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Rolex Baselworld 2017

A Complete Guide To All The New Rolex Releases

Rolex Baselworld 2017 is here! It’s that time of year again when Rolex enthusiasts start to feel like a small child in the run up to Christmas, waiting in anticipation to see what new gifts might be bestowed upon to us. Rolex have been providing us with the usual teasers on their website but finally, the big unveiling arrived and once more Rolex delivered!

The manifest brings us a total of 37 new individual pieces, within 11 new models in 8 different collections. Some were expected, and have been successfully predicted in the usual series of mock ups, but there were also some significant surprises. I’d like to bring together everything you need to know about each one of the 37 delights being brought onto the market by the world’s No.1 brand.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600

Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

First introduced to us in 1967, it was inevitable that Rolex Baselworld 2017 would bring us a 50th Anniversary Rolex Sea-Dweller. The Sea-Dweller collection has always had a more somewhat purist following for its more professional aspects over the more commercially heralded and somewhat iconic Submariner, but this is probably the most surprising of all the new models. The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 has been increased to 43mm in diameter, features the addition of a cyclops lens, and sees a return to the ‘single red’ paying homepage to the first ever Sea-Dweller. The size increase to me makes perfect sense. Rolex currently produce 3 diving watches – The submariner, the Sea-Dweller and the DeepSea. Whilst the DeepSea is significantly different from both the existing Sea-Dweller & Submariner in case size, in my opinion it was a mistake to introduce the Sea-Dweller 3 years ago as a 40mm watch, as it does not give enough differentiation from the Submariner which is also 40mm. With the retirement of the 116600 and the introduction of the 126600, the Rolex ‘Diving collections’ are nicely balanced with the 40mm Submariner, the 43mm Sea-Dweller and the 44mm Deep Sea.

An innovation that will be sure to upset more than a few fans of the Sea-Dweller is the addition of the cyclops lens. Personally, for me I find the cyclops a beneficial addition although many prefer the clean clear lines of their sapphire crystal to be without the interruption of the additional contours that cyclops brings.

This release seems to raise an interesting dilemma on the future strategy for the Sea-Dweller collection. As an anniversary timepiece it would be reasonable to expect that this model will only be in production for relatively short period of time, but given that the 126600 has been introduced to replace the 116600 rather than run alongside it, the Sea-Dweller’s next evolution seems unclear. Also, given the retirement of the 116600 after only 3 years any current owners of this model could find themselves in possession of a valuable asset in years to come given the limited numbers produced.

Description Model Reference Dial Type Price
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 Black £8,350

The Rolex Daytona 116515LN 116518LN & 116519LN

Rolex Daytona 1166518LN - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

Ever since the introduction of a ceramic bezel to the Rolex Daytona collection in 2013 on the Rolex Daytona 50th Anniversary Platinum 116506, we have known that the Daytona would be embarking on a journey where all models with a metal bezel would be replaced with a new ceramic surround. Last year at Baselworld 2016, the long-anticipated release of the Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel 116500LN was an overwhelming success, with waiting lists for the model being quoted at longer than ever before and premiums to acquire the model running into several thousand pounds over retail price. Last year also saw the discontinuation of the yellow gold 116518 and white gold 116519 models with no replacement model put in place, whilst the Everose gold 116515LN (which already benefited from a ceramic bezel) continued to be offered for sale as part of the Rolex catalog. In 2016 we predicted the introduction of a yellow gold ceramic Rolex Daytona 116518LN and a white gold ceramic Rolex Daytona 116519LN, but it never came. Surely this year would be the year?  Well, kind of! What we all thought would be a simple roll-out took a meaningful change in direction when Rolex introduced the Oysterflex rubber bracelet on the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655.

You have to wonder if this was always part of the plan for the Daytona, but given that the Rolex Daytona Everose 116515LN was produced on a leather strap, my feeling is that the success of the new Oysterflex rubber bracelet on the Yacht-Master has led to this new direction for the  Rolex Daytona, and has maybe paved the way for other sports models to have future releases in tandem with the new Oysterflex bracelet.

With the introduction of the new models, all Rolex Daytona 116515LN’s on leather bracelets have been discontinued and replaced with their Oysterflex counterparts. The yellow gold and white gold models feature just one dial option where the Everose gold model has had the full range of 116515LN dials incorporated including the popular chocolate dial and the luxurious pink baguette diamond dial. Here’s the full range: -

Description Model Reference Dial Type Price
Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Oysterflex 116518LN Champagne & Black £20,200
Rolex Daytona White Gold Oysterflex 116519LN Steel & Black £21,050
Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex 116515LN Ivory Coloured £21,050
Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex 116515LN Black & Pink £21,050
Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex 116515LN Pink & Black £21,050
Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex 116515LN Chocolate Arabic £21,050
Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex 116515LN Pink with 8 Baguette and 3 diamond hour markers £25,650

The Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 & 326934

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

One day it was going to happen, we’re just all very surprised that that day came so soon! The most complex of Rolex watches was introduced to huge acclaim in 2012. A mechanical masterpiece with an annual calendar that (provided you keep the watch wound) only needed to set once a year on 1st March,  due to it’s fantastic ability to recognise the difference between a 30 and a 31 day month. A watch that due to its enhanced engineering excellence, would only be manufactured in 18ct gold. That is until now!

