Seven New Offerings
The annual watch lover’s candy land known as Baselworld acts as a seven-day springboard for the world’s premier brands to showcase their newest creations before they are turned loose on a salivating public. For 2017, the new Rolex watches from Baselworld dominated proceedings with their largest ever display, measuring over 13,000 square feet and spread across three stories.
The run up to every Baselworld event sets the rumor mill into overdrive with enthusiasts trying to second guess just what might emerge from the ultra-secretive Rolex headquarters. This year, we’re treated to new Rolex watches from Baselworld with seven new offerings from the Geneva-based giant. Below, we’ll give you the low-down on each one.
The Sea Dweller ref. 126600
As 2017 marked the Sea Dweller’s 50th anniversary, the release of an all-new version was very much expected. However, the unveiling of the ref. 126600 caught many by surprise and proved somewhat controversial.
At 43mm, it has grown significantly from its previous 40mm size. Now, it is only slightly smaller than the behemoth-like Deepsea. But, to the dismay of many purists, the new model appeared with the edition of a Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock. Now, the Sea Dweller has always had a date function. However, it has also always had a faithful following who specifically preferred the symmetry of the dial without the Cyclops. Of the brand’s range of dive watches, the Deepsea is now the only one left without magnification.
Perhaps, to appease the traditionalists, Rolex has included subtle elements that hark back to the designs of yesteryear. Most notably the name Sea Dweller picked out in red as a homage to the classic ‘double red’ models of the late sixties.
Inside, everything comes back up to date with the new Cal. 3235. This is the first movement to be named a Rolex Superlative Chronometer. It certifies that the caliber has a timekeeping accuracy of just -2/+2 seconds per day. This is twice as stringent as the industry standard. Take a closer look at a next generation movement, Rolex Caliber 3235.
The Cosmograph Daytona
The revamped stainless steel versions of the Daytona were the undoubted stars of the 2016 show. This year they added three precious metal variants—in yellow, white and Everose gold. Rolex’s most successful watch ever, the new range continues with the popular Cerachrom bezel. For the first time, Rolex offers them with the Oysterflex bracelet that made its debut on the Yacht-Master.
The elastomer strap with its nickel titanium core is supple enough to mould to the natural shape of your wrist while preserving all the strength of a metal bracelet. It also retains the rock solid Oysterlock clasp to prevent from accidental opening.
Sitting inside is the Cal. 4130, which, incredibly for a company like Rolex, is their first all in-house chronograph. Now considered one of the sturdiest and most accurate movements ever made, it has powered the Daytona series since 2000.
The new gold range with their black ceramic surrounds and the sportily informal Oysterflex bracelet project a cool, laidback attitude. Currently, the watch world’s most sought after timepiece. The only thing more impressive than a Daytona is the length of its waiting list.
The Datejust 41
The watch that is perhaps the most quintessentially Rolex, the basics of the Datejust’s discreet, understated design have barely changed over its more than 70-year history.
The new 41mm size collection was introduced last year with two precious metal versions, yellow gold and Everose and steel. As a result, 2017 Rolex answered many fans’ pleas. They launched an all stainless steel variant. This more affordable example of one of the all-time classic Rolex watches also benefits from the next generation caliber 3235 that drives the Sea-Dweller, along with a leaner case, slimmed down hour markers and a bezel in white gold.
The Datejust series has always been the most varied in the Rolex lineup. Rolex offers its line with a bewildering range of different configurations of dial colors, bracelets and indexes. Also, they offer them with either a flat or fluted bezel.
Widening the collection even further, an 18k white gold and steel model was launched alongside the 904L steel version.
The Sky Dweller
Rolex launched its most recent creation, the Sky Dweller, in 2012. It stands as one of the most complicated and expensive watches in the lineup.
Previously only made in all gold—yellow, white or Everose—2017 saw the release of the first examples of the series in two-tone Rolesor. There’s a pair of new Sky Dweller models to choose from, in yellow gold and steel, and white gold and steel.
Along with the new metals used in its construction, which give the Sky Dweller a (relatively) more accessible price point, it has also been given a subtle facelift for this year.
The information-heavy dial gets baton indexes rather than the previous Arabic or Roman numerals. In addition, they lengthened the center hands to improve legibility. This provides a more balanced overall look.
The ingenious Ring Command Bezel stays, as does the incredible caliber 9001, making the dual time zone Sky-Dweller the ultimate watch for serious global travellers.
The Lady Datejust 28
Following the trend for women wearing larger watches, the 2017 Lady Datejust ups its case size to 28mm from the previous 26mm.
The classically feminine edition of Rolex’s emblematic Datejust follows in the footsteps of the men’s watch and now comes in a stainless steel version as well as a new Rolesor model, combining steel and white gold.
This series is also available with a similarly exhaustive range of dial options as the men’s version. And, they upgraded its movement, the next generation Cal. 2236 with Rolex’s patented Syloxi hairspring. This is the first time the brand has used silicon for the component. It increases the power reserve to more than 55 hours.
The Lady Datejust range has been an elegant symbol of prestige since it appeared in the late fifties and the 2017 model continues its heritage, in a size perfectly suited for smaller wrists.
The Cellini Moonphase ref. 50535
The Cellini series, Rolex’s line of exquisite dress watches, has always remained a little overshadowed by the all-conquering sports models. This year however, the return of a Moonphase complication has been causing an excited buzz among collectors who have been waiting for it to make a comeback since the 1950s.
The Cellini Moonphase is about as retro as Rolex gets. Its slim, minimalist design and modest 39mm dimensions are long-standing traditions of the brand. But, far from being old fashioned, the lunar phase module that sits in the 6 o’clock position will stay accurate for 122 years, thanks to a newly-improved caliber 3195. The blue enamel disk uses a piece of genuine meteorite to represent the moon. A small gold arrow at the top makes its position easily legible.
Crafted from 18k Everose gold, it also has a date feature, which you can read on the outer numerals of the simple white lacquer dial.
One of the new Rolex watches from Baselworld, the release of the Cellini Moonphase, was met with very little fanfare. However, its combination of sophisticated styling and much-missed functionality saw it become the star of the show.
The Yacht Master II
One of Rolex’s most technically impressive and opinion splitting models, the Yacht Master II, arrived at Baselworld 2017 sporting a few subtle dial tweaks and a simplified and improved caliber, the 4161.
The definitive seafarer’s watch, the complex movement allows for pinpoint timing accuracy during regattas, with on-the-fly synchronization and a programmable countdown with mechanical memory.
A combination of pushers and a Ring Command Bezel similar to that found on the Sky Dweller control the host of functions on the Yacht Master II. This is an incredibly impressive engineering feat from a watchmaker that rarely produces complications.
New shape hour markers replace the previously square indices at 12 and 6 o’clock—a rectangle and triangle respectively. Additionally, they superseded the original thin baton hour hand by the more traditional Mercedes style, with a luminescent disc for improved clarity.
Rolex released the newest Yacht Master II in four models—yellow gold, stainless steel, steel and Everose, and white gold and platinum.
Now in its 100th year, Baselworld has become the most important destination for both the makers and lovers of fine timepieces. And, as always, the release of these new Rolex watches from Baselworld delighted their fans and continued the brand’s heritage as the most important luxury watchmaker in the world.