This is Part 5 of a series of articles aimed at identifying future classics from the 1990-2018 modern era. This month will focus on one of the "old school" modern Submariners - the 14060M
Every now and then Rolex produce a truly cool watch. Usually it is one that has strong overtures from its history. Usually it is a GMT or a Submariner as those represent what collectors perceive as the heart of Rolex. When Rolex produce such a watch, it usually has a very long production run and is very popular. Take the Submariner 5512 and 5513. The 5512 was introduced in 1958 and was produced until 1978. The 5513 saw a production run from 1962 through to 1989. Even for Rolex, this represents a long production run. Yet, these two references represent what, to many, is the very essence of the Submariner icon. Despite the long production run, various quirks and anomalies on the dial of these two references have seen some variations become extraordinarily rare and sought after. Auction prices have gone through the roof for some of these variations.
The Submariner 14060 was the successor to the 5512/5513 and many people describe it as “the last of the best” as the reference retained the sleek crown guards and narrow lugs of its vintage predecessors. It has that vintage feel to it but at the same time is a thoroughly modern watch. The 14060 Submariner was introduced in 1990 until 2002 and the 14060M from 2002 until 2012. Inside the 14060M beats the calibre 3130, featuring a full balance bridge (upgrading from the previous balance cock), a Breguet overcoil on the hairspring as well as a larger balance wheel.
The no-date dial gives a very strong symmetry to the watch, combined with a vintage feel and a totally modern robust movement to make it a very desirable watch indeed. With drilled hole lugs (the last Submariner to have them), the watch is easily transformed with a leather strap or Nato, though I have to say I think it works well with the original bracelet. The 14060M has a feel to it that very few modern Subs have. I would say it is a perfect example of the transition between vintage and modern.
Now, 2002-2012 represents a long period of production for the 14060M, but this production run saw a number of evolutions. The most important of these concerns the Chronometer certification that took place in 2007. Prior to this, the dial was a simple two-liner without the chronometer certification. From 2007 onwards, however, the dial carried the chronometer certification and was differentiated by a 4-liner text on the dial. Now, that makes the 4-liner produced for just 5 years and much rarer for Rolex. Most production runs exceed that. But 5 years still allows for a lot of production given how popular Rolex Submariners are.
The next evolution, however, is not something that is well-known. If one looks at the 2-liner dial (ie before certification), one can see a certain type of script being used. In particular, the F used in 1000 ft has a particularly long tail to it. It is a Long F.
Now, if we take an example of a 4-liner dial from later in production, one can see that a different type of script has been used by Rolex for the post-chronometer period. It is a short F.
However, during the year of transition from 2-liner to 4-liner (2007/8), and only during that first year of production of the 4-liner, some of the Long F script dials were used on the 4-liners. When I say some, I mean a very small number. It is not unique, as I have seen maybe 5 or 6 examples. But there is a rare dial anomaly that can be seen on the very first 14060M 4-liner dials. 4-liner with a Long F.
To be honest, I love the Long F. The short F is fine, but that Long F is very good. It is a Long Good F. It is also a crucial differentiator that sets it apart from other 14060M. I also love the 14060M. It is such a pure Submariner that carries strong vintage DNA.
A brief look at Chrono24 will show about 300 Submariner 14060 for sale globally. Around half of these are 2-liner (pre-2008) watches and the other half are 4-liner (post-2007) chronometer watches. Within the 4-liner sample, I can see just one or two Long Good F examples. That makes it a very rare watch indeed. The “last of the best” it may be. But with this very rare dial configuration, it may be one of the rarest of the best. Possibly one of the rarest dial variations of a modern Submariner.
The Long Good F. It reminds me very much of the classic film “The Long Good Friday,” starring Bob Hoskins. One of the best "old school" British gangster movies of all time. I think nicknaming this watch The LGF or the “Bob Hoskins” seems fitting.
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