So we can all relax now, the Rolex novelties have been launched and the guess work is over. Another great year? Yes! Some big surprises? Yes. Was it what we expected? Kind of! The 70th anniversary of the Submariner was not celebrated (yet!) and the Explorer’s 70th was marked in a low-key way with a new 40mm model. The Daytona was revamped and we love it (read about that here) for its 60th. There were plenty of other delights though, including an entirely new line and some new eye-catching riffs on perennial classics. Let’s take a brief tour…
The Yacht-Master was the first luxury sports watch line from Rolex and has been the canvas on which Rolex has experimented over the years. New for 2023 is a titanium Yacht-Master, in RLX titanium that makes the watch light. I mean, really light. When I first picked the watch up it was almost confusing to experience its featherweight presence in hand. The grade 5 titanium is all satin-finished except for the lug bevels, which are polished. It’s great to see the bevels back, which have been a collectors’ favorite since the 1950s. The black dial is accented with huge maxi hour markers, and the matte and polished ceramic bezel insert gives it a stealthy cool look which I love.
Cellini is dead, long live the Perpetual! Rolex unveiled an entirely new line with the Perpetual. Graceful and elegent, the precious metal watches feature the thinnest movement from Rolex to date. Unlike Cellini, Perpetual keeps the rough silhouette of the brand and includes a sapphire caseback. The hands on the 1908 are inspired by sports watch hands from the over the decades, with a hollow Mercedes-esque hour hand and sword form minute hand. The watches come on alligator straps, and I have to say these watches sit beautifully on the wrist. Will we see more in the coming years? Almost certainly and I think a chrono would be to die for. Watch this space…
Did you struggle to decide on what colour you would choose when the colourful Oyster Perpetual dials were launched a couple of years ago? OK, it was maybe a moot point, as they were impossible to get and then they were discontinued. Fear not though, as you no longer have to choose, as the new OP has all the colours from those watches on one dial. The pictures do the talking, but I think this is a cool and fun addition to the line up.
The Day-Date 36 is all about colour and fun this year too. Rolex has unveiled three stone dials for the DD36, which are green aventurine, carnelian and turquoise. The latter we have had for a little while now, but the other two are new additions. With diamond bezels and hour markers, these watches are bang-on the money with the current popularity of stone.
In a real twist, another Day-Date instead of showing the day of the week, the arc-shaped aperture at 12 o’clock displays an inspirational keyword in English – ‘Happy’, ‘Eternity’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Peace’, ‘Faith’, ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’. The window at 3 o’clock reveals daily one of 31 exclusive emojis in place of the date. Sounds crazy? It is. And the dial is also fun having been created using champlevé enameling; it is striking for the depth and intensity of its gleaming colors and decoration. The motif is inspired by a jigsaw puzzle. Turquoise blue, red, fuchsia, orange, green and yellow pieces fit together on a single-colour background, each representing one of the key moments in life. The hours are marked by 10 baguette-cut sapphires in six different hues set according to the main color of the dial, which is turquoise blue on the 18 ct yellow gold and 18 ct white gold versions, and orange on the watch in 18 ct Everose gold.
The Explorer is now available two sizes, a first for the line. To supplement the original 36mm version, there will be a 40mm Explorer. It does what it says on the tin and will meet demand for the gap left by the discontinued 39mm watch. The GMT-Master also had an update with a new black and grey bezel — shall we call it the Guinness? The GMT is the only Rolex sports watch to sport a Jubilee bracelet, which it now has in yellow gold and Rolesor. The Sky-Dweller also had some new dial variations, including a classic green on the white gold Rolesor version and a blue-green on the Everose bracelet watch.
What a great year! Again, all about evolution not revolution, but that’s why we love the coronet!