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May 20, 2024

Rolex: novelties Watches & Wonders 2024

We are at ‘Day one’ of the most important week in the watch industry. The Watches and Wonders hosts over 50 Maisons that gather to present and share their watches and their latest technical challenges with the vast universe of enthusiasts and collectors (from all over the world).

After making headlines last year with the Day-Date 36 Puzzle with champlevé enamel, the colorful Oyster Perpetual Celebration series, and the Daytona in platinum with a sapphire crystal case back, Rolex has amply demonstrated that it is a manufacture of haute horlogerie.

Let’s find out what novelties will once again shake up the already scorching market of the most famous Swiss maison.

GMT-MASTER II REF. 126710GRNR

The GMT-Master II, a faithful historical pillar and emblem of Rolex’s “sporty” character, has been updated on several occasions with different color gradations of the ceramic cerachrom bezel. In addition to the very famous “Pepsi” combination, i.e. red and blue, and the black and blue “Batman”, we have seen the arrival of numerous iterations over the years, including a new black and grey declination presented last year with the references 126713GRNR (steel and gold) and 126718GRNR (18ct yellow gold). This year, the Cerachrom bezel disc in grey and black ceramic makes its return in the reference 126710GRNR made entirely in oyster steel. The overall design works in shades of grey with the exception of two subtle details: the “GMT-Master II” inscription and the 24-hour hand, which instead feature a deep green color.

DAY-DATE 40 & 36

Starting with the Day-Date 40, Rolex presents two new dial configurations, the first of which is the Ombré dial of the reference 228235 in Everose gold, which we already got to know at the Academy Awards 2024 in March. Constructed in 18ct Everose gold, this watch combines the slate ombré dial with the timeless knurled bezel and President bracelet. The sunburst effect creates a delicate transition between the luminosity of the centre of the dial and the dark tone of the rim, a kind of dialogue between shadow and light. Embellished with facetted loose Roman numerals and facetted 18K pink gold hour markers, this dial is part of the continuity of a design unveiled in the 1980s and then relaunched in 2019.

Rolex then presents the reference 228239 in white gold with a pearly white mother-of-pearl dial offering a splendid play of textures throughout the watch. The dial, which evokes a voluminous, snow-white effect similar to the vision of a cloud-covered sky, is accompanied by baguette-cut diamond hour markers and completed here too by the knurled bezel and President bracelet.

The Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 is also offered in two new variations. Reference 128238, in 18k yellow gold, features a white lacquered dial (the result of successively depositing six thin layers of lacquer on a brass base) complemented by faceted untied Roman numerals and hour markers that are also faceted. These smooth and brilliant hour markers were until now reserved for the Day-Date 40.

Instead in the reference 128395TBR in 18k Everose gold, the Day-Date 36 adopts a blue-green “soleil” dial. This deep, intense color, unprecedented in the day-date range and seen last year on the Sky-Dweller, is emphasized by baguette-cut diamond hour markers and a bezel set with sixty trapeze-cut diamonds. The price of the four iterations is respectively: €43,600 (Day-Date Ombré), €49,300 (Day-Date Mother-of-Pearl), €36,700 (Day-Date White Lacquer), and €83,650 (Day-Date Blue-Green Soleil)

1908 REF. 52506

The Perpetual 1908 now comes in a 950 platinum version with an ice-blue guilloché dial. The guilloché dial features a rice-grain motif, and the resulting rosette, which starts at the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, gives the watch an unusual personality. The new 1908 stands out for its great refinement and continues to surprise both by the effects of its dial and by the delicacy of its workmanship, which is expressed down to the smallest details, from the design of the dial to the delicate knurling of the bezel and the raised filet and guilloché motif that embraces the chapter ring on both sides.

The watch has a 39 mm case and a thickness of 9.5 mm and inside is the self-winding calibre 7140 with Chronergy escapement, Syloxi balance spring and 66-hour power reserve. The retail price is € 31,700.

DEEPSEA REF. 136668LB

The Rolex Deepsea has always been the inimitable watch of the deep, one of the company’s most robust and high-performance diving instruments. Like the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller, the Deepsea also receives the Midas touch.

The new Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea is thus the first Rolex watch in 18 ct yellow gold intended for deep diving. It adopts the colour blue and features an unprecedented combination of materials, where gold is combined with ceramic or RLX titanium elements. The compression ring is made of blue ceramic, a technical innovation that marks a new way of integrating this material into the watch case. The Cerachrom ring, with its circular satin finish, is part of the Ringlock system, a case architecture exclusive to the Deepsea that enables it to withstand pressure at the abysmal depth of 3,900 meters (or 12,800 feet). The helium escape valve, which preserves the integrity of the watch during decompression, and the case back are made of titanium. Rolex also succeeds in the feat of homogenize the color of the dial (marked “DEEPSEA” in powder yellow), the bezel disc and the compression ring, illuminated by the 18 ct yellow gold of the case and the Oyster bracelet. Unchanged are the 44mm case dimensions and the in-house self-winding calibre 3235 with 70h power reserve. The retail price is € 54,600

COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA REF. 126589RBR & 126579RBR

New Daytona models always leave their mark, whether it is something as innovative as the Daytona in platinum with a visible case back from 2023 or the incredible “Rainbow” models from previous years. Rolex presents two new declinations of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona that combine a contrasting black and white natural mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond-set bezel.

Reference 126589RBR offers a modern reinterpretation of the “Paul Newman ” dial (also known as the “panda” dial) with black mother-of-pearl chronograph subdials and a white mother-of-pearl dial. Viceversa for reference 126579RBR with a “reverse panda” dial, white mother-of-pearl chronograph sub-dials and a black mother-of-pearl dial.

The first iteration is offered with an Oysterflex bracelet, while the last is fitted with a white gold bracelet. Both watches share and display the prominent bezel set with 36 round brilliant diamonds. The retail price is € 64,350 for the reference 126589RBR (Oysterflex) and € 73,450 for the reference 126579RBR (Oyster)

SKY-DWELLER REF. 336935 & 336938

Also new are the Sky-Dweller models now presented in two variants: Everose gold and 18ct yellow gold. Also adopted on these models is the iconic Jubilee bracelet, which features ceramic inserts within its links for greater durability and flexibility. The dials are slate in the 18ct Everose gold version and intense white for the 18ct yellow gold version respectively.

The remaining aspects remain unchanged: 42mm oyster case, knurled bezel and Ring Command system, dual time zone and Saros annual calendar, and the faithful manufacture calibre 9002 with 72h power reserve. The retail price is € 54,300

DISCONTINUED & OFF-CATALOGUE

Watches and Wonders historically marks the moment when certain references officially leave the catalogue. Rolex’s ‘discontinued’ models include:

  • Yacht Master II Ref. 116688 in steel
  • Datejust 126334 in steel
  • Daytona “Le Mans” 126529LN in white gold

The discontinuation of the Daytona “Le Mans” 126529LN in white gold was followed by the introduction in the “off-catalogue” of the same watch in a yellow gold version reminiscent of the iconic “John Player Special Cherry”.

No further watches not in the catalogue are currently announced.

By Luca Barone