Rolex has just announced their 2020 releases. After the cancellation of BaselWorld due to COVID-19 (both health and safety related as well as economic), the crowned watchmaker picked September 1st as the date to show the world what they’ve been working on.
I know it seems like years ago at this point, but you may remember that many Swiss watchmakers closed their manufacturing facilities for a couple of weeks back in March in order to limit the spread of the virus. If the employees had gotten sick on the job it would have surely delayed these releases even more, so it was a win-win from both a containment point of view and for us watch lovers’ benefit.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!
The new Rolex 2020 Catalogue
New Oyster Perpetual 41
For the first time, Rolex has introduced a 41mm version of their Oyster Perpetual model (reference 124300), and with it, a vast range of dial colour configurability. The layout of the dial has changed ever so slightly compared to the existing 39mm version, in that now we have double indices at the 3-6-9 positions, just like the ones on the 36mm dials.
LIST PRICE 2020: €5,600
These Oyster Perpetual colourways (above) are offered in the following sizes (mm): 41, 36, 34, 31, 28. Configure yours here.
New Sky-Dweller Oysterflex
Now, the Sky-Dweller has hopped onto the Oysterflex strap bandwagon, and is the third model in Rolex’s sports watch lineup to sport this industry-leading rubber configuration. This upgrade is exclusive to the yellow gold – Ref.326238 and rose (Everose) gold models – Ref.326235, probably serving to “lighten up” the piece. Indeed, an all gold case and bracelet might get a little too heavy for a sports watch: this is a good option to reduce overall weight. The steel version instead remains unchanged (still sports the Oyster bracelet).
LIST PRICE 2020: €38,350
LIST PRICE 2020: €39,750
New Submariner 41
So, what’s new? Surely the dimensions of the case in Oystersteel: 41mm for a sports watch like the Submariner could get a little large. For years now, many collectors and Rolex enthusiasts around the world had been hoping for the return to the dimensions of the 5-digit references (16610, 16610LV…). The oversized lugs and crown guards of the current lineup – dubbed “MAXI” cases – never really got much love, but in this case it would appear that these lugs are slightly reduced.
Also making its debut is the new in-house cal.3230, the successor to the historic caliber 3130, which has powered this model since 1998.
LIST PRICE 2020: €7,750
New Submariner Date 41
The new Submariner Date 41 also sports an all-new caliber: the 3235, successor of the 3185, another powerhouse of a movement introduced by Rolex back in 1998.
Nope, that’s not a spelling error. The rumours of the Hulk 116610LV going out of production turned out to be true… so enter its successor: the new Submariner Date 41mm – ref. 126610LV. It’s already been given the Cermit nickname, as it’s a combination of a Ceramic bezel with the Kermit colour scheme that was used to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Submariner.
LIST PRICE 2020: €8,750
Enter the new Submariner Date 126619LB in white gold to replace the ref. 116619LB. But hold your horses, this isn’t a new Smurf, this one sports a black dial. Despite this, Rolex decided to keep the white gold as the case material, following a dissimilar path to the Sky-Dweller (which switched from white gold to steel in successive iterations).
LIST PRICE 2020: €38,000
Both for the steel-gold and all yellow gold models, in our opinion, the biggest talking point it the change in dial for the “blue” versions: the finishing and the colour harken back to the old 16613s or 16618s. Another small detail (for the keen and trained eye) lies in the indices: they are enclosed exclusively in white gold – no longer in the same metal as the case.
LIST PRICE 2020: €13,700 and €35,400 respectively
New Datejust 31
Last but not least, three new dials were presented for the Datejust 31mm. Aubergine with diamonds, Mint green and white with roman numerals.
LIST PRICE 2020: €15,400 (diamonds) and €7,650
Some will remark that Rolex is lacking creativity and imagination when it comes to new releases, using the fact that it’s not the first time that the brand releases pieces that are very similar to models of the past to back their argument up. For example: look at the “re-issues” of the Freccione, the “red writing” Sea-Dweller and the “Vignette” Day-Date).
Now that the overall effective (or, perceived wearing) dimensions of the case have increased, particularly for the Submariner, there is some uncertainty about how well it will be received by both purists and the casual Rolex customer. One thing’s for sure… we can’t wait to try these on and see for ourselves!
-Translated by Patrick R.