Out of the blue indeed.
With the entire globe going into lockdown this year, the world of watchmaking was one of the many industries that halted most of its usual business. From trade shows to watch releases to production – it all came to a halt. Some brands did what they could and kept the releases trickling out; some brands completely stopped everything, one of those brands being the rulers themselves, Rolex. After announcing that their novelties wouldn’t come out at all in 2020 the year seemed particularly bleak, but suddenly they announced their novelties would be released on the 1st of September, and here we are. So, what have Rolex decided to give us?
This year Rolex has devoted a significant amount of attention to two particular collections of theirs, the Submariner and, somewhat surprisingly, the Oyster Perpetual – their entry-level family.
The New Submariner
While it was always heavily speculated that we would be getting a blue bezel stainless steel no date Sub, it turns out that we were actually a bit misled. Rolex has instead opted to release a new green bezel stainless steel sub and keep their blue bezel for their white gold option. These two options replace the stainless steel Hulk and white gold Smurf which have both been discontinued.
In addition to the revised Kermit and baby Smurf, Rolex has updated both of their bi-metal options with stainless steel crowns, as opposed to the gold crowns they used to have. A rather bizarre change but, its Rolex. Rolex also decided to give the Bluesy a new sunburst blue dial, while not changing their black dial option.
While the new colourways might excite some people and not others, there are other changes to the Submariner to get excited about. The Submariner has gone up to 41mm from the old 40mm and been given reshaped slimmer lugs. These lugs are more reminiscent of the older five digit references and will hopefully off-set any changes in wearability due to the larger diameter.
One final change to the Submariner collection is its new movement, the 70hr power reserve cal. 3235. Accurate to -2/+2 seconds a day, this a very welcome change from the older cal. 3135 that had remained unchanged in the Submariner collection since 1988.
The New Oyster Perpetual
The next collection to get an update was the Oyster Perpetual collection. Famous for accompanying Tenzing Norgay up Mount Everest in 1953 and spawning the Explorer collection, this is Rolex’ most accessible collection. Following in the Submariner’s footsteps, the Oyster Perpetual collection has seen the addition of a 41mm offering, with a whole slew of new colour dials. On top of the dials, the OP has also been given a new inhouse movement with 70-hour power reserve - the cal. 3230.
With seven new dial colours to choose from, Rolex has demonstrated a change of pace from their usual conservative tendencies. Offered in green, yellow, silver, black, blue, turquoise blue and coral red, this collection will no doubt be snapped up by a younger audience looking to add some colour to their collection of accessories. The 41mm is only being offered in silver or black though, unfortunately.
Other New Releases
Rolex have also graced us with some updates to two other collections of theirs. The Sky-Dweller has seen the addition of three new models in their gold options. The white and chocolate dial Everose gold models and their black dial yellow gold model are now offered on Oysterflex bracelets. Rolex have also released a new 31mm Datejust. Two of these come with fluted bezels and either a green or white dial, and the other comes with a purple dial with diamond-set Roman numerals and a diamond-set bezel.
Check out the official Rolex 2020 Novelty video here: https://youtu.be/MxuiQvjMqY0
If you’d like to get exact specifications, pricing, dimensions etc.check out www.Rolex.com - the source of all of our information and photographs.
Live photos by Hodinkee.
Very good summary, as always!