The countdown to the Rolex Baselworld 2018 releases is upon us, and whilst in previous years all the speculation has been about which models we’d like to see next, this year there’s significantly more concern about how long we will have to wait to see them. With waiting lists for the most desirable models so long that many authorised dealers have stopped adding names to them, and the range of models that command a waiting list forever expanding, ownership of the latest releases often comes with a long wait or a considerable premium. One’s things for sure, there won’t be a shortage of demand for whatever new timepieces the Rolex Baselworld releases bring us.
With the steel ceramic Daytona being introduced at Rolex Baselworld 2016 and the Steel Sky-Dweller following close behind at Rolex Baselworld 2017, most of the models we have been longing for are now with us. This years rumours approaching the show have been more about which models are coming to the end of their production run. As ever the Rolex Deep Sea Blue is a candidate. As a special commemorative edition, it is expected that this model will only run for a short period of time so could this be the year we see an end to production?
So how about a more surprising model to be discontinued? There have been weeks of speculation that the Rolex Submariner Hulk is about to end production but lately there has also been talk of an end of one of the most iconic pieces in the entire Rolex stable, the Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN. Availability of the Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’ 116610LV has become very scarce and demand has increased significantly, easily outstripping the volume demand for its normally more popular cousin the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’. Are these signs that production numbers are being run down and there is an element of ‘in the know’ money chasing the last few available? We’ll find out shortly enough.
If the end were to come for the Rolex Submariner as we know it, would this be the beginning of the end for the Submariner? Surely not! Far more likely is that we’d see a new Rolex Submariner 126610LN take its place. Given the recent introduction of a red Rolex Sea-Dweller, could the Submariner follow in its path?
As well as an updated dial adorning the iconic red SUBMARINER font, we would expect the new Submariner to take advantage of Rolex’s new calibre 3235 movement, increasing the power reserve capability from 48 to 70 hours. Other design features may include a sleeker, more refined case in keeping with the new Day-Date 40 and Datejust 41 models. Whilst it would be a brave move to toy with an already winning formula, should Rolex release a new Submariner it’s sure to be an instant hit and significant waiting lists will not be far behind it’s UK release.
Since the introduction of the ceramic bezel on the Rolex Daytona Everose gold 116515LN in 2011 and the 50th Anniversary Platinum Daytona in 2013 it’s surely just a matter of time until we see this welcome addition spread across the Daytona collection, and sure enough it found it’s way on to the long awaited stainless steel 116500LN model. So what’s next? Will we see the addition of the ceramic bezel onto the bimetal range of Rolex Daytona’s? And how about some new dials to go with it. Here’s what the new Rolex Daytona 116503LN might look like.
That almost completes the Rolex Daytona collection’s migration to ceramic bezels, with just the full gold pieces outstanding. Now it could be that we see just these models, just the bimetals, both, or none at all but we fully expect the migration path to continue and here’s our favourite versions of the full Gold Rolex Daytona’s in Everose, white and yellow gold.
Not too long ago there was very little demand for the Rolex Yacht-Master 40. The collection felt somewhat forgotten about and flagged behind the rest of the Rolex professional range. A newly released Rhodium dial and a few Everose options and the Rolex Yacht-Master has become a winner again. So how about the Rolex Explorer II? In our opinion this is the most underrated Rolex of all, but it feels perhaps in a similar position to that of the Yacht-Master a few years ago. The Explorer II’s 42mm case gives it a modern larger size and differentiation from other watches in it’s class. The 24hr signature orange hand is designed to let cave explorers tell whether it is am or pm, but can also function as a GMT hand or a solar compass. The collection could easily be reborn in the same way the Rolex Yacht-Master has been, and we’d love to see the rollout of ceramic bezels brought to the Explorer II and maybe even the addition of an Oysterflex strap, giving the owner an option to change as they saw fit. True flexibility for the avid explorer!
The final prediction for Rolex Baselworld 2018 is not so much a prediction, but more of a desire. The production of a two-colour ceramic bezel is in itself a huge engineering breakthrough, the kind of innovation that Rolex, as a brand have always led the marketplace on. How we love the blue black ‘Batman’ and admire the full white gold GMT ‘Pepsi’, but there’s another duo that we’d love to see come onto the market. The Black / Red combination would be a sure-fire winner on the stainless steel GMT, an instant hit at the centre of Baselworld. However, the detrimental effect this could have on the BLNR version of the GMT probably means we’ll have a long wait for this one to come to fruition. Nevertheless, we love it, and the last submission that we could possibly hope for is the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710RONR ‘Coke’ bezel.
So that’s it for another year, these are our best guesses but only Rolex know for sure what will be unveiled. Whether it’s something hotly anticipated like the Ceramic Daytona of 2016, or a surprise package like the 2017 Tutti Frutti Yacht-Master, there’s bound to be something for everyone.