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Best first submariner reference?

  1. lightweight Jan 4, 2023

    Hey all, been looking at adding a new watch to the collection in the next few months been thinking pretty seriously about a diver. I really like the idea of the submariner as a go anywhere do anything style of watch. It is obviously capable and competent for those with an active lifestyle but I think its iconic design make it easy to dress up for work or social events that require a collared shirt and suit jacket. I really love vintage watches (that's why we are all here right?) but I am open to getting a new watch as well. I have been thinking a lot about which references of subs I should keep an eye on and have come up with to candidates. I think the best vintage option is the 14060, I like the fact that the watch has a sapphire crystal which adds a lot of durability. Some of the oldest models still have tritium dials which have developed beautiful patina and I love the more matte look of the aluminum bezel inserts. Additionally they can be had a reasonable price compared to many other "true vintage" references.

    I think the second best option would be to go for a modern 124060. These watches have the far better movement and are guaranteed to be waterproof and far better able to take a beating if I choose to take it with me as as an adventure buddy. With a watch I intend to keep indefinitely it's nice to know that I was the first owner and be the one who made all the memories with the watch. I really wish the bezel wasn't so shouty though.

    What do you think what is the best entry point into submariner collecting? Is it one of these two models or something I have not considered? What was your first sub? Did you get it new or second hand? Do you still have your sub, or have you moved on?
  2. Dan S Jan 4, 2023

    Of those two, I would choose a tritium 14060. Although I certainly don't consider it to be vintage, it's not a monstrosity like the modern Subs. And they are easier to buy than a true vintage piece. Many are still in the hands of their original owners and haven't been frankenized or converted with service parts. An early 90s 14060 is my most modern mechanical watch and it has no problem passing a full pressure test.
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  3. Meyrin Jan 6, 2023

    I would go for a 14060, but then I´m biased, as my everyday watch is a 14060, and it has been on my wrist 99% of the time since I bought it new in 1996! Okay, the tritium lume is dead now, but that doesn´t bother me. The watch has been all around the world with me, dropped, banged and dinged everywhere. It really is built like a tank, and I have had no problems with the old "jingly-jangly" 93150 Oyster band, which gets a lot of hate on TRF, for example. I´ve had her serviced twice, but never polished. I like all the scratches and swirls! To be fair I´ve never handled the newer 124060, but many say that the 5-digit Subs wear better and are more comfortable. See if you can try on both Subs, and good luck finding the right one for you! Cheers! Here´s my trusty old 14060...
  4. perenowell Jan 9, 2023

    I'll go for a tritium 14060 too. it's the last "vintage" reference IMO. :thumbsup:

    But for me, the two most desirable vintage subs are the 1680 and the 5513 maxi dial. I love the painted hour markers, the matte dial, the proportions, and the fact that they seems similar but are so different with their crystal. I ended buying both at the end!
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  5. S.H. Jan 9, 2023

    Indeed, I am going for a sub this week and switched from 14060 to 1680 after having it in my hands. For me painted matte dial and plexi wins. I can't like a flat sapphire without AR coating, too shiny.
    Also for some reason I like the 1680 and really don't like the 16610.
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  6. janice&fred Jan 9, 2023

    At the highly inflated prices these days, it's romantic but not practical to regard Submariners as beaters. You are likely going to wind up babying the thing after you fork over that kind of cash so it most probably wont be an "adventure buddy". That will require an additional watch purchase :D
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  7. Linesiders Stripers, not snook. Jan 9, 2023

    Ohhhh, a 1680 with that B I G Date window, creamy plots, such a comfy watch.
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  8. blufinz52 Hears dead people, not watch rotors. Jan 9, 2023

    I’d go for a 14060M. Same as the 14060 but with an improved movement.
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  9. S.H. Jan 9, 2023

    Also, the silver brushed date ring. Same little detail as in my Seiko MM300, I love it.
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  10. bananapeanut Jan 9, 2023

    14060 vs 124060

    Case diameter: 14060 wins
    Case thickness: 14060 wins
    Lugs thickness: 124060 wins
    Lugs width: 14060 wins (21mm on the 124060 is not practical for straps)
    Bezel: 124060 wins
    Lug holes: 14060 wins
    Bracelet: 124060 wins
    Clasp: 124060 wins
    Power reserve: 124060 wins
    Reliability of movement: 14060 wins (new Rolex movements have issues)
    Lume color: 124060 wins
    Water resistance: 124060 wins
    Dressiness: 124060 wins
    Value for money: 124060 wins

