A few months ago, no one would have bet a single dollar on seeing watch launches through the pandemic, especially from a conservative company like Rolex.
And we are referring to one of the last press issues from the House of the Crown, about the closure of all the plants due to the pandemic risk.
Then came months of absolute silence.
There was no preview and no hint about what the future plans were. And everything looked rather bleak. Everybody knew that the new models were there, but no-one was sure about when they would appear. With the Baselworld exhibit’s cancellation, everything looked like it was stalled in a sort of limbo.
Then, a ray of light pierced the ominous clouds of despair to enlighten the Rolex fans. An authoritative article by Robb Report published on July 9th, hinting that Rolex’s novelties would be launched on September 1st. These breaking news were quickly confirmed by a teaser ad posted on the official Instagram profile of the Swiss manufacturer.
And so it was.
A couple of minutes after midnight of September 1st, the Rolex online pressroom area filled itself with the long-awaited press releases detailing the new models.
We can ask ourselves why the company has decided to present its new lineup in such an uncommon timeframe. But we all know that despite COVID, the best part of the year for sales is coming. It was crucial to move at the soonest to save the financial results of a year that has been universally defined as “horrible.”
More, Rolex had publicly announced that it would not participate in BaselWorld 2021. These watches had to go and had to go fast.
Primarily because in 2020, the whole Rolex price list has already been retouched upwards of 7.4% on average.
Examining the novelties, as expected, Rolex did nothing really revolutionary. It is not its house style. Rolex has a tradition of constant, small changes that subtly modify its models’ looks in time to keep them attractive to its broad public. The continuous attention to the evolution of the customers’ tastes is a constant of the company and has driven its strategies through time, and has been the key to its current market dominance as a brand.
THE NEW 2020 SUBMARINER RANGE
This attention to its fan-base must be the main reason why the new Submariner — for sure one of the most evident novelties — has crossed the “sacred” line of the 40 mm, adding one mm to the case.
If this came from another manufacturer, it would have been met with an “Oh, really?”. But this is Rolex.
With the added size, the lugs have been redesigned to make them smaller and a bit more curved, in order to improve wearability and adherence to the wrist. The bracelet instead features a new design that makes the central row broader, rendering the watch visually more imposing.
The caliber mounted in the 2020 Submariner is innovative as well and was a bit off-the-radar of the Rolex analysts.
The old caliber 3135 is gone, replaced by two different movements. The no-date version is equipped with the new 3230, featuring a power reserve of 70 hours and better efficiency through the proprietary Chronergy escapement. The Submariner Date is instead fitted with the 3235 caliber, a design from 2015 already mounted in the Datejust and Sea-Dweller.
In total, Rolex has presented eight different Submariner models, seven with the date indication and one without it. An unexpected but welcome return is represented by the Kermit (black dial, green Cerachrom bezel), unofficially renamed “Cermit” because of the ceramic bezel.
Rolex Submariner 2020 references:
•124060 (no date display, black Cerachrom bezel, Oystersteel steel)
•126610LV “Kermit” (date display, green Cerachrom bezel, Oystersteel steel)
•126613LB (date display, blue Cerachrom bezel, steel, and Rolesor)
•126618LN (date display, black Cerachrom bezel, yellow gold)
•126619LB (date display, blue Cerachrom bezel, white gold).
THE NEW OYSTER PERPETUAL RANGE: SIZE AND COLORS
Once more, size matters.
The oldest, and possibly most iconic entry-point model into the Rolex world is enhanced with a 41 mm version in Oystersteel, in two different variations, that takes the place of the old 39 mm reference.
The first combines a traditional silver dial in a sunray finish enriched by applied hour markers and yellow gold hands. The other features a shiny black dial in sunray finish decorated with white gold hour-markers and hands.
Both models mount the new caliber 3230 and offer a heightened wrist presence, coming out as more muscular and authoritative timepieces.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 reference:
•124300 (no date display, Oystersteel steel)
In a somewhat unexpected move, the 36 mm range has not been immune to Rolex creative efforts.
In this case, though, the intervention regarded putting a splash of color on the dials — in a deliciously innovative way.
