A lot of stuff happened this year. Spike Lee finally won his first Oscar and the European Union banned single use plastics; Sesame Street, Stonewall, Woodstock and the Moon Landing all turned 50; there was a record-breaking number of women elected to both the Senate and House of Representatives (and the whole impeachment situation) but maybe most important to those of you who are outspoken watch enthusiasts who clicked on this story? Baselword 2019 debuted watches for another year, making it over 100 years and counting.
There were a lot of stellar options released this year — many of which our Snob reported back on from Switzerland for Baselworld 2019 — but as one of the most recognizable and sought after timepiece brands you can find today, Rolex seems worthy of its own special year-end list. Of course we have our professional opinions, but we would be remiss if we didn’t bring in someone who knows the Rolex business inside and out and who can really let us know what really moved the needle (or should we say hands) when it comes to what Rolex released this year.
We reached out to Paul Altieri, Founder and CEO of one of the most popular Rolex resale sites, Bob’s Watches. He explained to us not only the Rolex timepieces that stood out this year, but those that will stand the stylish test of time for years to come.
5 Best New Rolex Watch Models of 2019
1. Rolex Day-Date 40 Ref. 228238
The Rolex Day-Date President in solid yellow gold is the quintessential statement piece and offers an iconic and luxurious design that is recognized all around the world. The overall aesthetic of the Day-Date collection has changed very little since its introduction in the mid 1950s; however, the larger 40mm case of the ref. 228238 makes it perfectly suited for contemporary styles and preferences.
Powered by the calibre 3255 movement, the ref. 228238 Day-Date offers the latest generation of Rolex’s chronometer-certified movements, along with a familiar design that is regarded as a true industry icon. For decades, the traditional 36mm version of the Day-Date served as the flagship Rolex watch, and the new Day-Date 40 takes the classic look and feel of the collection and updates its proportions for the modern era.
From $33,000 at BobsWatches.com
2. Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Ref. 226659
The new Yacht-Master 42 might have been the least-expected new Rolex release of 2019. Not only did it introduce a whole new size to the Yacht-Master collection, but it also marked the first time that a Rolex Yacht-Master has been rendered in solid 18k white gold.
When Rolex first introduced the Oysterflex bracelet and black ceramic bezel insert to the Yacht-Master collection with the 40mm Everose gold edition, many people loved the overall design, but could not get on-board with the warm, rose gold color profile. The new Yacht-Master 42 takes all the same core design elements, but brings the case size up to 42mm and embraces a stark black and white color profile for a fresh and different take on an already successful design.
From $27,800 at BobsWatches.com
3. Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLNR
Without a doubt, the new “Batman” GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR was the hottest new Rolex release of 2019, and possibly the hottest new watch of the year — from any manufacturer. While it is essentially just a black and blue version of the “Pepsi” ref. 126710 that was released the previous year, the new “Batman” GMT created waitlists at dealers the morning it was announced, and remains one of the most desirable watches in the world.
Secondary market prices are still well-above their original retail values; however, beyond any mention of investment potential, there is a lot to love about this watch. It pairs an incredibly useful and practical complication with one of the hottest color profiles out right now, making it a perfect everyday watch that offers a fresh take on a Rolex classic.
From $9,250 at BobsWatches.com
4. Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603
The new Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 126603 is just the two-tone version of the redesigned 43mm Sea-Dweller that was released two years prior; however, it represents an important point in the history of Rolex’s deep-sea professional dive watch. The Sea-Dweller was created to be a highly-specialized tool for professional saturation divers, and as such, it has historically only been available in stainless steel.
The new ref. 126603 marks the first time that the Sea-Dweller has been officially offered with a precious metal construction, and also represents the first time that a stainless steel and yellow gold watch from one of Rolex’s professional collections has been available with case diameter of more than 40mm. For all of the people out there that always wanted a two-tone Submariner but wished it was just a little bit larger, the new Sea-Dweller is the perfect alternative.
From $16,050 at BobsWatches.com
5. Rolex Datejust 36 Ref. 126200
The new Datejust 36 ref. 126200 is by no means the most flashy or exciting new Rolex of 2019. That said, it is a very important release that also represents excellent value for the money within Rolex’s contemporary catalog. The reference 126200 is the most basic entry-level version of the classic 36mm Datejust. Crafted entirely from stainless steel and fitted with a smooth bezel, this is about as no-frills as you can get within the Datejust family; however it also represents the point of entry into owning Rolex’s new calibre 3235 movement.
When it was first released, the calibre 3235 was fitted only to precious metal versions of the Datejust 36, so with the 2019 release of the stainless steel ref. 126200, buyers now have a way of owning Rolex’s latest and greatest movement technologies at a significant savings over comparable two-tone and solid gold models.
From $6,695 at BobsWatches.com
If Rolex isn’t what you crave, but you still want a watch to satisfy your horological cravings, check out all our watch coverage and don’t forget to ask our Watch Snob any unanswered watch questions you might have. You’re sure to find something.