New Rolex releases are like Christmas. You know it’s coming each and every year. You can hazard a guess as to what you’ll get: overly musky cologne from mum, or, in Rolex’s case, the slightest change to a Date-Just. One is clearly preferable over the other. But when Covid-19 came to ruin good clean fun, the Rolex announcement, like everything else, was inevitable: the marque would be placing new releases on ice for 2020.
Or at least that’s what we were told back in April. And it was a false alarm. For just yesterday, Rolex wheeled out not one, not two, not three, but four new bits – and they’re a lot less incremental than one would expect.
The highlight, unarguably, is the enlarged No-Date Submariner. Clocking in at a sizeable 41mm diameter, it’s what’s on the inside that signals a big departure for what is one of the best watches in the world: a new and improved movement. The caliber 3230 (an engine that, like all Rolex watches, is produced entirely in-house) provides enough juice for over 70 hours thanks to a a ‘Chronergy’ escapement. That’s a component patented by the marque to abets a more efficient, more accurate watch. So accurate it is that the Submariner enjoys Superlative Chronometer certification, a stamp of approval set by Rolex’s own stringent, exacting standards. If it’s not better than good, the manufacture simply won’t release it. Superlative, you see.
The classic Submariner the Datejust 31 have also been bolstered elsewhere in new iterations. Much of these are colour-led – black and blue on yellow gold, or the standout ‘Kermit’ Oysterseel with its ceramic bezel – and this Submariner, like the No-Date, measures in with a 41mm diameter.
Colour was the order of the day on the Oyster Perpetual 36 too. Now, Rolex has painted the relatively sparing dial in shades of tangerine, powder room pink, red, dark green and cyan. For a watch as classic (and as popular) as this, it’s a relatively left-field move. Watches aren’t perhaps so conservative after all in 2020.
And finally, to the Sky-Dweller. Rolex’s leading aviation piece has always sat on the ritzier side of pilot watches, lifting on-dial functionality with nice things like gold bezels and rose gold bezels and Everose gold bezels. All that is still very much apparent. But the Sky-Dweller is now equipped with a rubber Oysterflex bracelet that allows for easy resizing in testing environments. Not that you’d ever take it on a skydive, but the option is there.
Release dates are still yet to be confirmed, but with a slew of new watch releases trickling out over 2020 and further details available at rolex.com, it seems Christmas Day has indeed come early. Four of them, actually.