Originally Posted by Waterloo 360T
First post over here. Hoping for your learned opinions. Do you guys think the premium for the new SD4000 over the SubC ND is worth it? Looks like it will cost me $2400 more for the 116600 (33%). No, I don't dive but the date would be nice and I like the look without the Cyclops. It is a little more exclusive but very subtle in that department, which I like.
The devil is in the damn details with Rolex divers - it is the case with vintage divers, as well as modern pieces.
There are several differences that justify the SD4000's higher price in the minds of collectors who prefer it over the SubC ND:
1. The different shape of the lugs and the crown guards render the SD4000 looking "less square/boxy" than the new generation of cerachrom bezel Submariners. Note that I have taken a caliper to these lugs and determined that the difference is only half a millimeter on each side - but that half millimeter at the bottom, how it tapers from the crown guards, etc, really add up visually.
2. The crystal of the SD4000 is raised, whereas the crystal of the SubC ND lies flush/flat against the bezel, giving the SD4000 a bit more "presence." Of course it also means some friends of mine have chipped their SD4000's raised crystal. Such are the risks of actually wearing a watch.
3. The matte rendering of the SD4000's dial is appealing to collectors who feel that it is more understated compared to the lacquered black dial of the SubC ND.
4. The SD4000 is 15mm thick because of the titanium case back. The SubC ND is only 2.5mm thinner at 12.5mm but we all know this game is measured in millimeters. The DSSD is only 2.5mm thicker than the SD4000 but it is a whole different level of beastly insanity.
5. Of course there is the HEV technology, and greater depth rating. Yeah yeah, I've heard all the arguments about "well, will you really dive 4,000 feet and need to protect your watch against helium popping the dial open" and sh*t. That's not the point. Will you really use your watch to tell the time or that of other time zones if you have your iPhone or computer doing that for you? Whatever. We've gone over that many times before.
Fans of the SubC ND will tell you that:
1. It's cheaper than the SD4000
2. The lacquered dial actually works very well when set against the cerachrom bezel insert, which will for its entire life retain that "shiny" look.
3. Hard to beat the symmetry.
4. The "squarish" look actually harkens back to some of the earlier Submariners, and it is a decidedly heftier, more macho look compared to the "sleeker" lugs - I've had friends who got used to the "chunky lugs" and actually prefer it now, even though they weren't fans before.
5. Some of the "pluses" for the SD4000 above like "greater thickness" and "more presence" actually can be viewed negatively: "greater thickness" may translate to "WTF I can't fit this thing into my shirt cuff" and "more presence" may translate to "there's a hump on the caseback that's pushing painfully against your wrist after a few hours" or "holy sh*t I can't believe how heavy this feels at the end of the day."
6. Also, it's cheaper than the SD4000. Have I said that already?
Again, it's a highly personal thing. Honestly, I got myself a SubC ref 114060 a few months before getting a SD4000 and thought that once I got the SD4000 I wouldn't reach for the SubC anymore. Guess what? It's still part of the rotation, I love the subtle variations it offers, and I think it may well be a keeper for me - even though I have a bunch of other modern Rolex divers like the DSSD and the D-Blue.
My two cents. Again, not exactly leaning one way or another (unless you count the "well, get both!" option), but stuff to think about.