Baselworld 2019: Rolex Presents Its New Watches


So, the hype has hit its zenith in the arc of hype-ness as the one we’ve all been waiting for, Rolex, has finally announced the new lineup for the year. That’s enough of an introduction, and I’m too excited to wait any longer.

Sea-Dweller Two-Tone Yellow Gold and Oystersteel Ref. 126603

This wasn’t what I’d expected. Not at all. For those new to the brand or in need of some refreshment (the coffee machine broke), the Sea-Dweller is Rolex’s middle ground in terms of out and out sports watches. Below it sits the venerable Submariner, the watch which suits any function from diving to a movie premiere. Above the Sea-Dweller, the Deepsea, a massive chunk of stainless steel (sorry, Oystersteel) which can dive to, well, wherever James Cameron wants to dive.

Now, we have the Sea-Dweller, except it’s now in two-tone which is not particularly sporty. Technically, this is the same watch as the Red-Line Sea-Dweller we saw released in 2017, the ref 126600, so it’s still got the sports covered, just, be careful of scratching the gold.

DateJust 31 Ref. 278273

Rolex is going all out this time and re-working the ladies DateJust 31, the 31mm watch. The watches are coming in different Rolesor colour combinations. Rolesor is their term for the blending of two dissimilar metals in one watch, the rest of us call it two-tone as with the Sea-Dweller above. It’ll come in either yellow gold and Oystersteel or Everose gold and Oystersteel, depending on which model your lady prefers.

If you opt for the classic yellow gold and Oystersteel with the olive green dial you’ll be presented with Roman numerals, the numeral for 6 ( VI ) has been covered in diamonds. It’s also the same for the Everose version, but that watch comes with a domed bezel with diamonds instead of the super classic fluting. It’s an alternative look, though.

DateJust 36 Ref. 126234

Next, we have another version of the DateJust, the more unisex DateJust 36. I say unisex because I’ve seen previous versions of the DateJust in this size sit comfortably on the wrists of both men and women. For the new DateJust range, the watch features different coloured dials including black, white and blue, paired with an Oystersteel and white gold Rolesor case.

Inside the new watches is the 3235 movement, entirely designed and made in-house by Rolex. The movement has no less than 14 patents to it, with a new Chronergy escapement to both conserve more energy and improve accuracy. For all the new variants, the movement runs at between -2/+2 seconds a day, which is incredibly accurate for a mass manufactured movement. The power reserve is approximately 70 hours.

Yacht-Master 42 Ref. 226659

A few years ago Rolex reworked their Yacht-Master 42 watch with a rose gold case and black rubber strap, the first time Rolex has done a rubber strap for its watches. Now, it’s back, and in white gold. The Yacht-Master 42 takes on a monochromatic look with its black strap, bezel and dial combined with the white gold case. Because Rolex operates its own metal foundry, it has the freedom to cast the best quality of materials.

Apart from that, there isn’t a terrible amount of difference here, except there is only one size for now. And there isn’t a jewel-encrusted bezel version yet. Inside the case is the 3235 movement that we saw in the previous DateJust 36. The case is 100m water resistant, so it’s great whether it’s on the deck of the yacht or swimming beneath it.

Day-Date 36 Ref. 128238

New for the year is a slew of Day-Date watches, arguably the most prestigious in the Rolex line. There are a few different variations of colour for the dial with a gradient called ombré. The 18K yellow gold version will have a green ombré dial, the signature colours of the Rolex brand which feature in every authorised dealer and boutique for the brand. The 18k Everose gold version will have a brown ombré dial.

The distinctive new dials for the brand come set with diamonds, and on some versions, the bezel has been set with diamonds too. There’s even a full-blown gem-set version, Ref. 128345RBR which has the 36mm Everose gold case, a paveé diamond dial with jewel markers, a diamond bezel and diamonds around the centre links of the bracelet too. Perfect for your local rapper.

Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116588 TBR

Another one for your nearest musician is this version of the classic Daytona. Gone is the sleek and minimalist appearance, replaced by full 18k gold. The dial of the watch is the draw of attention here. Crafted of black lacquered 18k yellow gold, the dial is set with 243 diamonds, plus a further eight diamonds which are held in gold settings. The hands and markers are also yellow gold, too.

Replacing the functional aspect of the Daytona, the tachymeter bezel, is yet more diamonds, 36 trapeze cut diamonds to be sure, 4.58k of them to be precise. The watch is presented on an Oysterflex rubber strap, just like the Yacht-Master 42. It’s also got a solid yellow gold clasp as well. I can’t imagine this will be much less than EUR100k.

GMT Master II Ref. 126710BLNR

There had been rumours going around for ages, and admittedly I knew in January, that the venerable old 116710 BLNR GMT Master 2 was going to be phased out. That watch came on an Oyster bracelet and had the old movement in from its launch. What I wasn’t expecting was the BLNR to be replaced by itself, or rather, an updated version of itself. The new BLNR, or Batman, aptly named the 126710 BLNR, features a Jubilee bracelet as we saw on last year’s 126710BLRO, except with a much nicer bezel.

The new BLNR shares the bracelet and the new for last year 3285 calibre movement, which offers greater accuracy and a much longer power reserve than the outgoing BLNR. Joining the new Batman watch are two other GMT Master 2s, the Ref. 126719BLRO with “Pepsi” red and blue bezel and a blue dial. If that isn’t enough, you can also have that exact reference with an exotic meteorite dial. Both the cases and bracelets for those watches are made of solid 18K white gold. The dimensions and movements remain the same.

Well, that’s all folks. There’s several variants of each new watch bar the Yacht-Master 42 and the Daytona, but we’ve only listed the main differences. Check out the Rolex website to see all the options.

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