Baselworld 2016 saw the arrival of the new stainless steel ceramic Daytona, a new range of Yacht-Master 40’s and a reborn Rolex Air-King. 2017 was the year of the steel Sky-Dweller, the Daytona on Oysterflex, and the anniversary Rolex Sea-Dweller. The 2018 Rolex Baselworld releases will be remembered for the release of one particular model above all else. 2018 is the year of the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’.
With approximately 153 combinations of new watches available for 2018 and around 25 combinations of new dials on existing models there are significant changes to the Rolex catalogue this year, and that’s before we start to talk about the watches that have had their production discontinued. Global Watch Shop is proud to bring you the most comprehensive review of them all in ‘The ultimate guide to the 2018 Rolex Baselworld releases.
Highlighted by the ‘Rolex teaser’ in the days running up to the Baselworld show, the new Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ stands proudly front and centre amongst the full collection of new models with a retail price of £6,800. The reintroduction of the ‘Pepsi’ in stainless steel has been much touted since the introduction of the BLNR ‘Batman’ in 2013 and subsequent white gold Pepsi in 2014. No one really believed it would happen, primarily due to the lack of differentiation from the aforementioned models, but Rolex clearly had a desire, and a plan to overcome these concerns. With the new 126710BLRO only being available on a Jubilee bracelet and the 116710BLNR only on Oyster there is a clear demarcation between the two stainless steel models, but what about the white gold 116719BLRO? Although the white gold model is also only available on an Oyster bracelet, Rolex have taken an extra step of updating the dial to a new blue version for further aesthetic differentiation. The price of the 116719BLRO has also been reduced from £28,150 to £26,950 to bring it in line with the price point for the new everose gold 126715CHNR.
The new series of 12671x GMT-Master II’s have had the case sides and lugs redesigned and they all benefit from the updated 3285 calibre movement with an improved 70hr power reserve (increased from 40hrs), a feature you’ll see that’s consistent throughout the 2018 Rolex Baselworld Releases.
Altogether we have 3 new Rolex GMT-Master II’s in steel, steel & Everose, and in full Everose gold. The bimetal and Everose models also come with a two colour bezel chocolate brown and black bezel (CHNR) as well as an updated dial for the 116719BLRO.
|Description||Model Reference||Dial Colour||Price|
|Rolex GMT-Master II Stainless Steel ‘Pepsi’||126710BLRO||Black||£6,800|
|Rolex GMT-Master II Steel & Everose||126711CHNR||Black||£10,350|
|Rolex GMT-Master II Everose Gold||126715CHNR||Black||£26,950|
|Rolex GMT-Master II White Gold||116719BLRO||Blue||£26,950|
Another model to benefit from the new calibre 32xx range of movements is the slightly redesigned Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller. As a special edition released outside of the traditional Baselworld unveiling the ‘James Cameron’ was a favourite to be discontinued, but the updating of the model and allocation of a new reference has signified that Rolex consider there to be plenty of production time planned for this model yet.
Both the James Cameron Blue dial and the black dial versions of this model benefit from a calibre 3235 movement which has been updated with a number of improvements, the most obvious being the new 70hr power reserve. The Deepsea is one of the early benefactors of the new range of movements by Rolex and surely this leads the way for future new releases of Rolex collections with the new and improved movement inside.
Additional updates for the new Deepsea 126660 include a marginally wider bracelet, slightly thinner tapered lugs and a clasp sized to accommodate the new bracelet dimensions. Besides the welcome addition of the new movement, the Deepsea remains very similar to the previous model with just some minor tinkering by Rolex and a slight increase in retail price.
|Description||Model Reference||Dial Colour||Retail Price|
|Rolex Deepsea ‘James Cameron’||126660||Blue / Black gradient||£9,300|
A revival of the previously released Rolex Daytona ‘Rainbow’ see’s Rolex bring us a true showcase Daytona. The name ‘Rainbow’ comes from the 36 baguette cut colour graduated sapphires set into the bezel, complimented by 11 baguette cut colour graduated sapphire hour markers and 56 diamonds set into the lugs and crown guard.
