High Luxury is so often associated with high maintenance …
Whether we’re talking about mansions or Ferraris, bespoke suits or superyachts, the upkeep will often cost you more than the initial price after just a few years.
Fortunately, your Rolex Submariner is an exception to that rule. Because despite being one of the world’s most recognizable brands and sought-after timepieces, the Submariner is still a sports watch at heart—and it’s built to last through practically anything.
Rolex is always eager to point out that water is the natural element for any of their steel sports watches. Thanks to the screw-down crown, oyster case and tough sapphire crystal, these watches can endure submersion at depths of up to 100 meters or more. In fact, one of the brand’s most iconic advertisements features an oyster watch stored in a fish tank (and this was all the way back in 1936!)
But what about long-term ownership? What do you need to know to ensure your Rolex stays as close to perfect condition for as long as possible?
Let’s take a look …
Submariner Care Step #1: Buy an Ultrasonic Cleaner
So this is more about the bracelet than the watch head itself. In fairness, the bracelet does require more frequent cleaning since so much of it stays in contact with your skin throughout the day—picking up flakes of skin and grime that can accumulate over time.
Enter the ultrasonic cleaner. These things are becoming all the rage since they provide an easy and low-maintenance way to clean up everything from dentures to small hardware without risk of scuffing or damage. They’re affordable and if you buy the right brand, they can be worth every penny.
Add a touch of soap to some water and set your ultrasonic cleaner for 3 minutes, then simply add your bracelet (with the watch head removed). The ultrasonic vibrations will gently clean out the hard-to-reach crevices inside your Submariner’s clasp and in between the links.
You can leave the watch head attached as long as it’s out of the water, preferably on a plastic cradle—but it’s not advised. That’s because the high-frequency vibrations from the cleaner can potentially damage the finer parts inside your watch’s movement.
Submariner Care Step #2: What NOT TO DO
If you browse Youtube, you’ll undoubtedly see dozens of videos showing how to clean your watch head—some helpful, others … not so much. Some Submariner owners will dunk the watch head in a glass of water then scrub it with a toothbrush—but this isn’t necessary.
Rolex’s official website recommends simply wiping the watch down with a cloth from time to time as necessary, which will generally be enough to keep it looking new. And even if it doesn’t look pristine, some small dings and scratches in the finish only add character to a rugged and iconic diving watch.
There’s always the risk (however small) that some water could creep in through a faulty gasket, or that a bad polishing job could reduce your watch’s resale value, so don’t take the risk and don’t do too much to care for your new watch.
Submariner Care Step #3: Servicing?
As of 2015, Rolex’s warranty was raised from 3 to 5 years for new Oyster & Cellini family watches. Servicing intervals were also extended from 3 to 10 years, vastly simplifying the service & care factor for owners of newer models.
The cost for servicing a Rolex with an independent watch service centre isn’t all that much—often in the range of £450-£550 to clean all the internals and replace worn parts, assuming no other major work is necessary. Sending your watch off to Rolex will often cost a bit more due to postage and insurance costs, but again, you’re only incurring that cost once a decade at the most.
Plus, how often you service your watch is ultimately up to you to decide. Some Submariner owners don’t mind their watch losing a few minutes there, and if they’re not actively diving then it’s not absolutely necessary to keep the gaskets in pristine condition. However they do also prevent dirt and irritants reaching the movement which can cause timekeeping issues. Still, the cost is minimal to keep such a prized possession in perfect working order.
So Why Not?
And that’s it!
You can sport your Submariner every day for years, and aside from spending an hour here or there dusting off the watch head and cleaning the bracelet, you’re perfectly free to go about your daily life.
With the affordable simplicity of servicing and caring for such an iconic wristwatch, especially one that holds its value so well, it only becomes a more appealing purchase once it’s inside your budget range.
Your COMPLETE Guide to the ROLEX SUBMARINER
Everything you need to know about owning and caring for the iconic Submariner.