“If it ain’t broke, make it better.” If that isn’t Rolex’s official motto (and it isn’t), it ought to be. While hardcore Rolex fans will always find tweaks they’d love to see made, this brand’s continued success can certainly be credited to its commitment to incremental changes over the long term. If something can be improved, it will be. Eventually. As such, each year’s release of new Rolex models isn’t so much about bold statements of novelty as it is about fine tuning a collection that, to most, is already near-perfect. For Rolex, of course, perfection can always be improved. Here’s how this month’s drop ups the ante.
Is there any watch whose details are more obsessively studied and debated than the Sub? This year Rolex took the Submariner into a new era by bumping its case size from 40mm to 41mm, while reducing the width of its lugs and slightly widening its bracelet for added stability on the wrist. The biggest change, though, was on the inside, with the addition of a new calibre 3230 movement in the Oyster Perpetual Submariner (aka the “no-date” Sub).
This new movement features a Chronergy escapement, a watchmaking innovation that makes this the most accurate and reliable Sub ever. It also features a longer 70-hour power reserve, so you can shelve your watch for the weekend without having to reset the time on Monday morning. The other big news is the return of the so-called “Kermit,” a Sub nicknamed for its green bezel (not to be confused with the “Hulk” which has a green bezel and a green dial) introduced in the early aughts and discontinued in 2010. This year’s collection also features a duo of new Submariners with blue bezels and matching blue dials, with a yellow gold and two-tone Oystersteel and Rolesor case and bracelet, respectively. With seven new models and two new movements, that ought to give Sub fans plenty to argue about for at least a few years.
The Oyster Perpetual
It may not inspire the same kind of frenzy as the Submariner or the Daytona, but the Oyster Perpetual has never looked better thanks to a few subtle (and not so subtle) changes this month. Most noticeably, the outgoing Oyster Perpetual had been available in 39mm and 36mm sizes, but the new one is available in 41mm and 36mm. For the Oyster Perpetual 41, you can have your choice of a silver sunray dial accented with hands and hour markers in 18 ct yellow gold, or a black sunray dial with hands and hours in 18 ct white gold. This would be a very difficult choice indeed. For the smaller 36mm version, Rolex now offers a whole new lineup of richly coloured dials, including candy pink, coral red and a sporty yellow. Who says the Swiss don’t know how to have fun?
Launched in 2012, the Sky-Dweller is relatively new addition to the Rolex lineup and this month’s update ought to win it a few more fans. With a 24-hour display in the middle of its dial, a subtle red month marker making its way around the hour indexes and Rolex’s most complicated movement inside, this watch already has a lot going for it.
The first-time addition of an Oysterflex bracelet, however, only adds to its appeal. The Oysterflex is what other watchmakers might refer to simply as a rubber strap, but in true Rolex fashion there’s a lot more to it than that. For one thing, it is made from flexible metal blades enclosed by high-performance elastomer, for extreme flexibility and durability. It also features Oysterclasp, the brand’s signature crown-branded closure, along with the Rolex Glidelock extension, which easily expands the bracelet for comfort. Available in Everose gold or 18 ct yellow gold, this new Sky-Dweller is absolutely a watch made for the first-class cabin.