Category: Rolex Watches
For 2022, Rolex has thoroughly redesigned and relaunched the Oyster Professional Air King watch with a new model known as the Reference 126900, which aBlogtoWatch debuted here. While the “Air King” (AKA “Air-King”) name is not new at Rolex, this particular model family really started in 2016 when Rolex launched the Air King reference 116900 (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here) that the new 126900 entirely replaces. There is a lot to say about the new Air King watch, perhaps most importantly that Rolex has now “fixed” one of the weaker links in its sports watch product collection. The previous generation Air King was hard to define as a truly novel model because it was, for the most part, a different dial placed on the aging Rolex Milgauss platform. For 2022, the Rolex Air King not only gets its own case and updated in-house Rolex mechanical movement, but Rolex also really did refine some of the core issues enthusiasts had with the previous-generation product. So, say hello to yet another highly desirable Rolex watch that will still be very challenging to acquire for purchase this year.
Before talking about the design of the Air King 126900, it is important to discuss how this product fits within the larger Rolex watch product lineup. The previous generation Air King was more or less priced at the brand’s entry-level price point starting at just under $6,000 when it was originally launched. Rolex has now made it clear that the Air King is walking a few steps up the ladder in price and allowing the Rolex Oyster Perpetual to be the brand’s entry price-point for men’s steel sport-style watches. The new reference 126900 Air King watch is priced at $7,400 USD. This is, however, still close to Rolex’s entry-point for men’s watches, these days.
Don’t let the “Air King” name confuse you — this isn’t a pilot’s watch in modern form (despite the historical relationship between the Air King models and aviation appreciation). In fact, the dial of the modern Air King is inspired by a car — the world’s fastest car (at least it was intended to be). In 2011, Rolex announced that it was sponsoring a team known as Bloodhound SSC (later renamed to Bloodhound LSR when it was purchased by a new entity), and Rolex designed two gauge dials that went into the car’s cockpit, including the speedometer and clock. aBlogtoWatch covered the Rolex & Bloodhound 1,000 mph car project here. It was correct for Rolex to back such an interesting project, but the jet-powered Bloodhound LSR car was never able to reach its 1,000 mph goal (I think it got up to around 700 mph), as funding ran out, and I believe that the actual car itself was later sold. The legacy of Rolex’s relationship with the Bloodhound jet car remains in the dial of the modern Rolex Air King watch.
For 2022, the Air King isn’t just all-new, it also fixes some of the design elements that enthusiasts felt were a bit lacking on the dial. The watch is still in Rolex 126529NL-0001 and 40mm-wide but otherwise is slightly different in form and refinement. Let’s start with the case, which has a slightly new, flatter design and now has crown guards. It is water-resistant to 100 meters and uses a combination of brushed and polished surfaces for the case and all brushed finishing for the bracelet. The overall look is slightly distinctive, although it is very much an “Oyster Professional” when viewed from pretty much any angle. The bracelet now also has a formal Oysterlock safety clasp and an Easylink comfort extension. This replaces the slightly less sporty and less secure older bracelet deployant system. At this point it is also entirely reasonable to ask the question, “so when is Rolex going to give the Milgauss collection a redesign?”
Inside the Air King watch is one of Rolex’s more modern automatic movements: the caliber 3230, which exists in other three-hand no-date sports watches such as the Submariner (the no-date version). This “Superlative Chronometer” movement is COSC- and Rolex Chronometer-certified and is accurate to +/-2 seconds per day (that’s pretty good). The movement operates at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 70 hours while making use of a Parachrom hairspring that is more or less impervious to magnetism.
Rolex also revised the Air King dial — hardly a fan favorite when it came out in 2016. It wasn’t clear to many people that the dial was inspired by the Rolex-designed gauges from the Bloodhound car, nor was the overall execution refined enough to be a serious classic. That said, most people did agree that it was a good thing to see Rolex experimenting with something new, and for 2022, the Air King 126900 watch gets a dial treatment that I think the model collection deserves (even if the changes are subtle, at best). Recall that the Air King is the only current Rolex watch to actually feature the gold/yellow and green crown and logo combination that you can see at more Rolex stores, for example.
One change to the dial is the addition of a “0” to the five-minute marker. Not having a preceding zero is how the Bloodhound clock gauge made for an oddly asymmetric look that Rolex wisely decided to replace with a “05” marker versus the “5” marker. Most important, in my opinion, is the fact that Rolex removed the low-end-looking applied polished 3, 6, and 9 o’clock hour markers and replaced them with similar markers that are painted in Rolex’s Chromalight luminant. Not only is the dial now much better lumed, but the once ugly (to me) applied hour markers are finally pretty decent-looking.