The lineup has been enriched by adding five vibrant dial tones that you cannot afford to ignore: candy pink, yellow, green, coral red, and turquoise.
Most possibly, Rolex wanted to broadcast a less somber, utilitarian image on the unisex world of customers who could be interested in this unusual version of its traditional watch. We can testify that these vibrant colors have caught us by surprise as well.
These five new models also mount the new 3230 caliber that powers the Submariner no-date.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 reference:
•126000 (no date display, Oystersteel steel)
THE NEW DATEJUST RANGE: A TOUCH OF LUXURY
The Datejust 31 lineup — so-called “Lady Datejust” — has been enriched with four new high-end versions, featuring white Rolesor (combining Oystersteel and 18 ct white gold) that bring the quintessential Rolex watch into the lofty realm of the jewelry-timepieces.
These watches also offer a more sizable wrist presence than the models in 28 mm, making them feel less like jewelry-pieces and more like luxury watches. This is a welcome, enticing feature for the more active ladies who love to wear their timepieces 24/7 without forfeiting their more feminine side.
The first of these versions is the most precious, featuring a bezel adorned with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds, which exalt the deep aubergine, sunray-finish of the dial, which is embellished with a set of Roman numerals in white gold (with the VI marker diamond-set as well).
The mint-green version displays a great-looking green dial (more of a sage than a mint color, actually) adorned by baton-like white gold indices. The luxury comes from the combination of the fluted bezel with the Jubilee bracelet, which makes it elegantly understated with a touch of glam.
The white lacquer version is a less formal version than the mint green one. It displays a white dial with white gold Roman numerals and the white gold fluted bezel. Still, it mounts a traditional, sporty three-link Oyster bracelet instead of the Jubilee. The resulting combination makes for a versatile watch that can be worn everywhere, also as a dress watch.
The last is the sunray dark grey dial version. It is an elegant, understated timepiece that sits nicely at the wrist of those who want to impress others with their intrinsic class. It too mounts the white gold fluted bezel and the five-link Jubilee bracelet.
These timepieces are powered by the 2236 automatic caliber, first released in 2014, featuring a proprietary silicon-based hairspring that is said to exceed the performance of the Parachrom hairsprings traditionally used by the House of the Crown.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31 references:
•278384 RBR (Aubergine dial, diamond-studded bezel, Oyster bracelet)
•278274 (Mint Green dial, fluted bezel, Jubilee bracelet)
•278274 (White dial, fluted bezel, Oyster bracelet)
•278274 (Grey dial, fluted bezel, Jubilee bracelet)
THE NEW SKY-DWELLER: MASCULINE AND ASSERTIVE
IF YOU LIKE BIGGER, EVIDENTLY-LUXURIOUS WATCHES THAT SEEM TO COME FROM A BATMAN-INSPIRED ALTERNATE REALITY, AND YOU WANT IT TO BE A BIT LESS FORMAL THAN BEFORE, THIS NEW VERSION OF THE SKY-DWELLER IS RIGHT FOR YOU.
While the watch collection remains more or less similar, with options such as 18k gold and Everose gold, the timepieces are available with a much sportier Oysterflex bracelet featuring a glide lock to let you adjust the sizing of the watch correctly and efficiently.
The Oysterflex, dating back to 2015, is not just a rubber strap: it is a well-thought bracelet that combines the advantages of an elastomer wristband with a metal core to give you a supple, flexible, comfortable bracelet offering the proverbial Rolex resistance.
The Skydweller watch in itself does not change, except for its three different combinations of dial color and materials: the black dial version comes with a yellow gold case. In contrast, the chocolate and white dial versions offer an Everose case. The timepiece retains the same in-house caliber 9001 as before, featuring a blue Parachrom hairspring and 72 hours of power reserve.
We are pretty sure that the Dark Knight himself would approve the black dial version on a yellow gold case. After all, the watch price is fitting for any mysterious multi-millionaire.
Rolex Sky-Dweller references:
•326238 (Black dial, yellow gold, Oysterflex bracelet)
•326235 (Chocolate dial, Everose gold, Oysterflex bracelet)
•326235 (White dial, Everose gold, Oysterflex bracelet)