Ahead of Watches & Wonders 2023, the world’s biggest watch brand has shared some not-so-subtle hints about what they’re about to unveil next week.
Geneva, Switzerland – Watches & Wonders, the world’s biggest watch fair and Disneyland for anyone who’s into watches, is just about to kick off. The DMARGE team is going to be there in person, and we’re prepared for a veritable smorgasbord of horological goodies.
This Watches & Wonders is set to be the biggest show ever, with a record-breaking 48 brands present at the fair. From wacky, innovative independent brands to the biggest luxury maisons on the planet, every sort of watch under the sun will be on display.
But if we’re talking big players, none are bigger than Rolex. The world’s biggest and most coveted watch brand is always the talk of the fair – everyone’s keen to see what Rolex have in store for us. Rolex runs a very tight ship and it’s normally very hard to figure out ahead of time what new releases they have planned.
Well, that’s not entirely true, as Rolex has also made a habit in recent years of sharing rather revealing ‘teasers’ ahead of Watches & Wonders that often give away what they’ve got in store… And 2023’s teaser might be the most explicit (and therefore the most exciting) yet. It’s like they’ve leaked their own watches.
We’ll take you through the preview and share our educated guesses for what Rolex is set to unveil in Geneva next week. Watch the teaser/preview below.
A titanium Yacht-Master and Explorer
The biggest hint that Rolex has dropped is that the much-anticipated titanium Yacht-Master might finally be made available to the public. Not only does the preview show what’s very clearly a Yacht-Master, with its distinctive bezel, but they even showed a racing yacht in the teaser. How much more of a hint can they give?
We also know Rolex has been working on a titanium Yacht-Master for a while now. A prototype titanium Yacht-Master was first spotted on the wrist of British superyacht skipper Sir Ben Ainslie while he was competing in the 2021 Prada Cup.
At the time, when journalists pressed Rolex on the prototype, the tight-lipped brand curtly said “we do not wish to communicate more about this model than what we already have…” Which is why it’s funny that in 2023, they’ve been so explicit about teasing one. We feel pretty confident about this prediction.
Of course, Rolex made a huge splash earlier this year when they unveiled the Rolex Deepsea Challenge (ref. 126067) back in February: their first production model to be made out of titanium, as well as the biggest and most water-resistant model the 118-year-old brand has ever created.
While sister brand Tudor has dabbled in titanium watches, namely with the Pelagos dive watch, it’s a material Rolex has previously been reluctant to use. But that might be changing in 2023…
It also looks like Rolex is set to unveil a titanium Explorer – indeed, the first watch we get a look at in the teaser, two seconds in, is very clearly an Explorer. It also shares the same finishing as the Deepsea Challenge, as well as the Yacht-Master that’s been teased. All signs point to two new watches made from RLX titanium.
A new platinum Daytona
This is one that’ll excite the hypebeasts. It’s hard to get a good look at it, but we reckon Rolex has teased a new platinum Daytona – the video cuts from a fast-moving highway to a fast pan around the minute track of an ice blue-dialled watch, almost as if the camera was a car darting around a racetrack.
The timing would make sense, too. 10 years ago, for the 50th anniversary of the Daytona, Rolex released their first platinum Daytona with an ice blue dial (Rolex reserves ice blue dials for titanium models). 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the Daytona, so maybe they’ve seen fit to introduce an update?
Alternatively, they may double down on titanium releases and release a titanium Daytona. That seems less likely. In truth, it’s very hard to ascertain what this final watch is, so watch this space.
If it is another platinum Daytona, that would mark two high-profile platinum releases from the Crown in two years. Last year at Watches & Wonders Geneva, Rolex unveiled a platinum Day-Date, which we reckon might be one of the heaviest (and bougiest) watches Rolex has ever made.
A new Cellini
The other really exciting and unexpected hint is that it looks like Rolex is introducing a new Cellini model.
First introduced in the 60s as Rolex’s dress watch line and named after a famous Renaissance goldsmith and sculptor, the Cellini line has always been a bit of an anomaly. Not only is it a dress watch line from a brand that’s primarily known for its technical ‘tool’ watches, but unlike Rolex’s other product lines, the Cellini line is rather ill-defined. Models from the 60s and 70s like the King Midas and Danaos are rather avant-garde, whereas modern Cellinis are very conservative and restrained.
The Cellini line hasn’t seen a lot of love from Rolex in recent years, so a new Cellini would be very good news indeed. It looks like it’s going to be made out of yellow gold, too – the sole Cellini model Rolex offers at the moment, the Cellini Moonphase (ref. 50535), is made from rose gold.
A new gold GMT-Master II
Now for some more detective work. One of the watches teased in the video is clearly a GMT watch: either a GMT-Master II or an Explorer II, as it’s got a third hand clearly visible (so it’s not a Sky-Dweller).
We reckon it’s more likely to be a GMT-Master II as it seems to have a ceramic bezel, although the colour of the bezel is hard to figure out. What is clear is that it’s got yellow gold indices. Maybe a new ‘Root Beer’?
The GMT-Master II is arguably Rolex’s most popular watch and different bezel colours are always big news… And a chance for a new nickname to be born. Last year at Watches & Wonders Geneva, Rolex stole the show when they introduced the left-handed GMT-Master II ‘Sprite’ (ref. 126720VTNR).
It took a few weeks for a nickname to stick, with other candidates like ‘Destro’ initially gaining popularity before Rolex fans chose its current moniker – a thematic nod to the ever-popular ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Coca-Cola’. Maybe 2023 will see a Rolex ‘Mountain Dew’?
The return of the ‘Stella dials’?
Finally, we predict that Rolex might be set to bring back their much-loved ‘Stella dials’, with a rather vibrant burnt orange dial lacquered dial appearing in the teaser.
Back in 2020, Rolex introduced a wide range of colourful lacquered enamel dials to the Oyster Perpetual collection, ranging from candy pink and bright yellow to turquoise blue (or Tiffany blue, if you prefer). These colourful takes on the normally fairly austere entry-level Oyster Perpetual have proven to be wildly popular.
Back in the 70s and 80s, Rolex offered a similar selection of colourful options, which they termed ‘Lacquered Stella’ dials. These modern renditions have also been called ‘Stella dials’ by Rolex fans because of this.
Alternatively, it could actually be a stone dial – an orange opal, for example – and it could be Rolex teasing that they want to bring back precious stone dials, which would be even bigger news. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see next week…