So Long: The Rolex Watches Discontinued in 2024 -

So Long: The Rolex Watches Discontinued in 2024

Rolex giveth and Rolex taketh away.

In our last post, we took a detailed look at just what the most famous watchmaker on the planet broughteth to the 2024 Watches & Wonders Geneva show, and I think it’s fair to say it covered a lot of bases.

At one end of the scale, we got a nicely toned down steel GMT-Master II with a beautifully low-key black and grey bezel. At the other, we got a massive jangly yellow gold bracelet with a watch face on it called the Deepsea—about which I will not say another word! In the middle, a stunning platinum addition to the 1908 series surfaced, alongside some highly ornate Daytonas and about eleventy billion new Day-Dates.

But the releases only make up half the annual Rolex story. Every year, the brand has to free up room for its latest creations, which means there’s usually a good chunk of the catalog that has to go bye-bye. This time around was no different, so below we take a look at the Rolex watches which are no more.

Discontinued Rolex Watches 2024

The Rolex Yacht-Master II

This is one of those rare occasions when the pre-W&W rumor mill actually got something spot on.

It is certainly unusual for Rolex to bin an entire collection of watches, particularly one with such unique engineering which must have cost a fortune to develop.

However, a combination of challenging aesthetics, a super specific niche market and a high retail price meant the Yacht-Master II was never a great seller and it appears the manufacture has chosen to cut its losses. For now, at least.

The model is, or was, one of the newest in the entire portfolio. Unveiled in 2007, its massive 44mm diameter and in-your-face styling took many off-guard. But the unorthodox looks couldn’t detract from the technical brilliance on show. The very first watch with a programmable countdown and mechanical memory, it was set up to act as a regatta timer, allowing professional yacht crews to coordinate the complex starting procedures of races.

Rolex has, of course, a long and illustrious history with the world of sailing, being the Title Sponsor or Official Timekeeper for many major annual regattas as well as partnering with two prominent racing circuits; the SailGP Championship and the 52 Super Series.

But while that connection continues as strongly as ever, the watch created specifically for that rarefied domain is no more.

Maybe we’ll see another watch with impressive but more universal complications take its place in the future.

The Rolex Daytona ‘Le Mans’ ref. 126529LN

I felt this withdrawal on a personal level because I was saving up to buy one for myself and I was only $51,410 off the asking price of $51,400 (I owe my friend $10).

The glorious white gold Daytona ‘Le Mans’ was released less than a year ago, surfacing outside of the usual release window in June 2023, surely making it one of the shortest-lived Rolex models of modern times.

It was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Le Mans 24-hour Endurance race, and was even announced as a limited edition when it was brought out so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised it is no more. Still though, it is a real bummer to see it go.

On a more positive note, it looks as if the brand has replaced it with a yellow gold model, complete with the red ‘100’ numeral on the bezel’s tachymeter scale as a nod to the centenary, although it is likely to be a strictly off-catalog piece. You will, therefore, have to be extremely well-connected to ever got your hands on one.

What discontinuing the white gold ref. 126529LN will do for its prices on the preowned market we can only guess at. That $50k watch was already trading for around $300,000+ before Watches & Wonders, so if you can still get one for less than half a mill by the end of the year, I’ll be amazed. And like I said, I owe my pal a tenner so looks like I’ll have to wait.

The Rolex Datejust Fluted and Palm Motif Dials

Another bunch of watches that have disappeared in short order, the 36mm refs. 126200, 126231 and 126233 were only released in 2021 and have now gone to the great grey market in the sky.

The Datejust has always given Rolex’s designers license to loosen up a bit, and the dials on this trio of now ex watches, with a palm frond motif and a fluted design that emulated the famous crenelated bezels, were meant to add a bit of fun to the old establishment favorite.

Sadly, as lighthearted as they were, they didn’t catch on in any sort of major way. That’s a shame because, if nothing else, the dials displayed some beautiful depth and texture, the laser-etched detailing playing with the light wonderfully, as do the fluted bezels themselves.

However, it is not as if the Datejust collection is short on variety, and we are sure to see even more topping up the range before long.

There have been a few surprises in both the additions and subtractions from Rolex this year, as there is every year, to be honest.

Those which have been withdrawn will soon become collectibles, with preowned premiums hoisted on them to a greater or lesser degree as they become gradually scarcer on the market. So, if you were thinking of treating yourself to a Yacht-Master II, a winsome Datejust or even a commemorative Daytona, I would get in sooner rather than later.

Featured Photo: BKT Archive.

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