What’s in a name? When that name is ‘Rolex’, then some bloody good watches, that’s what. That, and a couple of surprises. Because, when the watchmaker postponed any new launches “indefinitely” back in March, we didn’t think we’d see any new timepieces before the New Year.
As it happens, Christmas came early. And the Swiss brand’s surprises don’t end there. Revealed quietly yesterday, this fresh, unexpected cohort of new Rolex watches has many tricks up its sleeve. There’s a slick new take on an iconic diver. There’s an elegant spin on a durable classic. There’s even a rubber strap on a watch for frequent flyers. We’ve chosen three favourites from the fold — and taken a closer look at what makes them tick…
A new, no-date Submariner has surfaced
Let’s kick off with the big news. The most famous of Rolex’s watches — and, in our opinion, one of the 10 most iconic men’s watches of all time — the Submariner has once again risen to the surface with a couple of choice tweaks and redesigns. It’s the first revamp of the model since 2012, when the Swiss brand introduced the ref. 114060, bold maxi-style case and a ceramic Cerachrome bezel insert. This update may be more pared back, but it’s immeasurably more exciting.
There are two new timepieces bearing the Submariner name; the new-generation Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date. Both are presented with a redesigned, slightly larger 41mm case — but it’s what’s inside that has us excited. The Date runs the calibre 3235, but the No-Date, equipped with Rolex’s meticulously in-house made calibre 3230 movement, is an absolute treat.
Thanks to the ‘Chronergy’ escapement, you’ve got a 70 hour power reserve — and a more accurate, efficient watch overall. And, true to its aesthetic heritage, the new Submariner in Oystersteel has a black dial and rotatable bezel with matching Cerachrom insert — not to mention that iconic, clean and unambiguous dial language of luminescent rectangles, triangles and circles. And, like all Rolex watches, the new Submariner derivations are tested against the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015 — one of the most demanding series of tests in watchmaking.
The new Oyster Perpetual 41 sees elegance meet endurance
The revised Oyster Perpetual range from Rolex is a mixed bag. The Oyster Perpetual 36 range has been reimagined in a rainbow of different colours, with dials varying vividly from tangerine and powder room pink to bold red and cyan. It’s an unexpected — if eye-catching — move, but not one we’ll be buckling onto our wrists in a hurry. At the other end of the Oyster Perpetual spectrum, however, you’ll find the family’s new model; the Oyster Perpetual 41. And this is our kind of watch.
Almost painfully elegant, there’s a trace of Art Deco allure around our favourite version of the Perpetual 41, pictured here. With a silver, sunray-finish dial — graced with hands and hour markers in 18ct yellow gold — there’s no wonder it’s got a hint of vintage about it. After all, this is a direct descendant of the original Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, on which Rolex has built its reputation since 1926.
However, equipped with the same calibre 3230 as the new no-date Submariner above, it’s wholly more reliable. Guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres, it has a corrosion-resistant middle case crafted from Oystersteel — and the ‘Twinlock’ winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. Style, meet strength.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller has reached new heights
Rolex enthusiasts were sceptical when the Oysterflex bracelet made its debut in 2015. But, after being swiftly won over by its pairing with the then-new Everose gold Yacht-Master model, the innovation has become a modern icon of the Swiss brand. So why has it taken so long for it to reach the heady heights of the Sky-Dweller?
Of course, it makes more practical sense for the Oysterflex bracelet to be paired with the nautical Yacht-Master, but doesn’t it just look right next to the bold, athletic black and large Ring Command system of the Sky-Dweller’s dial? What’s more, the Oysterflex combines the robustness and reliability of a metal bracelet with the flexibility, comfort and aesthetics of a rubber strap. It takes the Sky-Dweller from useful timepiece to perfectly practical watch.
But enough about the strap (it’s also got an Oysterclasp and Rolex Glidelock extension system, if you were wondering). Thanks to a two-time-zone display and annual calendar, the Sky-Dweller has always been a favourite of frequent flyers, but this upgrade — with sunray-finish dial, hands of 18ct yellow gold and the pioneering calibre 9001 movement — has elevated it yet again.
Want more from the storied Swiss brand? Here’s how to find the perfect Rolex to match your lifestyle…
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