The great thing about being a Rolex watch today is that it doesn’t require much pushing to be purchased. That means Rolex doesn’t need to do much story-telling for the Air King 126900 to be a hot model. It is thoroughly modern in the context of new Rolex timepieces, and it finally offers a more distinctive wearing experience than just a different dial on an existing platform. Rolex also took market feedback about the previous 116900 Air-King watch to heart and relatively rapidly entirely overhauled the collection. The Air King is officially ready for enthusiast’s wrists — now let’s just see if you can get one.
Rolex introduced a new version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40, with a fluted bezel, this week at Watches & Wonders 2022.
The 2022 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 (Ref. 228236) features an ice-blue dial (exclusive to platinum Rolexes), a 950 platinum case, bracelet, and an all-new fluted platinum bezel — with three hand timekeeping and the marquee day/date function, powered by Rolex caliber 3255. Dating back to 1956, the Day-Date was the first calendar wristwatch to indicate, in addition to the date, the day of the week spelled out in full in an arc-shaped window at 12 o’clock on the dial (the day of the week is available in a choice of 26 languages). The Day-Date, also known as the Presidents’ watch, is available exclusively in precious metals: 18K yellow, 18K white, or 18K Everose gold, and 950 platinum. Until 2022, the fluted bezel found on Day-Dates has only been offered in 18K gold, making this the first time platinum has been used by Rolex to produce a fluted bezel. Platinum has more heft than gold, and a white sheen that’s not quite the same as white gold, even though white gold does have some platinum in it. Platinum is notoriously difficult to work with, especially finishing it, so naturally, Rolex came up with a new manufacturing process for creating a fluted bezel in 950 platinum. Driven by automatic caliber 3255 (which debuted in 2015), the hours, minutes, seconds, day/date functions can run autonomously for up to 70-hours when the mainspring is fully wound. Each movement is tested to Superlative Chronometer specifications of -2/+2 after the movement is actually cased up, which is impressive, but no different than any current Rolex movement, as all carry this superior chronometer rating. Components such as the nickel-phosphorus anti-magnetic Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with high reliability, and the shock-resistant and antimagnetic Parachrom balance spring, contribute to the caliber 3255s high accuracy and precision. Furthermore, the oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed, patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance. Being an Oyster case, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 has a depth rating of 100 meters, uses a screw-in caseback, and has a Twinlock screw-down crown with double gaskets to ensure that water never enters the case within the stated limits. Fitted with a three-piece link President bracelet, made in 950 platinum, integrated directly to the case, and secured via a concealed Crownclasp with ceramic inserts inside the links — the Day-Date bracelet looks as good as it performs. Rolex has not specified the retail price and instead lists it on the official page as “Price on request.” Editor’s Note: Perhaps it’s because Ceri has been spotting them on the wrists of the rich and famous, or maybe it’s thanks to the handsome green-dialled version released at Baselworld that we’re still more than a little infatuated with. Whatever the reason, the solid-gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 remains the undisputed king of power watches. We take another look at 2015’s Day-Date 40.
If the bubbly Oyster Perpetual wasn’t quite whimsical enough for you, or was not the right type of colourful – Rolex has got you covered. Introduced in two new variants, it revives the funky stone dials of the 1970s and fully enters the realm of quirky with high-end champlevé enamel dials – emojis and inspirational phrases included. Long a paragon of power, present on the wrists of world leaders and pop-culture stars, the Rolex Day-Date 36 Emoji Puzzle 128238, especially in the yellow gold 36mm variant, is a piece truly deserving of the icon moniker. A Day-Date is certainly worthy of a champlevé dial, owing to the meticulous nature of executing one, though the way Rolex has gone about it certainly surprised me, among many others. Depicting a partly put-together jigsaw puzzle, the colourful pieces are separated by thin precious metal wire matched to the case, each “representing one of the key moments in life”, according to Rolex. Instead of the day and date indication, we’ve got seven inspirational quotes (Happy, Eternity, Gratitude, Peace, Faith, Love, Hope) and 31 exclusive emojis, so its proposition as a daily wearer is tarnished somewhat. Finalising the colour splash on the dial, the hour markers are a smattering of coloured baguette-cut sapphires. Available in three different metals – yellow, white and Everose gold, the Rolex Day-Date 36 Emoji Puzzle 128238 puzzles remain unchanged from the classic 36mm Day-Date case – all three also paired with a President bracelet finished in a concealed Crownclasp. First fitted to the Day-Date model in 2019, the 2015 3255 calibre sports a Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hairspring with Rolex overcoil and Paraflex shock absorbers, offering up to 70 hours of power reserve. Not to be outdone by the emoji-and-sapphire-equipped Day-Dates, the 1970s-inspired Day-Dates pair decorative stone dials with diamond-studded markers and bezels. The sunrise-like carnelian dial, which we saw a glimpse of in Rolex’s teaser, is cased in 18k yellow gold with a matching 18k yellow gold President bracelet. The green aventurine dial, my personal favourite of the bunch, combines an Everose gold case and bracelet with a green backdrop of finely crystallised stone. The stunning star-studded dial complements the 52 brilliant-cut diamonds in the bezel, making for a very blingy finish. Finally, we have the veiny turquoise blue dial in a white gold case. The stone is one that Rolex has used often throughout the years, the 128348RBR reference in yellow gold being the most recent. All three feature the 3255 calibre, just like the puzzle champlevé enamel models.
