With the kickoff this week of Watches & Wonders, the watch industry’s biggest trade show, a cascade of new models for 2021 was announced. But probably nothing excites collectors more than seeing the new releases from Rolex. The iconic brand did not disappoint. From the striking new-generation Explorer and Explorer II and the ever-popular DateJust 36 models with stunning new dials to the updated dial and case for the Daytona, Rolex has a timepiece for just about any taste.
Perhaps the most significant news is the revamp of the Oyster Perpetual Explorer line. Rolex is releasing a new generation of Explorers, as well as a new Explorer II series. The Explorer is, of course, the watch that Sir Edmund Hillary wore in 1953 when he became the first man to summit Mount Everest along with expedition partner Tenzing Norgay. The Explorer has been trimmed back to its original 36mm case from the previous 39mm. The black dial is now lacquered, and it benefits from a “Chromalight” display. In addition — and this has excited many — after decades of the Explorer exclusively coming in stainless steel, it will now be made in yellow “Rolesor” (Rolex’s combination of Oystersteel and 18kt yellow gold).
The Explorer’s successor, the Explorer II, remains at 42mm but gets an updated case and bracelet and a choice of a black or white lacquer dial with an orange 24-hour hand on both versions. Other changes include switching out the glossy black hands for the collector-preferred matte black, slimming down the piece’s lugs, and inserting Rolex’s new-generation caliber 3285 movement.
Rolex has added a new dial to the sought-after Cosmograph Daytona, which comes in three new models, all with 40mm dials. The dial is composed of metallic meteorite, “a rare natural material from outer space,” with black chronograph counters at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. One of the models is available in white gold, fitted with a monobloc bezel in black ceramic with a tachymetric scale. The remaining two models come in yellow gold and the other in Everose gold, with both sporting a metal bezel with a tachymetric scale on an oyster bracelet.
The DateJust 36 has received two exciting new dial designs – a playful tropical green palm motif, as well as a fluted dial structure that is inspired by Rolex’s iconic fluted bezels. The palm motif is seen on three of the new watches. On the first, the pattern is present on an olive-green dial, equipped with an Oyster bracelet. The same palm design decorates the golden dial found on the second watch which is also fitted with an Oyster bracelet. The palm motif also graces the silver dial of the third watch, with a Jubilee bracelet. On the final watch, the fluted motif is found on the golden dial, also with a Jubilee bracelet.
Speaking of Rolex, check out Artisans de Genève presents the Mika Häkkinen Challenge.