In 2012 we saw a previous ‘Rainbow’ Rolex Daytona produced in both yellow and white gold, with diamond instead of sapphire hour markers. The difficulty in acquiring suitably colour matched gemstones for these models ensured a short production run with both versions being quickly discontinued. This in turn gave a rarity value to the ‘Rainbow’ that sees them sell for prices much more than their original retail value, an indicator of how we can expect an investment in the 2018 Rolex Daytona 116595RBOW to perform? With a retail price of 93,000 Swiss FR the number of people in a position to be able to purchase this watch will be limited, but so will be the supply making this the most difficult watch to acquire from all the 2018 Rolex Baselworld releases.
|Description||Model Reference||Dial||Retail Price|
|Rolex Daytona Everose gold ‘Rainbow’||116595||Black & Gold Crystals set with Sapphires||93,000 Swiss FR|
The Rolex Datejust 36 is another model that has moved to the next generation of Rolex movements, again with a slight redesign to the case sides and lugs giving it a slightly more refined feel. All models containing yellow or everose gold have migrated to the new design, with the new model reference in a move that will surely see the stainless steel models follow suit at Baselworld 2019. A new range of dials have been added to the Rolex Product catalogue including colours not previously seen on the Datejust 36. There is a total of approximately 102 new options in the Rolex Datejust 36 range, with all models available on both the Oyster and Jubilee bracelets. For a full list of retail prices please see our pricing reference page here.
As with the Datejust 36, the migration of the Rolex Datejust 31 to the new generation of movements has started but this time only with the full gold pieces. There are 44 new Datejust 31 models in yellow, everose and white gold replacing the previous full gold models. At the time of writing white gold models are only available with a diamond set bezel and a president bracelet whilst the everose gold models are available with a smooth or diamond bezel with a Oyster or President bracelet. The yellow gold models are available with either a fluted or diamond bezel on either the Oyster or President bracelet. For full pricing information on the new Datejust 31 please click here.
Amid the fanfare that surrounds the new models, there are usually some additional changes to the Rolex catalogue that go somewhat unnoticed initially, although some can be quite significant. At GWS we’ve been eagerly reviewing the collections that have haven’t been mentioned in the press releases and we’ve found some surprising changes. We’ve already told you about the updated blue dial on the white gold GMT-Master II but here’s a few others you may not have spotted yet.
A complete cease to production of the full range of dials on the all gold models, replaced with a new range of colours and baton only hour markers. That is except for the white gold Sky-Dweller which has been discontinued completely.
So it’s a sad end to the popular combination of everose gold and chocolate, as this will no longer be available on the Rolex Sky-Dweller after the existing stock within the Rolex Dealer network has been exhausted. Will this cause a potential rush to grab one before it’s too late, or will we see the popularity drift towards the new range of colours. Only time will tell! Prices for the range of Sky-Dwellers remain unchanged.
When Rolex first migrated their Datejust II range to the new series of Datejust 41 models they seemed to have left behind the most popular steel & yellow gold combination, the much heralded ‘Federer’ dial. Whilst it looked like Rolex had taken a decision to discontinue production by excluding the option from their product catalogue, slowly rumours started to surface of a new Datejust 41 ‘Federer’ and sure enough, back it came into the range. Was this the strategic plan for this model or did Rolex underestimate its popularity? Whatever the reason it’s back with us now and it appears the esteem within which it was held has led to it’s rollout across other models within the Datejust 41 estate. A new range of Federer options have been born making the watch available on stainless steel and steel & everose gold Datejust 41’s. Combinations of smooth or fluted bezels and Oyster or Jubilee bracelets are available, so if you’re a fan of the Fed, there’s a Datejust 41 for you!
Lastly, we turn to Rolex’s entry level offering, The Rolex Oyster Perpetual. A perfect watch for those looking to get their first foot on the Rolex ladder. With options from 26 – 39mm each size has a range of colours giving the model its own distinct personality which has become the key feature of the collection. Not a fan of the bold red grape or the distinctive olive green? Rolex have now added the choice for a black or a white dial to every size option in the collection.
So that’s it for another year, the main changes for Rolex Baselworld 2018 have been the introduction of the new GMT ‘Pepsi’, the rebirth of the Daytona ‘Rainbow’ and the continuation of models being migrated to the new 3200 series movement, whilst having their case slightly refined in the process.
There’s a clear signal that we’ll see more sportsmodels benefiting from the 3200 series movement at Baselworld 2019 (with a newly designed Submariner maybe?) as well as the Datejust collection continuing on a similar path.