Rolex just released six new Rolex Day-Date 36 Emoji Puzzle 128238 : Starting with the jigsaw puzzle motif dial made from champlevé enameling available in yellow gold, white gold, and Everose. The watch displays “inspirational” keywords at the 12 o’clock display (‘Happy’, ‘Eternity’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Peace’, ‘Faith’, ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’) and 31 emojis (!!!) in place of the date at 3 o’clock.
The three new stone dials are available in carnelian (yellow gold), turquoise (platinum) and green aventurine (Everose gold). These new stone dials are a continuation of a long Rolex legacy, originating back to the 1970s. Turquoise has been used frequently, most recently in a yellow gold configuration (ref. 128348RBR). Carnelian is a warm orange hue which has also been used historically albeit less frequently and green aventurine which has a finely crystallized surface. (You may be more familiar with blue aventurine). Move over flower and palm dials, the jigsaw “emoji” watch now battles the new OP “Celebration” dial for most unusual Rolex novelty. Who would’ve thought we would see inspirational phrases and emojis on Day-Dates in 2023?
The stone dials are sure to satisfy the surge in popularity for this classic 1970s feel. I’m hoping to get my hands on the new turquoise before Drake does – and something tells me I just might beat him to it this time! For somebody who loves diamonds I do kind sorta wish the stone dials featured fluted bezels. But, hey I can’t complain. Rolex just made an emoji watch. What a time to be alive.
The Rolex Day-Date 40 had always been the most elegant, refined and luxurious watch of the Oyster Collection by Rolex – that also has elegant watches in its Cellini collection. Exclusively made in precious metals – gold or platinum – it was available for years in 36mm and more recently in 41mm (with the Day-Date II), but still with the same complication: a 3-hand timepiece showing the date and the day in a unique (but now iconic and highly copied) way. For Baselworld 2015, this luxury Rolex receives a serious update, not only by getting new colours but also by coming with a new case and, mostly, a brand new movement. Here is the Rolex Day-Date 40 with the new Rolex Calibre 3255.
Together with the new dial colours, the main novelty concerning the Rolex Day-Date 40 is of course its new size – and thus meaning a new case. But first, let’s go back on what is, since 1956 (the year of its very first introduction), the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. This long name is important to understand all about this luxury watch.
It is said to be an Oyster. In Rolex’s nomenclature, it means that this timepiece is part of the sports watches collections and that it comes with a relatively high level of water resistance – 100 meters here to be precise – and is also a reference to the world’s first wrist watch with a water resistant case, the 1926 Rolex Oyster. Nowadays, this name is stamped more to allow the watch to protect its movement from humidity rather than to define a proper dive watch.
It is said to be an Oyster Perpetual. For Rolex, Oyster Perpetual means automatic / self-winding movement by the mean of a central oscillating weight also called rotor. Patented in 1931, this mechanism was, at that time, a real innovation, preventing the owner to actuate the crown and thus, to let humidity and dust enter the movement – thereby participating to the legendary robustness of the Rolexes.
It is said to be a Day-Date. The Rolex Day-Date 40 is Rolex’s interpretation of a calendar watch, a timepiece that shows the date (classically by a window at 3, just like in the Datejust) and the day by the mean of a rotating disc with a large aperture at 12, letting the owner have a clear view on the day of the week – entirely written. This disc was – and still is – available in 26 languages and makes, together with the date disc, an instant jump at midnight.
It is said to be a Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. As every movement made by Rolex, the calibre of the Day-Day is highly tested and certified by both internal controls and by the COSC (and even beats the COSC standards).
The new Rolex Day-Date 40 is respectful of this 4 pillars, a water resistant, automatic chronometer watch that displays both the date and the day, together with a luxurious and refined feeling – as this timepiece is still only available in precious metals (yellow gold, white gold, rose gold or platinum). The case of this new edition shows new dimensions and new proportions. The diameter is reduced to 40mm and both the case-bands and the lugs are slimmer – something that collectors were highly expecting, as the previous editions were a bit too bulky.
The biggest novelty with the Rolex Day-Date 40 is not its new case or the new dials. The innovation is proudly hidden by the fluted case-back. Indeed, inside the 40mm case ticks a brand new movement, something big for Rolex that had been using the same base calibers for ages. With the new DD, it’s an entirely new era for the ‘Crown’. Sadly, this engine will remain hidden from you eyes, as no see-through case-back is expected soon from Rolex – something that could however change, as Tudor is now coming with sapphire case-back on its new North Flag.
