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Watches & Pencils #11 - Submariner: Name & TypographyToday we discuss the most famous submarine on this planet: the Rolex Submariner (find our historical Sub overview here). Apart from the impressive machinery and all of its revolutions over time there are many of visual aspects to point out. In the following paragraphs the attention is going to be on the naming, dial and typography on this 'U-boat'.Wilsdorf the ArtistBeing obsessed by visual perfection, the open-minded Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf is quite a hero for most watch collectors. Myself included. He understood that for optimal marketing, all the information counted. As an example, when he invented the name 'Rolex'. He said:"I tried combining the letters of the alphabet in most way possible breitling jewelry watches . This provided me with some hundred names, but none of these felt quite right. One morning, while riding on the upper deck of the horse-drawn omnibus along Cheapside inside the City of London, a genie whispered 'Rolex' within my ear." (source: Rolex.com)He wished to develop a name that was easy to pronounce and sounding the same in every language. Once we go through the name 'Submariner', furthermore, it commits to Wilsdorf's conditions. Strong, adventurous, technical and aquatic are directly bubbling in our mind when many of us consider the name. Given it is very relevant to 'submarine', obviously. With the short but strong visual appearance, naming probably the most iconic replica watches 'Submariner' is certainly one of several cornerstones with the enormous success.Anonymous StartWhen you purchase a history with the model you will appreciate that around 1953 the initial batch of Submariners (e.g. reference number 6205) was lacking the name 'Submariner' about the dial. It absolutely was added a bit later. Probably to spotlight this fantastic name even more and expand very good in this name. Smart move Rolex.Right TimingLet me clarify why the name 'Submariner' is rather smart from another perspective. Once the first Submariner was published it suited its highly 'exploring' timeframe just like a perfect tailor-made suit. Then, many submarines were checking out the deepest and darkest depression points on the planet. Over it, we were holding and also glory many years of the famous explorer and diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau (his "Calypso-period"), that have an in depth relation with Rolex. A later Rolex brother (Deep Sea Special) even achieved the deepest depression point on the planet (10,916 meters - 37,800 feet). To supply another, non Rolex-related illustration showing right timing in relation to marketing: As everyone knows, short after we initiated discovering and examining the deep seas with subs, we did commence to explore the galaxy. As Rolex, Omega also understood the strength of right timing and created (after NASA chose them in 1965 as the official watch for EVA) an unchangeable outcomes of the Omega Speedmaster Professional and moon explorations by NASA.Rolex Submariner (reference number 1680)TypographyLet's zoom in. Obviously the used typeface for 'ROLEX' and 'SUBMARINER' can be a capitalized or, more technically, a Roman Serif style. There are several (on-line) discussions about the font that is being used within the dial to display the name 'ROLEX'. While it may look like an all-caps typeface such as Garamond, Bodoni, or Baskerville Old Face My business is sure that a custom font is used. Undoubtedly that Wilsdorf prefered this, since custom typography rules in the hill with regards to alignment, proportions, ligatures, etcetera. Considering that the name 'ROLEX' consists of 5 characters, the trademark crown icon may very well be perfectly horizontally centered across the name (on top of the letter 'L'), which creates a level space near to each side with the crown. Therefore, everything on top of the core dial looks very balanced.And then there are the opposite lines underneath the core of the dial, that we often call "'spec lines". The name 'Submariner' for instance. Another font is needed if we compare it on the brand's name 'ROLEX'. One example is, observe the serifs with the 'R' in both words or compare the stroke contrast per character to experience the difference between the 2 main words. While they differ, both share precisely the same characteristics: constructed from wide strong bodied letters, similar to the steel used on a submarine to battle contrary to the pressure:In general, all the letters within the spec lines are precisely and widely spaced to stay readability, even coming from a little distance. To develop a hierarchy, bigger or smaller font sizes can be used as the lines and elements. Sometimes a color is added, but more to do with that at a later date.Macro of the "spec lines" about the 1680Error for the dial?Let's look at the WR-line. The used units (meter and feet) to suggest water resistance are printed inside an italic kind of the font. Quite strange when you keep to the strict rules of displaying symbols and units:"Symbols for