    I've owned both watches. My pick is the 124060. It's hard these days to find a nice 14060. Lugs are thin and don't look good when they have been polished. The bezel scratches easily. The bracelet is not great. That said I love the lug holes and it makes it easy to swap straps.
    Edited Mar 16, 2023
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  11. Linesiders Stripers, not snook. Jan 9, 2023

    I have (had) a bunch of Snowflakes (and a few GMTs) with the brushed datewheel. One day the right 1680 will come along.
  12. S.H. Jan 9, 2023

    Not really, but it will cost you 10-12keur (from a dealer) for a sharp example. Serious money.
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  13. thelinendial Jan 9, 2023

    I think the 14060M (improved movement) is the best of the vintage modern you can get. Personally it’s my favourite for the reasons you mentioned, but also because it’s the best proportioned (in my opinion next to the 124060) and wears the smallest height and lug to lug…. something to consider depending on your wrist size.

    For value though, if your wrist wears it well, I’d recommend the modern 41mm 124060 (also because of the great bracelet).

    If you are open to Tudor, there is the vintage Tudor Submariners 79090 and 79190 (sapphire, gold surround markers and uni-bezel are the key upgrades). Last of their breed, Rolex parts, and you can still get them at $4k - $6k depending on where you look.

    Having had similar deliberations, I opted for two subs instead instead of one 14060M. Mine are of the same family, but smaller; Tudor Subs (36mm) 75090 black and 75190 blue (per my pic, there’s also a choice of steel bezel).

    On hindsight, I should have got just one and saved the remainder towards a Vintage GMT.

    The unpolished 75090 I just missed (picture from CoinWatchCo) and I’ve yet to take pics of mine,

    My 75190 blue with steel bezel,

    2022-12-24 Tudor Submariner 75190
    Edited Jan 9, 2023
  14. watchyouwant ΩF Clairvoyant Jan 10, 2023

    My first Sub? 1958 Big Crown. Good entry point.... There might be slight problems now, if you need non movement parts. Good luck ! Achim
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  15. Leviathan Jan 10, 2023

    My favourite too.

    Red text… too bad they’re going for $50k a pop. Best Sub reference by far.
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  16. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jan 10, 2023

    If you intend an active life with this watch, then modern is the way to go.
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  17. effovex Jan 14, 2023

    I’ll always suggest a 14060/m for a first time sub. Yes, the bracelet is not the best, but what you lose in bracelet you gain in versatility of straps (natos and rubbers straps don’t seem to compliment modern cases all that well imo).

    With the 5 digit series, you also get the more classical case dimensions.

    Some areas where the 14060/m is lacking is the bracelet and the relatively smaller lume plot sizes relative to the printed plots of the 4 digits. Just comparing the matte printed plots to the wg ones on the 14060/m, the printed plots are much proportional to the dial.

    As mentioned previously, condition is the name of the game with the 14060/m. Namely the extent of case polishing.

    My vote is a late 2-liner 14060m!
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  18. MTROIS Jan 15, 2023

    I am with @bananapeanut ’s assessment and although it is not easy to secure at MSRP, my vote would def. go for a modern 124060. Make it YOUR watch and wear the hell out of it!! Good luck with your search.

    Here is mine:
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  19. watch3s Jan 15, 2023

    id go with a 14060(m), but im biased. Ive let mine go in the past and definitely regret it.
  20. miccro Jan 15, 2023

    I’ve owned a few - started with a 14060m - no mater how hard I tried I just didn’t get on with it , disliked the gloss dial, small marker with white gold surrounds, felt like less of a hard “tool” watch and more of a dress feel, I ended up trading it for a 70’s maxi dial 5513 when there were readily available and wore that watch for past 6 years, loved it. Last year started to become more conscious about water intrusion etc and wanted a modern sun to take its mantle as a do everything watch. I bought a first gen maxi case ceramic sub - very different feel to the 5513 but such a solid watch and with maxi plots and maxi case felt much more tool orientated to me than the 14060m

    But that’s just me …

    so - I’d recommend skipping the 14060 and get a ceramic , or if you are really looking for the smaller case vintage feel - perhaps a 5513
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