejust 28 ref. 279171-0009

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$13,809
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$15,650

The Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 ref. m279171-0009 is a luxury watch designed for women. It showcases feminine beauty and elegance with its irresistible 28mm Everose Rolesor case, fluted bezel, Jubilee bracelet with a concealed folding crownclasp, and a captivating chocolate dial with a sunburst finish and gold-tone Roman numeral hour markers.

4. Rolex Datejust 41 m126300-0008

rolex datejust ref. 41126300-0008

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$10,952
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$13,500

Offering a discreet touch of luxury, the Rolex Datejust ref. m126300-0008 is a luxury men’s watch. It features a 41mm Oystersteel case, a slate dial with luminous hands and hour markers and a nice sunburst finish for maximum visual effect, a smooth bezel, and a supple Oystersteel Jubilee bracelet with a Folding Oysterclasp with Easylink 5mm comfort extension link.

5. Rolex Datejust II 41 116334

rolex datejust ref. 116334

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$12,720
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$12,625

Looking to take the classic route? The Rolex Datejust II 41 ref. 116334 is your type of timepiece. 

It’s a discontinued luxury men’s watch with a black dial with black Roman numeral hour markers (index at 9 o’clock), a 41mm stainless steel case, a fluted bezel, and a stainless steel Oyster bracelet. Its combination of solidity and style makes it an excellent choice despite the era.

5 Best Submariner Watches

The Rolex Submariner is a prestigious dive watch known for its remarkable craftsmanship and performance. Here are five outstanding Subs to consider for your collection:

1. Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN

Rolex submariner 116610ln

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$12,176
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$16,200

The Rolex Submariner Date ref. 116610LN is a discontinued luxury men’s dive watch. It’s among the most desired luxury pieces and features a 40mm Oystersteel case, a black dial, and a black Cerachrom bezel, plus a revised Oyster bracelet- offering style and durability.

2. Rolex Submariner 114060

Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$10,748
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$13,787

Also known as the “No Date” Submariner, the Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 is a now-discontinued luxury men’s tool watch. It sports a sleek design with no date function on the dial, plus a 40mm stainless steel ‘Super Case’ with bigger crown guards and broader lugs, a black Maxi dial, a matching Oyster bracelet, and a black bezel.

3. Rolex Submariner Date ‘Starbucks’ m126610LV-0002

Rolex Submariner 126610LV-002

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$14,693
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$21,600

The Rolex Submariner “Starbucks” ref. m126610LV-0002 is a luxury men’s sports watch. It’s instantly recognizable with its black dial and green Cerachrom bezel. The striking color combination is married with a 41mm Oystersteel case, a matching Oyster bracelet, and the new generation Rolex Caliber 3235 movement.

4. Rolex Submariner Date 116613LB

rolex submariner 116613LB

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$20,543
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$18,700

Featuring a stainless steel and yellow gold (Yellow Rolesor) construction, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 116613LB is a discontinued luxury men’s sports watch with a refined, luxurious look. It has a 40mm case that supports a blue dial and blue Cerachrom bezel, creating an appealing contrast.

5. Rolex Submariner Date 126619LB

Rolex Submariner Date 126619LB

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$57,139
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$44,400

The Rolex Submariner Date ref. 126619LB is a luxury men’s dive watch. Its all-White Gold look is a lavish take on its predecessor ref. 116619 ‘Smurf’ ’s classic design. It boasts a 41mm case that houses a black dial and blue Cerachrom bezel, contributing to its unique monochromatic aesthetic. It also has a thinner, more refined Oyster bracelet that appeals to modern watch fans.

Final Word

The decision between the Rolex Datejust and the Rolex Submariner should be based on one’s lifestyle, preferred design aesthetics, and specific requirements from a luxury watch. By carefully assessing these factors, selecting the perfect Rolex model becomes a much easier and more enjoyable process.

Key Takeaways

  • The Rolex Datejust is a versatile watch designed for everyday wear and use. Meanwhile, the Submariner is a purpose-built professional dive watch designed for underwater use.
  • The Rolex Datejust’s main features are a date window at 3 o’clock with a magnifier lens, a fluted bezel (some models), and a President/ Jubilee bracelet (some models). On the other hand, the Rolex Submariner features a unidirectional rotatable bezel, a larger 41mm case, a larger, well-lit dial, and an Oyster bracelet.
  • Although both the Rolex Submariner and Datejust retain their value over time and can appreciate in value, the Sub appreciates in value better because of its higher demand.

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