In 2016 we made a ‘tongue in cheek’ prediction that Baselworld would see the introduction of a steel and gold Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933, but we never really believed that Rolex would give this fantastic timepiece a wider spectrum of affordability by seeing it’s flagship model being produced in anything else other than the luxury of full gold. Well, just 12 months later at Rolex Baselworld 2017, not only have Rolex brought us the Rolex Sky-Dweller Steel & gold 326933, but they’ve also kicked of production of the Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 in stainless steel. Surely this must be the biggest surprise of the 2017 Rolex release’s! So why have Rolex made their flagship timepiece more affordable? Maybe there’s a new collection planned but we’ll have to wait for Baselworld 2018 to find out!

In total there are 3 Rolex Sky-Dwellers going into production in Steel & gold and 3 in steel. Here’s the full range released by Rolex at this year’s show: -

Description Model Reference Dial Type Price
Rolex Sky-Dweller Steel & Gold 326933 Black £12,600
Rolex Sky-Dweller Steel & Gold 326933 White £12,600
Rolex Sky-Dweller Steel & Gold 326933 Champagne £12,600
Rolex Sky-Dweller Stainless Steel 326934 Black £10,600
Rolex Sky-Dweller Stainless Steel 326934 White £10,600
Rolex Sky-Dweller Stainless Steel 326934 Blue £10,600

With just £200 difference between the price of a Rolex Daytona steel & Gold 116503 and the new Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 there’s sure to be some difficult decisions ahead!

The Rolex Datejust 41 126300 & 126334

Rolex Datejust 41 126334 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

From the most surprising of the Rolex Baselworld 2017 releases to the one we all feared was on it’s way. The Rolex Datejust II has always been a firm favorite at Global Watch Shop, and so it was with a heavy heart we said goodbye to the Rolex Datejust II Steel & Gold 116333 collection in 2016, especially when we learned that the Roman numeral dials were not going to be recreated in the newly evolved Datejust 41. Don’t get me wrong, we have nothing against the new Datejust 41 range (we especially love the Everose chocolate combinations, and the introduction of jubilee bracelets) but did we really need to put an end to the widely-loved Federer dial?

So on to its steel companion, and firstly the discontinuation of the Rolex Datejust II 116300 & 116334 models. The Azzurro blue Roman is sadly no more as the Rolex Datejust 41 collection has expanded across the stainless-steel estate to see the introduction of a Rolex Datejust 41 126300 (smooth bezel) and Rolex Datejust 126334 (white gold fluted bezel) again without the option of Roman numeral dials. We hear at Rolex there is an appetite to keep the gents classic Datejust styling to just baton or diamond hour marker options so do not anticipate the reintroduction of Roman numeral dials anytime soon, unless of course sales numbers dictate a change in strategy for the brand.

Now the bad news is out of the way, let’s take a look at what the new Rolex Datejust 41 stainless steel collection does have in store. Firstly, as expected we see the jubilee bracelet introduced to the larger of the Rolex Datejust family, but, in a surprising move, the dials that are available with the oyster bracelet are not available with the jubilee bracelet and vice versa. There’s also the introduction of a more luxurious mother of pearl diamond dial with the 126334, but again only with the jubilee bracelet. Is this to make the collection more appealing to a female audience? With the fashion of many women now looking at watches with bigger dials and moving away from the smaller models we’re sure this is produced with the female wrist in mind. Here’s a full breakdown of the 9 new Datejust 41’s available in Stainless Steel: -

Description Model Reference Dial Type Bracelet Type Price
Rolex Datejust 41 Smooth Bezel 126300 Black Oyster £5,450
Rolex Datejust 41 Smooth Bezel 126300 White Oyster £5,450
Rolex Datejust 41 Smooth Bezel 126300 Dark Rhodium Jubilee £5,500
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 Blue Oyster £6,900
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 Black Diamond Oyster £8,350
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 Rhodium Diamond Oyster £8,350
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 Silver Jubilee £6,950
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 Blue Diamond Jubilee £8,400
Rolex Datejust 41 White Gold Bezel 126334 White Mother of Pearl Diamond Jubilee £10,450

The Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680, 116681, 116688 & 116689

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

Rolex Baselworld 2017 beings no new models for the Rolex Yacht-Master II collection, but instead all four Yacht-Master II models receive a face-lift through some updates to the dial and hands. What motivates Rolex to produce these updates? We’re not entirely sure but the dial now features a triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock and a rectangular hour marker at six o’clock. The blue hands have also disappeared to be replaced by the standard pairing with enhanced luminescent found as standard on the professional range of Rolex watches.

