The start of the new year is always an exciting time, and for the watchmaking industry that certainly rings true too. With some brands launching their novelties early in the new year, like Audemars Pigeut and others, it is an exciting time indeed. However, for other brands, their novelties have to wait until trade show season at the end of March, which is when Watches and Wonders will be on this year, and so for the vast majority of brands, we have to wait to see what the future holds. However, that won’t stop us from looking at what has come before and trying to figure out and predict what is yet to come in the future, and as we make our way through February, the excitement is beginning to build for one brand’s novelties, in particular, Rolex. So, without further ado, let’s explore some of the things we hope to see from the Genevan Giants in 2023, which is coincidently a significant year for the watchmaker.
A New Daytona
First and foremost is perhaps the most highly-anticipated novelty from Rolex this year, an entirely new Daytona. First launched in 1963, it is the Daytona’s 60th anniversary, so it is naturally in for something. Combining this with the fact that the Daytona’s cal. 4130 movement has been in service since 2000, and the Daytona has only seen minor updates since the current generation was launched in 2000, such as the ceramic bezel in 2016; the Daytona is the one watch everyone feels is definitely to be updated. While the new movement, the cal. 4230 looks very likely; the aesthetic updates are much less concrete. Will we see new dial variants added to the steel models, or just to the precious metal versions? Will we see ceramic bezels on the two-tone variants? Only time will tell.
A New Submariner
Another model celebrating an anniversary this year is the iconic Submariner, with it being launched in 1953, a mere 70 years ago. While a new movement is unlikely, as the Submariner was overhauled in 2020, a new green dial variant is to be expected, particularly given the discontinuation of the Hulk in 2020. This green dial will likely be added to a precious metal variant, perhaps a yellow gold green dial variant.
An Expansion of Titanium
One of the most talked about watches within the sphere of Rolex in the last few years has been Ben Ainslie’s prototype no-date Yacht-Master, made in titanium. It has been rumoured that Rolex would launch a titanium Yacht-Master for years now, and with the latest titanium Deepsea Challenge that they launched at the end of 2022, it looks like Rolex are finally ready to embrace a new metal.
However, our prediction is not that Rolex will launch a titanium Yacht-Master, but a titanium Sea-Dweller. In time they will probably make their way down the dive watch list and offer the titanium Yacht-Master after the Sea-Dweller. Adding additional fuel to this fire, Rolex launched a teaser video on their Instagram page a few days ago showing a metallurgist working in a forge with a cut to what is a blurry Sea-Dweller in water, so this theory is looking likely as they definitely hinting at something for the Sea-Dweller.
Discontinue the Milgauss for Good
Somewhat unsurprisingly, 2022 saw the discontinuation of the Milgauss ref. 116400 – a long-expected move given the Milgauss’ relatively long production period, old-generation movement, and generally dated aesthetic. However, the Z-Blue variant, the ref. 116400GV still remains, and with the Milgauss’ anniversary not being until 2026, it seems likely that Rolex will discontinue the Z-Bllue ref. 116400GV this year and reintroduce the Milgauss in 2026 after what will have been a three-year hiatus. However, with how Rolex operates, they very well might keep it around for old-time’s sake and just redesign it then; we can never be certain.
The Re-emergence of the Coke
Finally, a bit of a wildcard prediction is the reintroduction of the GMT-Master II with the fan-favourite red and black ‘Coke’ bezel. Launched in 1983 as the Fat-Lady, the ‘Coke’ bezel was part of Rolex’s redesign of the GMT-Master and its introduction as the GMT-Master II. Now, 50 years later, the ‘Coke’ variant will hopefully be introduced again. However, it might be at the cost of another GMT-Master II variant, perhaps the Batman’s blue and black, which was first introduced in 2013 – meaning it will have had ten years of service under its belt.