Rolex’s bi-colored ceramic bezeled GMT and the platinum Daytona unveiled at Baselworld a few weeks ago pretty much stole the headlines for anything Rolex. Rolex fans anticipated a Daytona update because of the watch’s 50th anniversary and storied pedigree. For the last few years, GMT fans were waiting for a potential two-tone ceramic bezel since Rolex filed for a patent for this technology a few years ago. What Rolex watchers did not anticipate was an update to two other classic Rolex watches –the Yachtmaster II 116680 and the Day-Date 118138.
The other big rollout is the introduction of the Rolex Yachtmaster II in all stainless steel. The original Yachtmaster II was initially announced at Baselworld 2007 and was only available in yellow or white gold. Since then Rolex released a two-tone version of the watch, and last year, updated the original Yachtmaster. Releasing the Yachtmaster II in all stainless steel surprised many. The Yachtmaster II 4161 caliber is one of Rolex most complicated with over 360 individual components and is in the same category for mechanical complexity as Rolex’s SkyDweller perpetual calendar wristwatch. The Yachtmaster II command ring bezel used in conjunction with a side pusher controls the programmable 10 second countdown timer.
Like the other Baselworld Rolexes, the watch is updated with Chromolight luminescence and uses polished center solid link bracelet. Like the other Yachtmaster II’s, this watch utilizes a ceramic bezel that is both visible and impervious to fading from sunlight.
Rolex also updated its Day-Date lineup with new case and strap combinations. Released in 36mm in either 18ct white or yellow gold, or in Everose gold. Everose is Rolex’s gold formulation that utilizes copper with a touch of platinum to prevent the gold from fading when it hits chlorine. The Day-Date’s distinguish themselves within the line by the color of the watch face and matching alligator strap. The Baselworld Day-Dates are now available in cognac, cherry, chocolate, green and blue. Like their modern predecessors, the Day-Date utilizes the same Crownclasp in 18ct gold, waterproof to 100m (although alligator straps are not very water resistant), 3155 movement, and a sunray dial finish. Like the original released at Baselworld in 1956, the Day-Date is the only watch in the industry whereby the day and date progress simultaneously precisely at midnight. Unlike the other Day-Dates in the lineup, these new releases are only available in the traditional 36mm and not in the larger 41mm. Many speculate that this size omission demonstrates that these new versions are for the Asian market.
Either way, it is obvious that Rolex watches continue to evolve for various tastes and price points.