Once again, Rolex uses its traditional recipe: just updating, keeping the good points and never breaking the codes. The new Rolex Day-Date 40 is still an elegant, comfortable, versatile luxury watch with plenty of advantages: an incredible reliability, a superb construction, an iconic design. The same can be said about the new Calibre 3255: efficient, intelligently designed, very well manufactured (knowing Rolex, the question of the reliability shouldn’t be an issue). It however also has the main disadvantage to be a Rolex Day-Date, meaning that it brings almost no novelty, no fresh air to a concept used since 1956. It might be what Rolex’s collectors are waiting for but we could also be pleased by a bit of boldness from the ‘Crown’.
Here’s something I didn’t expect. In my first meeting at my first Watches & Wonders, it was an entirely new dressy Rolex that I couldn’t take off my wrist. Sure, we passed around a bunch of updated sport models – stay tuned for coverage of those too – but the new Rolex Perpetual 1908 might be Rolex’s best dressy watch in years.
First, what is the Rolex Perpetual 1908? It’s a quartet of new watches in 18-karat yellow or white gold cases, each paired with a black or white dial. But it’s more than four watches: With the Perpetual 1908, Rolex is actually launching its new Perpetual collection. It’s the dressy answer to Rolex’s professional models, and it replaces the Cellini line, which had felt a bit neglected over the last few years. Now, we know why. And man, if the first Rolex Perpetual 1908 is what we can expect for the future of the collection, we might be in for a whole new side of Rolex. The Perpetual 1908 immediately grabs your attention with its dial. Rolex calls the white dial an “intense white.” While no such adjective is given for the black dial, the surprise when seeing it in person is that it’s actually a matte black. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in some other Rolex models – it looks similar to the dial in this year’s new titanium Yacht-Master, for example – but in a dress watch it’s a subtle little surprise. Really, a dressy watch isn’t supposed to grab too much attention – it’s supposed to be slim and sleek and elegant (and without complication and in precious metal if you’re a purist), and the matte black doesn’t scream at you. In a certain light and at certain angles, it even looks a little grey.
Meanwhile, the white dial has a slight graining effect that seems to give it just a bit of texture. After wearing both for about an equal amount of time – that’s about 30 minutes each, for the entirety of our one-hour meeting with Rolex – the black paired with the yellow gold was my favorite of the bunch. This surprised even me, as someone who thinks precious white metals tend to be the most elegant of metals (Rolex, for its part, calls platinum the noblest of metals). Sure, the white gold and black makes me want to go out and spend a stupid amount of money on a Tom Ford tux just to wear something half as dignified as the 1908. But there’s something about a yellow-gold Rolex with a black dial that feels like giving order to a chaotic world. It kind of reminds me of those vintage Day-Dates with jet-black Onyx dials that I love. It’s whispering and shouting at the same time, making a statement that only a yellow-gold Rolex can. Rolex says it based the dial of the 1908 on a vintage model it found from 1931 – something like the model it features here, perhaps? – and it shows, but in a wonderfully updated way. The 12-3-9 is in a sans-serif font that’s as Art Deco as it is modern, perfectly complemented by a more ornate font in the subdial at 6 o’clock. The observatory-style hour hand is another era-appropriate touch. The By the way, 1908 is a reference to the year one Hans Wilsdorf trademarked the term Rolex, because what’s a brand, especially a brand like Rolex, without a trademark? (Just ask Jean-Claude Biver.)
It’s time to talk about the case of the 1908, all 39mm of it. It looks kind of like the old Cellini case, but it’s been updated (most notably there’s the sapphire caseback now, more on that in a moment). The bezel is half domed and half fluted. Don’t have the confidence to go full-fluted on the daily like me? You’re in luck. It’s dressed up but not audacious. The case is polished, and while we weren’t able to get any other measurements from Rolex, the watch is thin (maybe 9mm?) and has a slim profile on wrist. The lug-to-lug is equally manageable: noticeably smaller than the Black Bay 58 I wore into the room (also 39mm, with 47mm lug-to-lug). I’ll drone on about the need for smaller dress watches as much as the next guy, but I’ve gotta admit: I didn’t mind the case size one bit. Would I have liked it even more with 1, 2, or 3mm taken off? Maybe, but I get that there are many reasons, many of them commercial, why Rolex won’t do that. And I say this as a guy who’s got a smallish 6.3-inch wrist, maybe 6.5 in the stuffy and sparsely air-conditioned halls of Geneva’s Palexpo. The Perpetual 1908 has 50m of water resistance, more than enough for a watch that comes on an alligator strap, I’d hope.
