Baselworld 2016 - A Rolex Launch Preview
Thinking about buying that new Rolex you’ve always promised yourself? Concerned that you might make the jump ahead of Rolex offering something new? Baselworld 2016 is the event you should be looking to. With this year’s show - the single most important for the world’s luxury watch market - fast approaching, here’s our view on what you should be looking out for.
What Is Baselworld 2016?
The Baselworld 2016 show takes place on 17th to 24th March. If you’re not familiar with the event, let me explain why it will be of interest to you. Baselworld describes itself as ‘The running premier event for the watch and jewellery industry’. While I find it hard to disagree, the Baselworld PR office makes an even grander claim on its website, that ‘Baselworld is universally recognised as the most important showcase event for the sector’.
Whether Baselworld is the most important event is up for debate, but personally, I can’t recall an event that carries the same level of significance. Why? Well, for one thing, Rolex - the biggest volume luxury watch manufacturer of them all - chooses Baselworld to showcase new models. These timepieces will quickly become the hottest, most in demand timepieces of the year. With anticipation building around the latest releases, we’ll take a look here at the potential models that Rolex could bring to us at Baselworld 2016.
Previous Baselworld Events
Every year we look forward to the prospect of a new range of Rolex models, and every year we come away with plenty to talk about. In recent years, Rolex has almost exclusively revealed its new models at the annual Baselworld trade show and Baselworld 2016 will be no different. Here’s just a few of the most significant new releases given to us over the last few years at the Baselworld event.
So what comes next? Well it’s all guesswork at this stage, but surely that’s part of the fun isn’t it? You can be sure the Rolex design teams and watchmakers have been hard at work in preparation, but just maybe they’ve left us a few clues along the way. Let’s take a look!
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Every year this one seems to be on the Baselworld agenda and once again the build up to the event is full of chatter about a new Daytona with a ceramic bezel. The evidence is there too, with Rolex’s premier collection continuing to see a shift away from metal bezels and onto the more robust Cerachrom scratch-resistant ceramic. Additions to the Daytona ceramic revolution include the 116515 (Everose on leather) and 116506 (platinum), which both now carry the ceramic look. We’ve also seen the yellow & white gold Daytonas on leather straps both discontinued in the last year. So is there a new ceramic Daytona on the cards? It seems a strong possibility, but which Daytona could it be?
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel 116520LN
Potentially the most popular evolution in the Daytona collection would be the introduction of the ceramic bezel on the stainless steel model. Even at this stage, there is a body of pent up demand for a steel ceramic release, but it would be a bold move by Rolex to interfere with probably the most iconic and in-demand timepiece of them all. Would this be a step too far? Here’s what a ceramic bezel stainless steel Daytona could look like, does it work for you?
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116518LN & 116519LN
With the yellow and white gold Daytonas on leather straps being discontinued and the Everose gold model with a ceramic bezel already in production, is it too obvious that we might see these new models unveiled at this year’s show? Take a look and tell us what you think.
A new GMT-Master II?
In 2013, with the introduction of the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ (116710BLNR), Rolex created an innovation that was previously thought to be impossible. The 2 colour Cerachrom ceramic bezel marked a significant breakthrough and paved the way, predictably, to create a new look for an all-time classic. The following year the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ was born, produced in the luxurious yet understated precious metal of white gold.
This brings the question of where Rolex will take this innovation next. Is the introduction of the modern classic ‘Pepsi’ the peak of the Rolex design team’s dual colour bezel magnificence, or is it merely the beginning of a new range of GMTs? A stainless steel ‘Pepsi’ at Baselworld 2016 would be a real gift to us and - given the huge demand for the ‘Batman’ - the introduction of a ‘Pepsi’ in stainless steel would have the phones at Rolex boutiques ringing off the hooks. But would this detract sales from the more expensive white gold model? I think so, so unfortunately I think it’ll be a longer wait, but a dual colour GMT-Master II of some kind is a distinct possibility.
Sky-Dweller Steel & Gold
I’ve heard many Rolex devotees talking about this and there is little doubt that a bi-metal release from the latest of Rolex families would be a massively popular addition to the collection. However, considering the expense of creating and manufacturing the most complicated movement ever produced by Rolex, I suspect will see this collection head on a similar path to the Day-Date family and retain the exclusivity of precious metals. Will this be the case, or are we likely to be treated to a bi-metal Sky-Dweller 326933? Here’s how it might look if we are.
Yacht-Master 40 White / Yellow gold
At Baselworld 2015, Rolex breathed new life into the often forgotten Yacht-Master family. The introduction of the rubber ‘Oysterflex’ got heads turning as the only Rolex to be produced on an original rubber bracelet, with the Everose gold Rolex Yacht-Master 40 (116655) and the ladies Yacht-Master 37 (216655). Would it be too early to build on that success? With the collection itself being personified by its luxurious ‘on deck’ presence, surely any additional Yacht-Master would only at this stage be a further production in either white or yellow gold. Will we see a Yacht-Master 116658 and 116659 unveiled at Baselworld this year?
A new Rolex Collection?
It’ll be the fourth anniversary of the birth of the Rolex Sky-Dweller collection, a watch famed for being the most complicated in production by Rolex with its automatic, annual calendar movement. It was 5 years prior to this when Rolex debuted its previous new collection, the Yacht-Master II. Could we be getting to a stage where a new collection takes centre stage? There is little to indicate this possibility, but we could only expect this to be a heavily guarded secret. Off course we’d love to have the opportunity to step out with a brand new collection on our wrists in time for summer, but for this we’ll just have to wait and see.
So mark the dates. The Baselworld 2016 show takes place from 17th to 24th March, and we’ll eagerly await whatever announcement Rolex plan to deliver to us. The possibilities are almost endless, but we’d love to hear which of the potential new models highlighted you’d like to see going into production post Baselworld 2016, or if there’s something different you’d love for Rolex to bring. Use the comments box below and tell us exactly what you think. Give us your hopes and predictions, you may just be the one who told us all first!