At the now-defunct Baselworld fair, Rolex fans used to run—more like sprint—to the uniquely cadmium-green-and-white Rolex booth as soon as the doors opened. With the novelties presentation now online as a part of the Watches and Wonders platform, the thought was, might the website crash?
Herewith, the Rolex novelties for 2021:
Oyster Perpetual Explorer
Rolex has a long-standing relationship with exploration. The Oyster Perpetual Explorer was originally developed following Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mount Everest and has been worn by many explorers since. Like the 1953 model, the new generation has a 36mm case, but it has been released in a yellow Rolesor duotone version that combines 18-karat yellow gold and Oystersteel—a first-ever Explorer two-tone—and a second model in stainless steel. The white or black-lacquer dial bears index hour markers and emblematic 3, 6, and 9 numerals. The Chromalight display is visible in the darkest conditions (for those predawn climbing hours), and the watch is powered by the automatic calibre 3230 that has a 70-hour power reserve.
There was speculation a new Explorer II model would be released to mark the watch’s 50th anniversary, and right on cue, Rolex unveiled a new update. The new Rolex Explorer II has changed, but very little. Keeping the 42mm case, the watch has the same brushed stainless steel bezel with 24-hour graduations and the classic orange on the 24-hour hand. What’s new for this watch is under the surface—it is equipped with the upgraded calibre 3285 movement. Rolex is committed to traditional watchmaking, and this new generation Explorer II is proof that Rolex will not compromise performance for hype. Why change a winning formula?
Daytona fans, rejoice. Rolex has released three new versions of the coveted watch: 18-karat white gold, 18-karat yellow gold, and 18-karat Everose gold with meteorite dials and black chronograph counters at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The white gold model features a monobloc Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic with an Oysterflex bracelet (the best-looking one, I think). Each is equipped with the calibre 4130 and a Superlative Chronometer. Daytonas have reached stratospheric prices on the secondary market, so it seems only fitting the latest trio of models are dressed in material from outer space.
This Rolex classic gets an update with new dials for the Datejust 36 featuring “palm” and “fluted” motifs. The palms is a stylized take on calming fronds while the fluted motif showcases the pattern found on a range of Rolex bezels that has become one of the brand’s signature aesthetics.
Lady Datejust and Day-Date 36
It’s diamonds, diamonds, and more diamonds for the new Lady Datejust and Day-Date 36. Each is set with hundreds of selected diamonds, the Lady Datejust with precisely 1,089 gems. Leaving no surface untouched, the sides of the case and the lugs as well as the clasp are diamond set. All in, there are over 7.5 carats of diamonds on this piece. For the Day-Date 36, three vibrant new colourways: coral, turquoise, and burgundy with enamelled Roman numerals and alligator straps to match.