Even the movement of the 1908 requires a closer look. And now, in a first for Rolex, the new automatic caliber 7140 can be seen through a sapphire caseback. It’s something Rolex is also doing with the new platinum Daytona, making it known it’s happy to show off what it calls Côtes de Genève Rolex finishing on the movement. The Rolex caliber 7140 uses Rolex’s Syloxi silicon hairspring, something that, until now, had been reserved for smaller models like the 31mm Datejust. As Danny explored before, it’s notable to see Rolex continue down the path of using two different kinds of hairsprings across its models, and today we’re seeing the Syloxi in a larger watch for the first time. Oh, and it’s the first time Rolex’s pairing a Syloxi hairspring with its Chronergy escapement. Other than that, the caliber 7140 has everything you might expect from Rolex: Superlative chronometer, 66 hours of power reserve, and a gold automatic rotor. Another detail you pick up on as soon as you try on the Rolex Perpetual 1908 that, honestly, you might not even think about otherwise: The alligator strap comes on Rolex’s “Dualclasp” (like a butterfly clasp) that seems to drape the wrist a little more nicely than a standard single-blade clasp. But by now, I might just be drinking that precision-engineered Rolex Kool-Aid a little too much! On the inside, the strap is green, another simple “Rolex being Rolex” touch. But I’d still throw this thing on a more casual strap and wear the shit out of it, pretty much anywhere and with anything.
The Perpetual 1908 will cost $22,000 in yellow gold and $23,300 in white gold, with availability beginning in October. At first brush, that feels about right for a dressy Rolex. Much lower than, say Patek’s new Calatrava 6007G ($37,850) or 6119 ($31,940), but more than a comparably fancy watch from a brand like Jaeger-LeCoultre, because, well, Rolex. The price puts the 1908 in the same neighborhood as an A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia – some buyers will prefer hand-engraved balance bridges and others will look first to the name on the dial. Neither is right or wrong. Twenty-four hours ago I wouldn’t have guessed the first watch I’d be writing up from Rolex would be a new dressy watch that’s ushering in an entirely new collection of dressy watches from the brand. But that’s exactly what makes the new Perpetual 1908 so exciting. Besides the 1908, we (the Hodinkee “we”) passed around a lot of sport watches from a handful of brands today at Watches & Wonders – Rolex, Tudor, IWC, even Lange (though in that case, it’s a hell of a “sport watch”). And a lot of them are great! But here’s Rolex, the ultimate maker of sport watches – professional watches, to have them tell it – dedicating its nearly infinite resources to a completely new line of dressed-up watches, and nailing it. In the same way the Rolex Submariner of 2023 feels kind of like the consistent evolution of the original Rolex Submariner of 1953, the new Perpetual 1908 line feels like the modern evolution of what a dressy collection from Rolex should look like, even if we skipped many of the years in between. Not a re-issue at all, just the modern iteration of a watch that’s always been. Rolex calls this the Perpetual 1908, but really it takes inspiration from a watch made in 1931. This era of Rolex, from the 1930s through the 1950s, is when Rolex came into its own. First came the Oyster case, then the first automatic movement. Before long, Rolex watches were joining climbers on Everest and divers in the ocean. But these watches were still subtle and elegant in a way many modern Rolex watches aren’t. With the new 1908, Rolex has captured this heritage in a way I haven’t seen it do in years. And that’s what’s got me so excited about it.
A year ago, the very idea of a titanium Rolex was relegated to wild dreams. A prototype had been seen on the wrist of British competitive sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, but the widely circulated online photo had gotten so old that some of us began to wonder if the watch would ever see the light of day. Now, in less than five months, we’ve gotten two watches from the Crown cased in RLX Titanium (a grade 5 titanium). The first was last year’s 50mm Deep Sea Special, the mega dive watch that obliterated the water-resistance record. And now this week we have the Rolex Yacht-Master 42, which unlike the DSS is sized so that a normal human being could conceivably wear it. It’s a big deal. But when seen next to Daytonas with display casebacks, Day-Dates with emojis, a solid-gold GMT-Master II, and an entirely new line of dress watches, a titanium Yacht-Master barely moves the needle of surprise and excitement. What a wild 48 hours this has been for the House of Wilsdorf.
In some ways, it feels like the appropriate response to not be that excited. After all, at this point every other watchmaker under the sun has made a titanium watch, from affordable Citizens in multiple colors of bezels and dials to Jean-Claude Biver’s $500,000 minute repeater tourbillon announced Sunday. And yet, as soon as the new titanium Yacht-Master ref. 226627 started to be passed around the room of Hodinkee editors during this week’s Watches & Wonders trade show, the general reaction was just to laugh with surprise. This 42mm watch, which looks so sturdy, feels so unbelievably light. I mean, that’s titanium for you. But still. You can’t quite believe this watch is real, on a number of different levels. For any of us who’ve ever tried on a steel Submariner (a.k.a. anyone with a passing interest in Rolex), it’s kind of comical to find out how much your brain is preconditioned to see a 42mm steel Oyster case, round indices, and Mercedes hands and think about the luxurious heft that awaits you. At around 100 grams, according to Rolex, the titanium Yacht-Master is so light it breaks your brain.
