Rolex, whose innovations are the most anticipated, once again enchanted its fans with sapphire crystal casebacks and fun dials decorated with new colors and patterns.
Watches and Wonders 2023, which was held at the Palexpo fairground in Geneva, Switzerland and became the largest watch fair in the world, started today and will last until April 2. We can say that the fair, attended by 38 brands last year, surpassed itself with 48 participating brands this year.
Cosmograph Daytona Celebrates 60th Anniversary
The star of Rolex at the fair was undoubtedly the Cosmograph Daytona collection, which celebrated its 60th anniversary. Announced on the first day of the fair, Rolex’s flagship and most popular model, Daytona, was born in 1963. Although it used the famous Valjoux (hand-wound caliber 72 between 1963-1988) and El Primero (1988-2000 automatic) chronograph movements, the first Rolex production caliber 4130, the self-winding chronograph movement, and its derivatives with minor changes began to be used since 2000. After all these years, the movement has been updated for the first time with the Rolex caliber 4143. There are minor cosmetic changes on the case and bezel, which Rolex calls “graphic editing”, but the big thing is that the Daytona with reference number 126500 gets a new movement called caliber 4131 with a 72-hour power reserve. The most surprising development and the sapphire case back of the platinum case Daytona, which is considered a first for Rolex (Naturally, “King is naked” jokes were made among watch lovers).
The Cosmograph Daytona collection consists of 28 different models due to steel, yellow gold, white gold and platinum options and their derivatives, as well as case and dial options.
There was another first at the fair, and a new model family was introduced that pays homage to Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, who started using the Rolex name in 1908. This new watch, named Rolex Perpetual 1908, inherits the aesthetic features of the Oyster Perpetual watches released in 1931, and the innovative watch technology of the brand on the mechanism side. Along with its elegant appearance, the Perpetual 1908 model has both a classic and a contemporary design that is evidently thoughtful.
These simple design codes will not be unfamiliar to watch enthusiasts because they carry the general design aesthetics of brands that have stood for centuries as well as newly launched and well-founded brands. This model, which we can call “pure watch design”, has 3, 9, 12 numbers on its dial and a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Under the sapphire crystal case cover, the delicately decorated details of the new caliber 7140 movement, which is expected to receive 5 new patents, can be seen. The new movement has a power reserve of 66 hours and is extremely precise with a deviation of -2/+2 seconds per day.
New Rolex Explorer Bigger
The general trend in the watch industry in the last 20 years has been the gradual growth of case diameters. Rolex, on the other hand, challenged this understanding in 2021 with the Explorer or Oyster Perpetual Explorer model with its full name, and with its 36 mm diameter, Rolex made the original debut of Mount Everest on 29 May 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and his guide Tenzing Norgay, which was introduced the same year. This year, Explorer 40 Ref. 224270, it offers Explorer enthusiasts a new option with 40 mm. Thus, Rolex offers a more proportional alternative to the 39 mm model, which has been discontinued for those who find 36 mm smaller (not to mention a millimeter, it is a very important aesthetic difference for Rolex enthusiasts).
As for the key features of the watch: the Explorer is an undated sports model with a legible clean black lacquered dial and white gold numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The hands and indices are in white gold and the watch is equipped with Chromalight, which glows blue in the dark. Rolex Explorer 40 Ref. the 224270 works with the caliber 3230 and comes with a guaranteed accuracy of ±2 seconds per day. As a classic, the case and bracelet are made of Oystersteel (904L) and the watch has a water resistance rating of 100m (10ATM).
Yacht-Master 42 Much Lighter
The Yacht-Master 42 is the second RLX titanium watch released by Rolex and is designed for the rigors and excitement of sailing, where lightness is important. Rolex had previously used titanium for the first time in the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge model. The new Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42, made of stainless RLX titanium, thus reducing its weight by about a third compared to a similar watch made of steel, stands out for its light and robust construction. RLX titanium, which is a difficult metal to process, necessitated the application of special production methods. The harmony of glossy, sparkling and technical satin surfaces shows the brand’s superiority in polishing skills. The combination of matte and glossy surfaces creates an elegant play of light. In particular, the glossy surface of the crown guard and the shimmer of the tops of the horns contrast with the matte finish of the grainy satin finish on the case and bracelet. The bracelet of the new Yacht-Master 42, which can be adjusted up to 5 mm in length, is also made of RLX titanium with ceramic inserts.
Sky-Dweller: The Traveler’s Companion
Rolex has made a few minor updates to the Sky-Dweller family, which is made for those who love to travel. Sky-Dweller includes hours, minutes and seconds, as well as a second time zone in 24-hour format, thanks to the caliber 9002 (previously 9001) that can display the date and month (which can distinguish between 30-31-day months) in an annual calendar. White gold is also a feature returning to the Sky-Dweller series. The white gold case and bezel matched with a glossy black dial are available for the first time with the Oysterflex bracelet. There are 21 different models in the Sky-Dweller family that differ in case, bracelet and dial options. At the fair, the Sky-Dweller model with a mint green dial attracted the greatest attention in the collection.
The Saros annual calendar with a patented Rolex design is also among the features that attract attention. Saros is a calendar specially designed for Sky-Dweller, the most basic feature of which is that the dark red rectangle in one of the 12 windows at the end of the indices showing the hours on the dial shows the current month. The annual calendar shows the correct date throughout the year. Because February is variable, it only needs to be adjusted once a year on March 1. The date display works according to the local time and changes automatically according to the local time zone.
The 2023 model GMT-Master II is available with a unibody Cerachrom bezel made of black and gray ceramic. Rolex has declared this year the year of yellow gold in some models. The Rolesor (two-tone gold and steel) option is also a flashy alternative for the GMT-Master II. The Cerachrom bezel and the Jubilee-style bracelet contrast and look in harmony. Both models feature the automatic Rolex caliber 3265 with a power reserve of 70 hours.
This year, Rolex added new ones to the colorful and cheerful dials that it gave the first examples of in 2020. Oyster Perpetual features red, pink, green and yellow bubbles on the turquoise-ground lacquered dials of the watches in the collection, which consists of 31-, 36- and 41-mm diameter cases.
The Rolex Day-Date is a model that has been in production since 1956, and as it is known, it is the first watch to display the day of the week and the date. The main difference of Rolex watches with 36 mm diameter white gold or Everose gold cases is seen on the dials decorated with colorful patterns. Another puzzle-patterned Day-Date 36 series has been added to the watches with dials decorated with precious stones and produced in luminous tones reminiscent of the atmosphere of the Mediterranean coast. The arc-shaped opening at the 12 o’clock position on the dial of these puzzle-patterned watches features key words such as “happy”, “eternity”, “gratitude”, “peace”, “faith”, “love” and “hope” in English instead of the day of the week. The window at 3 o’clock shows one of the 31 emojis for each day instead of the date.
Milgauss Might Be History!
Rolex announced at the fair that the Milgauss 116400GV, which has an important place in the history of watchmaking in terms of culture, aesthetics and engineering, and which is still a favorite of intellectual watch enthusiasts, although not many, will no longer be produced. Launched in 2007, this model is known for its green sapphire crystal and iconic lightning bolt seconds hand. The first version of the Milgauss model was designed for scientists in the 1950s and was unaffected by a magnetic field up to 1000 gauss. However, when much superior examples in magnetic field were released, only aesthetic superiority remained, but it still caused sadness among watch lovers and Milgauss will be remembered as the end of an era.