Description Model Reference Price
Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel 116680 £13,700
Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel & Everose Gold 116681 £18,500
Rolex Yacht-Master II Yellow Gold 116688 £32,050
Rolex Yacht-Master II White Gold 116689 £35,350

The Rolex Lady-Datejust 28  279160 & 279174

Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 279160 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

Another predictable change at Rolex Baselworld 2017 brings the all steel Lady-Datejust models in line with the rest of the Rolex Lady-Datejust family. Baselworld 2016 saw the introduction of a new range of 28mm bimetal, and all gold models, leaving just the stainless steel 26mm siblings in production. The introduction of the Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 279160 & 279174 at Rolex Baselworld 2017 sees the stainless steel Lady-Datejust constituency brought in line with the rest of the collection, meaning the smallest timepiece available from Rolex has increased from 26 to 28mm. There has been a long running movement towards larger watches for both gents and ladies, and one can only assume that dwindling demand for the smallest of Rolex Lady-datejust collection has prompted Rolex to act.

As with the Rolex Datejust gent’s collections there has been a slimming down of the range of models on offer with just 3 dial colours available. Rolex seems to have decided that a 279160 smooth bezel Lady-Datejust on an Oyster bracelet is complimented by Roman hour markers, whilst a smooth bezel on a jubilee bracelet is better suited to a baton hour marker display. For the 279174 Lady-Datejust with fluted white gold bezel the opposite seems to be true. The models presented on an Oyster bracelet are complimented by a baton hour marker display, whilst the Jubilee bracelet on this model is paired with Roman numeral hour markers. Here’s a complete view of the models available:-

Description Model Reference Dial Type Bracelet Type Price
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Smooth Bezel 279160 Pink Roman Oyster £4,650
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Smooth Bezel 279160 Silver Roman Oyster £4,650
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Smooth Bezel 279160 Dark Grey Jubilee £4,700
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Fluted Bezel 279174 Pink Oyster £5,450
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Fluted Bezel 279174 Silver Oyster £5,450
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Fluted Bezel 279174 Dark Grey Roman Jubilee £5,500
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 Fluted Bezel 279174 Silver Roman Jubilee £5,500

The Rolex Cellini Moonphase 50535

Rolex Cellini Moonphase 50535 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

Moving away from the Oyster Professional range for a moment, we take a look at the somewhat more classical Cellini where Rolex Baselworld 2017 brings us the introduction of a new complication. Only available in rose gold the new Rolex Cellini Moonphase benefits from the additional moonphase indicator on a blue enameled subdial with the full moon being depicted with it’s own piece of genuine space and time history through a single application of meteorite as it moves through the lunar cycle.

The model puts me very much in mind of everything I love about IWC. Whilst the moonphase indicator isn’t perhaps as intuitive as the IWC Portugieser , the Cellini Moonphase shares all the perfected micro detailing that IWC has to offer. The date indicator through the crescent shaped climax to the 4th blue hand is just beautiful and finishes this most stylish addition to the Rolex Cellini collection perfectly. We look forward to future additions to the Cellini Moonphase family, with perhaps the introduction of a platinum blue model!

Description Model Reference Dial Price
Rolex Cellini Moonphase 50535 White £19,650

The Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 & 268621

Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655 - Rolex Baselworld 2017

 

Finally, a couple of new models that Rolex seem to have tried to sneak in under the radar! There’s no place on the Rolex website homepage for these 2 additions the Yacht-Master family, no fanfare around the release, and seemingly no glossy Rolex Baselworld 2017 introduction video. The Rolex Yacht-Master 37 268621 seems quite a simple addition completing the range by mirroring the Yacht-Master 40mm 116621 with the ever-popular combination of Everose gold and a Chocolate coloured dial. The second release however seems ingrained in mystery. The Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655 can surely only have been deemed to be a success since it’s release at Baselworld 2015. The Oysterflex rubber bracelet has become so popular that this year Rolex have added it to their Daytona collection and retired all leather straps.

Seemingly the next move would be to produce a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116658 in yellow gold and a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116659 in white gold, an obvious natural progression! Here’s where the curve ball comes, in the shape of 32 sapphires, eight tsavorites and a single diamond at. The new Rolex Yacht-Master 40 with brightly coloured rainbow gem set rotating bezel strides boldly into the Yacht-Master 40 collection and despite very little noise being made by Rolex about the model, this fun filled timepiece has created its own waves.

With no place on the Rolex website, and no information available on pricing many asked the question as to whether Rolex had been hit by the recent craze of creating ‘fake news’ but confirmed sightings at Rolex Baselworld 2017 show ensure this colourful timepiece will find it’s way on to the wrists of a lucky few over the course of the next year and beyond.

Rolex Yacht-Master 37 268621

 

Description Model Reference Dial Type Price
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Gem Set Bezel  Oysterflex 116655 Black TBA
Rolex Yacht-Master 37 268621 Chocolate £9,500

Over to you

So, there you have it, 37 new individual Rolex watches from Rolex Baselworld 2017 to purvey over, including 11 new models spread over 8 collections. A significant year’s work for the Rolex R&D and engineering teams. As always, following a release we have a while to consider our favourites whilst they start to flow through onto the market. We’d love to know about your highlights from Rolex Baselworld 2017, and maybe what didn’t quite hit the spot, as well as anything that was missing. Onward to the 2018 show……..