For a moment, let’s compare the new YM to last year’s titanium Pelagos from Rolex’s sister brand Tudor. Rolex’s choice to put the watch on a bracelet instead of a sportier Oysterflex makes the comparison obvious. I’ve now spent time with both pieces, and I prefer the Yacht-Master. The YM, like the Pelagos, is distinctly a tool watch – something that would have been hard to say about Yacht-Masters in the past. But the finishing a world apart, which is saying something for such an understated metal as titanium. Rolex’s proprietary grade 5 “RLX Titanium” (stronger than the grade 2 of the Pelagos) has the curious property of being equally able to be brushed satin or polished, which means it has the nice sharp and shiny chamfers that you’d like to see contrasted against the dark grey and relatively matte metal. That combination also works well with the more matte and textured dial – and with the contrast of the raised black numerals against a matte ceramic bezel insert, which is is the main giveaway that this is still squarely a Yacht-Master. My main critique (which I share into the void, knowing that Rolex designers will do whatever they think best) is that I wish they’d stuck to the no-date design of Ainsilie’s prototype. In the practical application of most sailing races, there’s really no use for a date. If you’re blue-water sailing and circumnavigating the globe, maybe its useful, though just like dive watches the practical application gives way to the reality of technology. So why not refine the design further and leave the date off altogether? And while we’re at it, a better quick-adjustment option would be great. The price is somewhat immaterial – CHF 13,400 – since the average collector won’t be able to get it at retail anytime soon. But the new Yacht-Master 42 is more than a solid release. It’s a more than a titanium proof of concept. It’s a wearable piece that portends at least the possibility of future experiments with this fascinating material.
2023 is proving to be a year of hits for Rolex with the Geneva-based company debuting a combination of highly sensible new releases along with some unexpected interesting new artistic concepts. When it comes to sports watches, the most interesting new release from Rolex is a titanium version of the jumbo-sized Rolex Yacht-Master 42 with the reference 226627. Only recently did Rolex first introduce a titanium watch in its collection with the almost comically over-engineered Rolex Deepsea Challenge (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here) that is water resistant to 11,000 meters. Very large and also not shy when it comes to price, the Deepsea Challenge is a niche novelty luxury watch — not meant to be worn comfortably on most wrists. The Yacht-Master 42 is a different story and in RLX titanium offers a large Rolex watch-wearing experience but without the feeling of bulk.
The visceral experience of wearing the Rolex Yacht-Master 42 titanium is very odd for any long-time Rolex fan. Rolex more or less helped create the 20th-century notion that you can often measure the value of a watch by feeling how solid and weighty it is. Rolex watches have never been designed for lightness, so most of them are quite hefty, and beloved for that reason. It is common for someone to admire a precious metal Rolex simply by feeling its mass in the open palm of your hand.
Finally, the wait is over and Rolex has unveiled their highly anticipated new releases for 2023. Among these new timepieces, one that stands out, in particular, is the platinum Daytona, which has garnered much attention for its luxurious design and impeccable craftsmanship. This year marks a special milestone for the Daytona, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. It’s hard to miss the significance of this iconic watch’s legacy and how it continues to captivate watch enthusiasts worldwide.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the platinum Daytona and other new Rolex models for 2023, highlighting the unique features and innovations that make them truly exceptional. Join us as we explore this historically important watch and milestone from Rolex. The Rolex Daytona is a legendary timepiece that has become an icon in the world of luxury watches. Its history can be traced back to the early 1960s, when Rolex began developing a watch specifically for racing drivers. The result was the Rolex Cosmograph, which was later renamed the Daytona, in honor of the famous race track in Florida.
The first Daytona models were released in 1963 and were powered by a hand-wound Valjoux 72 movement. These early watches featured a simple design with a clean, easy-to-read dial, and were immediately popular among professional drivers and racing enthusiasts. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Daytona truly began to gain widespread recognition and appreciation among collectors and watch enthusiasts.
In 1988, Rolex introduced the new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, which featured an automatic movement and a redesigned dial. This updated version quickly became a favorite among collectors, and Rolex continued to refine and improve the design over the years.
The official launch date of the Daytona is 1963 and this means that this year, 2023, is the 70th anniversary of the model.
Rolex has always had a history of celebrating special anniversaries by releasing a new watch. The 60th anniversary of the Daytona was commemorated with the platinum, Rolex Daytona reference 116505. This watch made a huge impression on the market with its ice blue dial, hefty weight, and rather high price tag.
With this in mind, people’s expectations were high for the 70th anniversary of the Daytona and now we finally know what Rolex brought for us!
The news for 2023 was huge in regard to the Rolex Daytona. Rolex completely revamped the Daytona series with a new generation caliber, the caliber 4131. This means that all Daytona models now begin with 1265xx denoting its new-generation caliber.
Visually, the new Rolex platinum Daytona 126506 looks quite similar to the previous generation 116506 60th anniversary. But whilst it looks very similar to the previous generation, there’s certainly a lot to uncover here.