physical quantities are printed in italics, while symbols for units are printed in roman type."Most of those rules are documented through the American Institute of Physics and usually accepted. I've done some research in this document and may only conclude that you've a technical typographical mistake within the dial. Permit me to clarify by using those rules with the AIP under consideration. Following the typographical rules to show off units/variables 'm' entails something different then this italic 'm' that is printed on Submariner-dials. The Roman 'm' symbolizes 'meter' (which is correct), but strictly seen the Italic 'm' on the dial is short for 'mass' (!?). Needless to say Rolex does not want to produce the WR in mass. By making the font italic Rolex probably i would like to visually highlight the units when they released the sub inside the 1953. Nowadays they still make use of this font style to keep things authentic, however in my estimation they're technically wrong.Since I am not saying an experienced chemist or physicist, please clarify, enforce or debunk this in the comment section below this article. I would like to know what you think. For more info An excellent opportunity the AIP style manual (see Appendix C), more info concerning the mass-symbol, or among Roman and Italic.Mix-upIf you gaze on the spec lines about the 'Submariner' you will observe quite a combine of the lines and font variations through time. For example, sometimes the 'Submariner' wording is introducing the specification lines and also a reference later replica omega geneve seamaster watches , water resistance indication contains the honor to look at the specifications about the dial. Whenever we zoom in around the WR-line, we are able to even find variations at line-level, for instance:660ft = 200m200m = 660ftAs we can easily see, plenty of variations. The concepts the motivation due to this vary of lines and words? Visual optimization or A-B testing to determine which specification "cocktail" sells best? For your order variation of units around the WR-line it probably might be explained and linked to the 'leading' unit per region.Dial of the mid-sixties Rolex Submariner (reference number 5512)Colorful Submariner variationsBesides this mix-up of lines Rolex also did some experimenting with font colors on the Submariner. A good illustration of a colour variation may be the Rolex Submariner with reference number 1680 (early examples). Rolex altered large for the 'Submariner' tagline to your scarlet red tone for this one. That's why this 'submarine' can be generally known as 'Red Submariner' amongst collectors.From 0 to 4+ in 50+ yearsThe Rolex "spec-line-car" accelerated from 0 to 4 lines in roughly Fifty years, rare variations including the 'Comex' versions, excluded replica watches . Once we do include these to our range, we're able to even say 5 lines. By way of example, a nice '5-liner' may be the ultra rare Rolex Submariner Sea-Dweller 2000 (reference number 1665, a .k.a. Great White or Double Red). This expansion morphed the 'Submariner' face from your utilitarian, minimalistic but highly legible look with subtle luxurious details to some more crowdy and specification exposing spotlight. At a later date, stainless-steel or (white) gold accents and borders enforced this overall luxurious check the dial all the more. Because i fit in with the followers with the 'less is more' principle I'm mostly attracted to earlier 'Submariner' examples, a.k.a. 'two liners' (e.g. reference number 5508, 5512 or even the newer 14060), that is just my taste. I want to begin to see the name from the model on the dial, maybe a highly unique or model specific specification or two, that is about it. If there's a sudden desire for putting more specs around the watch I'd prefer the caseback, to guarantee pinpoint the most distinctive design elements and separate a lot more "common" technical description.Macro from the 1680-bezel. Note the subtle serifs for the '5'.QuestionsTo conclude, I must leave activity is with some questions that you think of. In my opinion watch collecting is not just about gathering knowledge and replica watches but in addition about forming a rock-solid vision, opinion and taste. Out of your tender it goes:Include the spec lines an essential design element within the dial?Should we still those lines in 2016 where almost every watch within this budget is running within COSC/Chronometer specifications?The new METAS standards ('Master Chronometer') has recently been introduced. After that the result be?What is your opinion of the particular position on the spec lines? Whenever we think back, you will find rare variations released where 'Submariner' even is defined just beneath the 'ROLEX' branding. Are these claims better? In that case, why?What if the COSC certification could possibly be place close to 'Swiss made'?Could you buy a Rolex Submariner when it didn't have 'Officially Certified' around the dial?Happy thinking and also have a safe dive!p.s. I'd like to thank Michael and Bert of the FW-team for providing me the amazing pictures to beautify this post.