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Throwback Sundays: Six Interesting Rolex Novelties in the Last Decade, from Our Archives

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On the 1st of September, Rolex will be launching its 2020 novelties. For many watch collectors, this is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated event in the watch industry.

Most of the collectors are currently discussing the new models and/or variants that Rolex will be launching next week. Words have been floating around that we might be getting a Submariner with an improved movement, as well as a new variation of the Explorer II and Milgauss.

Regardless, the moment of truth will only be out when Rolex officially launches its new watches this Tuesday. In the meantime, we thought that it would be a great idea to look at some of our favourite novelties that Rolex had introduced in the past decade. What are some of the watches that we have selected? Let us find out!

Rolex Air King

If the usual Rolex watches bore you, then perhaps the Air King might be something that is worth a double take.

Launched in Baselworld 2016, the Air King was perhaps one of the most interesting watches that Rolex have launched in recent times. It is not a new collection, nor does the watch features any revolutionary complication or technical breakthroughs. The Air King was interesting for the fact that it features a contemporary and unique dial design – something that is a tad distinctive from the usual Rolex watches. The combined use of both hours and minutes numerals on the dial is unusual, and the yellow crown and green “Rolex” print makes its aesthetics even more unique.

While its appearance might be different, but the Air King is still a Rolex through and through. This means that it is still remains a well-built and robust timepiece. The 40mm watch features Rolex’s signature oyster case and bracelet, and its Calibre 3131 movement is Superlative Chronometer Certified (in which the movement is subjected to deviate only by 2 seconds daily). The Rolex Air King retails at S$8,610, and it is the ideal watch for someone who wants a Rolex that is not conservative and “boring”.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Debuted in Baselworld 2012, the Sky-Dweller is the most complicated watch in the Rolex line-up currently. The intriguing timepiece features a novel way of setting the calendar via the bezel, in a system which Rolex calls the Command Ring. The Sky Dweller also features a second timezone.

The dial layout is a model of clarity and simplicity. There is the usual date display with a magnifying cyclops, and an additional month indicator that is integrated on the outer peripheral of the dial. Legibility is top notch, and the watch bears all the signatures of the traditional Rolex, from the fluted bezel to the markers with Chromalight. As usual, the build quality is an outstanding example of industrial manufacturing.

Now available in all materials from Everose, White Gold, Yellow Gold and also in Rolesor (White Gold bezel with Stainless Steel Bracelet and Yellow Gold bezel with Stainless Steel Bracelet with Yellow Gold links), there are many options in the Sky Dweller. The most popular being the Rolesor WG/SS version with a blue dial which retails for S$19,900. Precious metal versions are priced from S$54,160 onwards.

Rolex GMT-Master II “Root Beer”

The Baselworld 2018 saw Rolex relaunching one of the most highly anticipated variation of the GMT-Master II: The Root Beer.

“Root Beer” is a nickname given to the two-tone GMT-Master II watch with the brown and black bezel insert. This was popularised in the early 1970s with the Reference 16753 – and the large time gap in between two models (the old and the new iteration) certainly drove the anticipation of collectors, many of whom are great fans of this colour combination.

Mechanically-speaking, the GMT-Master II is powered by the in-house Calibre 3285. This movement is an upgrade from the previous Calibre 3186, and notable improvements include a 70 hour power reserve (up 40%), as well as the more efficient Chronergy escapement. The rest are pretty much the standard and reliable Rolex fare.

The “Root Beer” is priced at S$19,900, and we think it is one of the prettiest modern GMT-Master II to date. The very fact that two-tone Rolexes are generally less popular and yet the GMT-Master II has a long waiting list is a strong testament to its immense popularity.

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller “D-Blue”

The Deepsea Sea-Dweller, or DSSD for short, first debuted in 2008. On the first glance, it seems like the DSSD is a blown-up version of both the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller. At 44mm (diameter), it is some 4mm larger than the Sea-Dweller.

The DSSD is definitely one of the largest and chunkiest timepiecse in the Rolex collection (with the exception the Deepsea Challenge). This, together with a helium escape valve and a 5.5mm thick sapphire crystal, allows the DSSD to reach a water-resistance depth of 3,900m (12,800ft). But it was not just the sheer size that attracted the attention of collectors. It was, in fact, the “D-Blue” variant (as shown above) that was the main talking point when it debuted in 2014. The gradient dial and bright green “DEEPSEA” letters are atypical of Rolex, but it certainly add a lot of vibrancy into the tool watch.

Priced at S$17,360, the Rolex DSSD “D-Blue” is a polarising piece that has its own fair share of fans and critics. However, if you are looking for something that makes a statement, then this is certainly one of the Rolex watches to consider.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a watch that probably needs no further introduction. The latest variant, which was updated in 2016, features some slight cosmetic changes with includes a new scratch-proof black Cerachrom bezel. Besides that, there are few differences as compared to its predecessor.

Powered by the in-house Caliber 4130, the self-winding movement is fitted with a column wheel and vertical clutch system for its chronograph function. It has a decent power reserve of around 72 hours, and the movement is certified to perform with an accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day.

The 40mm watch is priced at S$17,640. It is virtually impossible to get the timepiece, with a waiting list that stretches for up to a few years. But the Daytona is truly a solid timepiece, and we dare say that it is one of the best all-rounder timepieces that is available in the market today.

Rolex Cellini Moonphase

Forget about the likes of Submariner and Daytona. When it comes to Rolex watches, the Cellini collection is probably one of the best timepieces that is produced by the Geneva-based watch manufacturer.

The Cellini is not a well-known collection. In fact, it is one of the least popular series of watches from Rolex. But for those who knows it, the Cellini is one of the best kept secrets from the famed manufacturer. The Moonphase, for instance, is one of our favourite pieces when it was launched in Baselworld 2017. It is still one of our favourites, for its elegance and impeccable attention to detail. The latter is especially pronounced in the moonphase indicator, in which is crafted with an enamelled disc and meteorite moon. Stunning is an understatement for that.

The 39mm timepiece is priced at S$35,970. There might be other Rolexes that are priced within the same range too, but we reckon that this Cellini is worth taking the leap of faith. It is a truly special piece, and one that really shows what Rolex is capable of doing.

Concluding Thoughts

While many have claimed that Rolex is a “boring” brand, but its novelties over the last decade seems to have proven otherwise. Rolex had certainly injected some vibrancy into its watches, and timepieces such as the Cellini Moonphase and Sky-Dweller had certainly proved that Rolex is capable of producing new and impressive models altogether.

What will Rolex bring to us come September? Your guess is perhaps as good as mine. Let us hope that the Geneva-based manufacturer will be injecting some brilliant creations and light up an otherwise gloomy 2020.

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2 Comments

  1. Patricio E.M. Camps on

    Sería buenísima una reseña desde el primer Rolex o mejor desde cuándo Hans wildorf y su cunado vendían reloges con su nombre…gracias por su atención saludalo atte…

  2. Patricio E.M. Camps on

    Los rolex antiguos y su historia …para cuando….?desde los primeros hasta hoy….saludalos atte.