First, it is presented with a 40mm platinum case and a chestnut brown ceramic bezel. Whilst the case may look similar to the previous one, it has been reworked slightly to create more beautiful and elegant lines. What’s new is that Rolex has now added a metal edge around the ceramic bezel insert so that the insert now works as an actual insert. This obviously protects the edge of the bezel insert from knicks and bangs which may cause it to crack.
The ice blue dial has been recorded slightly with the hour markers now being slightly more pointy at their tips giving a more sporty look. Moreover, Rolex has given the dial of the Daytona a new graphic balance with resized and restyled hour markers and counter rings.
The biggest upgrade to the new Rolex Daytona 126506 is the new-generation Daytona caliber 4131. Most importantly, the watch now has a see-through case back allowing us to admire the beautiful chronograph caliber inside.
The Rolex Daytona 126508 is an exquisite timepiece that has skyrocketed in popularity over the last couple of years. The once unaccepted Rolex Daytona 126508 collection has made giant strides since its early days of inception. Buyers enjoy the Rolex Daytona 126508 because of the yellow gold case, and the time-tested calibre 4131 in-house COSC certified movement.
Launched in 2023 by Rolex, the newly introduced Daytona was instantly one of the favorites from Watches & Wonders 2023.
In today’s market there might not be any other watch that is in demand like the Rolex Daytona 126508. They are nearly impossible to find in a case at an authorized dealer and are fetching a premium on the pre-owned market. We attribute the collections stunning aesthetics and movement combined with the massive brand that produces the 126508. When watch enthusiasts think of a sports watch chronograph, it’s either a Daytona or the Moonwatch which come to mind.
The Rolex Daytona 126508 is engineered with a 40mm yellow gold case, Oyster bracelet, yellow gold bezel, and sapphire crystal. As far as accuracy goes the 126508 is in great hands with the 4131 calibre. The 126508 is accurate up to +/-2 seconds per day, holds a power reserve of 72 hours, has a bi-directional rotor, and comes fitted with at Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring to reduce magnetic interference. Overall the Rolex Daytona 126508 is a very attractive luxury chronograph for any horological enthusiast.
Featured on the Rolex Daytona 126508 is a centre hour / minute / second hand, small seconds sub dial (6 o’clock), tachymeter scale on the bezel, chronograph centre hand (1/8 second accurate), 30 minute counter sub dial (3 o’clock), 12 hour counter sub dial (9 o’clock), and a stop seconds to assist with accurate time setting. Launched in 2023, the calibre 4131 is an innovative COSC certified movement that competes or outperforms many newer calibres from Rolex or other brands. The 4131 is accurate up to +/- 2 seconds per day and boasts a 72 hour power reserve.
Over the last 3 years we’ve seen Rolex upgrade their movements in other collections like the 3230, 3235, and the 3285 calibres. We were extremely excited to see the Daytona 126508 finally receive a new calibre.
You can purchase a Rolex Daytona 126508 new at an authorized dealer for $39,500 MSRP or pay a premium and purchase it for around $60,000 on the pre-owned market. If you have the opportunity to buy the 126508 new, it would be unwise to pass it up considering it’s investment value. Most buyers’ only chance to own this watch will be paying the premium on the secondary marketplace. The best place to buy a Rolex Daytona 126508 is at an authorized dealer. Unfortunately that is also the most difficult place to buy a 126508. Rolex watches, which include the 126508, are in such demand that it’s very rare to find one available and navigating the waitlist to receive one new is extremely difficult.
If you have the money, the best place to buy a Rolex Daytona 126508 is on the pre-owned market. Yes, you’ll be paying a premium but that premium eliminates your wait time, hassle of navigating that Daytona waitlist, and costly relationship building at authorized dealers.
