Some watches are simply iconic and time can do nothing to change that fact. More often than not, a watch can be dated simply by looking at its dial, its case, or even its colours. That is until a once in a generation design comes along which is simply perfect...
Simply perfect means no improvements required, nothing you need to change in the fundamentals of the design. A design which simply lasts forever and that you never get tired of. We think you know which watch we are talking about here. The Submariner, launched in 1953 and still the classic it was born to be. It is possibly the most desired watch in the world. This is analogous to the Porsche 911, another piece of industrial design which perfectly fits the above description.
So what is there improve upon? Well, a Rolex Submariner is out of reach for most. Not only is it expensive, it is also illusive. Rolex make far less of them than they could sell, which only increases the desire to own one which in turn results in waiting lists... long waiting lists. Some dealers have customers waiting for up to 5 years before they can get their hands on one. Indeed some dealers are not even bothering any longer, and just turn people away when they ask for a Submariner in steel. That has in turn created a booming aftermarket for pre-owned Submariners, and most models cost well above list price of a new Submariner - even the most plain versions.
With the September 1st launch of a new generation of the Submariner, Rolex has done it again - reignited the hype and made the world stop and stare - Hans Christian Andersen style. Although the changes are almost impossible to spot, and the little boy from the fairy tale is entitled to shout: ‘He is not wearing any clothes’, Rolex has made the most significant change to the winning formula yet. They have increased the size of the watch by 1mm, going from 40mm to 41mm. Does that even matter? Yes it does.
For years there has been rumours and speculation about a smaller Submariner. Some of those who follow the market the closest were fantasising about a 36mm Submariner. Indeed the current trend up until this moment is that watches are shrinking in size, not growing. Leading brands who were bringing out one big monstrosity after the next have stopped making watches that can be seen from space. Many have introduced smaller sizes most likely in a bid to make their products more accessible in more parts of the world. And then Rolex went the other way with the new Submariner. So it actually matters a lot, even if it is just 1mm.
The Submariner 14060M was my first Rolex watch so I have a particular fondness when it comes to this basic, no nonsense icon. But I also remember it for its inability of keeping good time. I remember the dirt from the bracelet which covered my wrist on a warm and sweaty summer’s day. I remember the sub-standard clasp which didn’t lock properly. So it is not all a bed of roses and Rolex ownership comes with a number of other compromises.
When we started Enoksen it was always the plan to have a product range, which included a model that pays tribute to the great Submariner, without being a shameless replica.
So the spirit of our efforts was always the utmost respect for the original, coupled with a desire to experiment with colours and features. First and foremost for us is allowing our customers to enjoy that unique Submariner feeling without the pain of the wait and that of the high price.
Our Dive E02 models draw inspiration from some of the earlier models in the Submariner lineage. Especially the Submariner 5513, which was manufactured from 1962 - 1989.
So how do you go about making a watch which is true to the original, yet new and somewhat different? We knew one thing to be true - the world didn’t need a Submariner homage watch in poor quality and sub standard finish. It was a goal from the outset that the look and feel, and not least weight, had to be as good as or even better than the real thing. Ideally when we buy a new watch, our new watch should be so good that you would hardly believe the price tag.
The basics of the Dive E02 watch family
We began with the case. At 40.8mm, our case is marginally bigger than the original. It is also slightly thicker, but there is a good reason for that. We wanted our watch to have a water resistance level of 300 meters. Greater water resistance requires a slightly beefier watch case.
To create a more utilitarian look we had the watch case satin finished, rather than high gloss polished. The brushed look of the satin finish is more scratch resistant and doesn’t look greasy on warm days. The spirit of the Submariner is action, both under water and on land and knocks will most certainly be a fact of life for a watch of that category. So more action and less board room. In that light we opted for sapphire crystal rather than perspex or hardened mineral. It felt good to know that it would take a diamond to scratch the crystal of the watch. To be water resistant to 300 meters you need a chunky screw-in crown, and to protect the crown further chunky crown guards are an integrated part of the case structure.
A ticket to play for a watch for diving is the ability to time your dive. Therefore the bezel must be rotatable and equipped with timing markers. Our bezel consists of two parts; the rotating bezel which can only travel anti-clockwise, and a bezel insert made of aluminium and a luminous dot located at 12 o’clock. The numbers and markers on our bezel differ in the sense that we use our own typeface for the numbers, rather than the classic Rolex font which is used by everyone else.
To make the watch as serviceable as possible, all access to the movement is achieved via the screw-down caseback which is sealed and pressure tested prior to delivery.
Another very important feature on a watch for diving is legibility and we wanted to make sure that our watch could almost light up a room. Generous use of Luminova on both hour markers and on all three hands ensures that you can tell time regardless of the light settings. In terms of hand design we opted to stay close to the original Submariner design, however with one exception - we couldn’t resist temptation to replace the Mercedes logo inside of the circle of the hour hand with our own Enoksen ‘<‘ logo.
In terms of dial colours we went for three base colours - black, white and grey. We decided from the outset that we would offer a variety of colours for the bezel insert to allow customers to make there own, personal watch, and at present there are 18 different colours to select from.
In its first version, the Dive E02 was only available with an automatic movement. We went with one of the most popular and reliable movements available - the Seiko NH35a. A movement which is accurate, serviceable and extremely shock resistant. With its date complication and its smooth operation, it supports our idea of what a good diver’s watch should be. In 2019 we added another movement to the range - the Seiko VH31. The VH31 is a so-called Hybrid Quartz, so a combination of a mechanical movement and a quartz movement. The result is the best of both worlds; the incredible accuracy of quartz and the magic of a mechanical movement with a sweeping second hand. On a VH31 based watch the second hand takes four small steps a second rather than one.
Make it your own
Since its launch in August 2018 the Dive range has evolved from being available in one standard colour scheme (our popular E02/A), as well as two special editions - the results our collaboration with Mikael Pernfors and Bernard Fouquet. Today the choice is yours: three dials colours, 18 different bezel colours, as well as a large number of strap and bracelet options mean that you can have the Dive just for you.