The highly anticipated Watches and Wonders 2023 event has officially commenced, with numerous brands presenting their latest timepieces to the public for the first time. Rolex, the iconic Swiss watchmaker, is undoubtedly stealing the spotlight with its new releases as per usual, so let's take a closer look at what Rolex has in store for us this year.
Introducing the Titanium Yacht-Master
For several years, the watch community has been buzzing about Ben Ainslie's prototype no-date Yacht-Master, crafted from titanium. With the recent launch of the 50mm titanium Deepsea Challenge in late 2022, expectations for a titanium Yacht-Master reached new heights. Rolex has finally fulfilled these expectations by unveiling the titanium Yacht-Master 42 ref. 226627, complete with a titanium bracelet and powered by the automatic cal. 3235 movement.
The Tiffany Oyster Perpetual is Back
Rolex's decision to discontinue both the Tiffany, or ‘turquoise blue’ as it’s really known, and Coral red Oyster Perpetual 41mm models was met with much controversy in 2022. Now, the brand has reintroduced the Tiffany blue dial for the 41mm OP, but with a twist—the all-new "Celebration motif," also available on the 36mm and 31mm OP. The motif displays circles of various sizes in the bottom half of the dial in green, coral red, candy pink, and yellow that are set against a Tiffany blue backdrop. An unusually fun watch for Rolex, this one is sure to be a hit.
Yellow Gold Makes its Comeback in the GMT-Master II
While many speculated about a GMT-Master II Coke release, Rolex instead unveiled two new yellow gold GMT-Master II models. They introduced a two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel version with a black dial and bezel, as well as a full 18kt yellow gold GMT-Master II with the same all-black design, both exclusively on jubilee bracelets these are absolutely stunning.
The Explorer Line Expands
While Rolex faced both criticism and praise for discontinuing the 39mm Explorer and replacing it with a vintage-inspired 36mm version, they have now introduced a new 40mm Explorer, the ref. 224270 that modernises the Explorer nicely. Featuring the classic black dial, flat polished bezel, and iconic Oyster bracelet, it is the same Explorer we all know and love but fit for the larger wristed among us.
The New Perpetual 1908 Collection
Rolex's new Perpetual 1908 collection marks a departure from the brand's typical design philosophy. This dress watch collection takes inspiration from Rolex's history and previous achievements and aesthetics. Currently available as the ref. 52508 small seconds variant, the collection may be used to showcase future innovations. The Perpetual 1908 is available in 18kt yellow or white gold 39mm cases with black or silver dials complete with 3-6-9 applied Arabic numerals, and a unique 'divided' bezel with both a domed and fluted section. A sapphire crystal caseback is also used to reveal its new automatic cal. 7140 movement, complete with Rolex Côtes de Genève decoration and an openwork gold oscillating weight with three arms.
New Sky-Dweller Variants
The Sky-Dweller, one of Rolex's most complex timepieces, has received numerous updates. New variants include a stainless steel model with a green dial, an 18kt rose gold version with a blue-green dial, and more. The most significant update, however, is the new cal. 9002 movement, featuring Rolex's latest technical innovations, such as the Chronergy escapement, Paraflex shock absorbers, and a redesigned oscillating weight for improved winding efficiency.
Stone Dials for the Day-Date
In another bid to re-ignite the flames of their past, Rolex has reintroduced a slew of new stone dials to the Day-Date collection. Launching three new 36mm models with green aventurine, carnelian, and turquoise dials in rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold cases, respectively, they have embraced the luxurious side of the Day-Date and ensured that their flagship collection has the jewels to match its heritage and legacy.
The Daytona Gets a Long-Awaited Update
The much-anticipated 60th-anniversary update for the Daytona has finally arrived. The refreshed model includes a more refined case, a metal band that matches the construction material along the periphery of the ceramic bezel, a new dial design with enhanced graphic balance and color combinations, and the all-new automatic cal. 4131 movement. This new movement features the same technical innovations as the cal. 9002 in the Sky-Dweller, including Rolex's Chronergy escapement, Paraflex shock absorbers, and a redesigned oscillating weight for improved winding efficiency. While its power reserve remains 72-hours long, this movement firmly brings the Daytona into the contemporary era of watchmaking with its impressive technical specs and modern architecture.
Rolex has also, rather surprisingly, decided to continue production of the platinum Daytona, or 'Platona,' but with a twist. Indeed, this new reference, ref. 126506, boasts an exhibition caseback for the first time in the Daytona's history, that provides a view of its new movement. This significant change demonstrates Rolex's willingness to depart from their traditional tool-watch-only approach and embrace contemporary luxury watchmaking. With the Perpetual 1908 and Platona both featuring exhibition casebacks we can sure that more are yet to come from the Genevan Giants over the next few years.
While it is difficult to identify discontinuations based on the website alone since you’d have to scour it to see what’s missing, it appears that the Milgauss collection has been discontinued, along with the Cellini collection and several Daytona variants due to the update. Most notably, the John Mayer ref. 116508, among plenty of others, has been retired.
For more information visit www.Rolex.com to explore their 2023 novelties.