Rolex has always been synonymous with high-octane motorsports and the Rolex Daytona is the world’s most recognizable chronograph. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch series was first introduced in 1963 and has many stunning designs such as the highly polished and fashionable Rolex Daytona Steel and Gold (Model number 116523 White Index ) featured below. They are COSC certified Superlative Chronometers which are the highest available designation for a mechanical watch from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. Let’s take an up-close look at this iconic watch series. The Rolex Daytona has a very dependable chronograph and features a bezel with a tachymeter which allows the measurement of speeds at up to 400 miles or kilometers per hour. The name “Daytona” is found in red on the dial on most models around the top of the bottom-most sub-dial. For those that don’t follow motor racing, this name is symbolic of the famous racing at the Daytona International Speedway which is located in Florida. This speedway opened in 1959 and is where the most prestigious NASCAR race, the Daytona 500 takes place. There are several collections in the series and they all vary in price. At the very top is the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Platinum with an Ice Dial and Baguette Diamond Indexes (model number 116506LN). This watch has a chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel which is fabricated of a highly durable ceramic that is extremely hard and highly resistant to scratches. It also has great resistance to corrosion and is unaffected by ultraviolet light which can cause colors to fade. Of course with such impressive features come equally impressive list prices of $82,500 (watch depicted below). There are some other Daytona watches that have sold for more such as the Lemon dial Paul Newman Daytona watch that was sold for $840,000 but we’ll have to save that for a whole other story. Aside from the Rolex Daytona Rose Gold watches made of their proprietary red or pink gold alloy known in the industry as Everose
gold (pictured above); the most sought after watches in this series are the stainless steel models. However, Rolex has recently stopped production on a few Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel watches. Namely, Daytona reference # 116520 had 2 versions, one with a White Dial and another with a Black Dial. These had polished stainless steel fixed bezels which are being replaced by two new models that feature their newer Cerachrom bezels made of their high-density ceramic material. These two were some of the most popular models from this series but now with their replacements, the Rolex Daytona ref 116500LN Black and the 116500LN White. With the introduction of these two new steel Daytona watches, it’s as if the world can’t get enough of these …and Rolex can’t produce enough. They are possibly the hardest watches to get your hands on at the moment. You’ll have to wait a really long time to get one, maybe years. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a rookie watch collector or a Rockefeller, you’ll have to wait in line just the same. The Daytona was actually called the most wanted watches in the world even though they both have a very low price tag of under $20k. These are the type of Rolex watches that have the potential to resell for more than the list price after purchase. It has an automatic chronograph movement, a tachymeter scale, a large central chronograph seconds hand, a crown that can screw into the case, a little bit of water resistance, and that’s it. No day date, no fancy complications other than a stopwatch function. Hats off to anyone who is lucky enough to already own one of these beauties. Rolex has always been an innovative brand with practical innovations to help the watches become the best that they can be. These include perfecting the self-winding rotor and patenting their Easy Link clasps that expand or contract by 5mm increments to compensate for temperature fluctuations, to name a few.
The list we’ve all been waiting for, these are the new Rolex watches for 2023. We’re breaking down all the latest references, highlighting their changes from the previous year, while also looking at the calibres that make them tick. Of course, there are some big changes in material, a new RLX Titanium Yacht-Master 42, a gorgeous Yellow Gold GMT-Master II, and the star of the show, a Platinum Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with ice blue dial and chestnut brown ceramic bezel. Let’s check out all the new Rolex watches for 2023
This is it, the new Rolex watches have been released. And the big announcement comes in the shape of a brand new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona , updated for the 60th anniversary of the model. Visually, it seems to be just a simple update. Which it is in a way. But there’s more to discover than just the updated aesthetics. Turn the (platinum only) watch over and… there’s a new Calibre 4131, and it is there on sight, under a transparent back. Let’s discover the new Rolex Daytona 2023 Collection, including a new steel 126500LN model, but also two-tone, gold and platinum editions. Born in 1963, the Daytona has become an emblematic collection. In its previous shape, the 116520 and 116500LN references in steel were basically dating back 2000, when Rolex came up with the new in-house calibre 4130. The first major update in more than 2 decades is there.
Visually, the updated Rolex Cosmograph Daytona follows the same principles as recently updated models, with refined cases and shaper lines. Slightly more tapered, less rounded. But, the Daytona is still a Daytona, no doubt. The 100m water-resistant case, still with screw-down crown and screwed pushers, has retained its proportions of 40mm with a relatively thin profile of 11.90mm. Lug width is 20mm still too. Most models in this new collection come with a Cerachrom bezel, but one thing has changes, as we’re now talking about an insert with a thin metallic band around it, giving more contrast and a more aerial feel. This is visible on the new steel reference 126500LN, with its black insert outlined by a thin polished steel ring. Most models are still worn on a 3-link Oyster bracelet, closed by an Oysterlock clasp, with 5mm Easylink comfort extension. The dials of this new Rolex Daytona have been slightly redesigned too, with thinner rings for the sub-counters, more contrast between the sub-counters and the base dial, and markers that appear to be slightly thinner and sharper. For example, the Platinum Daytona 126506 features classic light blue dial, with chestnut brown ceramic bezel and rings on sub-dials, all appearing sharper, thinner, better defined. The same can be said about the white dial steel Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 126500LN. On the Everose Daytona 126505, the bright black dial is sunray-brushed with full sundust gold-colored counters. The new 2023 Rolex Daytona comes with an updated movement, Calibre 4131. Based on the already advanced 4130, it now features the patented Chronergy escapement, a blue Parachrom hairspring and retains the 4Hz frequency and 72h power reserve of the previous generation. The rotor has been redesigned, and the decoration has been refined – the bridges of calibre 4131 feature a Rolex Côtes de Genève dec- oration, which differs from the traditional Côtes de Genève by the addition of a slight polished groove between each band. The chronograph function is still engaged by a robust mechanism with a column wheel and vertical clutch. Importantly, on the platinum reference 126506, the movement features a solid gold rotor, and the movement is visible under a sapphire caseback… which is quite unexpected from Rolex Cosmograph Daytona . Too bad the gold and stainless steel Daytona don’t feature the same see-through back, since the new decoration of the movement seems rather appealing.