Following on from the initial Rolex new releases 2022 teaser video, in the early hours of Wednesday 30th March, Rolex unveiled their entire release presentation for this year. Under the umbrella of 6 existing collections Rolex showcased a total of 163 new watches that enter into production for release to the market during 2022. In this article we'll present an overview of the additions to each collection and provide also provide a deeper dive into each collection as we prepare to move skywards with the new models.
As mentioned a total of 6 collections have been added to, and the spread of the 163 watches released can be seen below.
|Collection||Sub Collection||New Models|
|Lady Datejust 31||27|
|Lady Datejust 28||13|
Lets take a look at each collection, starting with maybe the most divisive, the new Rolex GMT-Master II
The fundamental building blocks of the new Rolex GMT-Master II are the same as the rest of the collection. A calibre 3285 movement with 70 hour power reserve, a 40mm Oyster case secured with a triplock crown, a secure Oysterlock clasp and a 2 colour monobloc ceramic 24hr bezel, with options on an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. The differences though are where the points of conversation have divided the fanbase of this long standing iconic Rolex collection.
Firstly, the new colour combination of the two tone bezel has received a mainly positive response. For the first time Green has been used on the GMT's bezel to represent hours of daylight, with the standard black upper segment representing night hours. As we've seen with all previous GMT releases a number of proposed nicknames being given to the watch based on the bezel colour, and the early leader follows the fizzy drinks theme seem on the Pepsi, and Coke GMT's with 'Sprite' seeming to be the name of choice.
The other, maybe more significant change see's the new Rolex GMT-Master II representing as the only model in the entire Rolex catalogue designed and manufactured specifically for wearing on the right wrist. Much to the disappointment of left wrist Rolex wearers, this model is left wrist exclusive! The crown & crown guards have been shifted to the left hand side of the case, and presumably to balance the reflective symmetry of the aesthetic, we see the date window & cyclops lens also transfer across to the 9 o'clock position. Whether Rolex will in future releases of this new GMT-Master II as a 'left wrist' option (or release other existing GMT's as a 'right wrist' alternative) remains to be seen, but for now right handers are left with the quandry of wearing our watch on the opposite wrist, or having the crown face away from our partnering hand, neither an ideal solution!
The Rolex GMT-Master II 126720 VTNR will be available with an Oyster bracelet with a retail price of £8,800 or a Jubilee bracelet with a retail price of £9,000, although market prices are expected to be in the region of £25,000 - £30,000 with lead time from release to market availability expected to be between 3 - 6 months.
Introducing a yellow gold variation into the Yacht-Master 42 collection was a largely predictable move for Rolex, but an additional white gold option was something that nobody saw coming. The expansion of the 42mm Yacht-Master case into the Rolex Yacht-Master 226658 Yellow gold could be indicative of the brands strategy for the collection, with the Everose model somewhat out of kilter at 40mm, with the rest of the Oysterflex models sitting at 42mm. This potentially leaves the door open for a future discontinuation of the 126655 Everose, and the introduction of a 226655 in a future release to give alignment across the collection. Whether this extends into the rest of the Yacht-Master 40 collection of stainless steel, and steel and Everose models remains to be seen.
The additional 'Falcon's Eye' dial option on the white gold model comes as a welcome surprise. The release of the Rolex Yacht-Master 42 226659 in 2019 has seen a somewhat muted response, with the popularity of the model amongst it's precious metal counterparts being largely underwhelming. Apart from the previous size differentiation from the rest of the collection the white gold model has been seen as a very plain option with no real personality of it's own.
However, this years introduction of an alternative dial option, in our opinion, breaths life back into the model and will prove to be a popular option going forward. Not much information has been published about the dial itself, but it is assumed to be a natural stone which will mean each one is unique and bear the hallmarks of an organic graduation of colours across the dial surface. Hopefully in future releases we'll see similar dial options on the Yellow, and Everose gold Yacht-Masters.
It appears that Rolex have taken the opportunity over the 'Prepare to move skywards' headline to provide cloud cover for an update to the Rolex Air-King. An upgrade was required to enable the Air-King to benefit from the enhanced capabilities of the new generation of Rolex movements and with the calibre 3230 now onboard, the Rolex Air-King now boasts a 70hr power reserve similar to most modern collections. Aesthetically there are changes too, the most obvious being the changes to the crown, and the addition of crown guards giving the case a more modern looking sweeping profile.
In addition to the this 3, 6 & 9 numerals have changed from being formed in full white gold, to encasing a chromalight lume, bringing this model into line with the Rolex Explorer which benefited from the same upgrade to it's hour markers in 2016. In all, a simple evolution but a necessary one. This of course will be a direct replacement for the now discontinued Rolex Air-King 116900. We don't expect to see any surge in values for the previous model based on this discontinuation
A small but significant breakthrough change for the Rolex Day-Date collection. In the initial new Rolex releases 2022 teaser video Rolex featured a view of platinum in its raw form followed by a very definite view of a fluted bezel. If you've ever owned a platinum Rolex Day-Date, ownership has come with the frustration of having the choice of either a domed bezel, or something heavily gem set. Fluted bezels have historically always been produced in gold, given the softer characteristic of the metal making it much more malleable, and therefore easier to work with. Not any more. Although a more difficult manufacturing process is required, Rolex's innovation has enabled them to finally be able to produce a fluted bezel in 950 Platinum, providing a wonderful platinum frame for the signature ice blue dial only seen on platinum Rolex watches. Partnering the selection of ice blue dials Rolex have also changed the seconds hand to blue giving a more complimentary style to the combination of Platinum and ice blue. The new Rolex Day-Date 40 228236 with fluted platinum bezel features a range of 12 dial options and includes baton, Roman, and gem set hour market options.
Rolex have also taken the opportunity to release a further 3 dial options in yellow gold, with the green Roman numeral dial already causing a significant stir. Each dial can be paired with either a fluted, round brilliant, or square diamond bezel setting and all can be seen in the quick snapshot video below.
Changes to the Rolex Day-Date have generally followed suit, with a fluted bezel now available on the platinum models plus new additions to both the Yellow, and the Everose gold range.
Of 163 new models released, 111 of them sit within the Datejust collection. There's no changes as such to the Datejust model, only an introduction of a number of new dials, or new combinations within existing models. The main focus of this years release in the Rolex Datejust category is the addition of patterned dial, included fluted, palm and floral motif as seen in the Rolex teaser video.
On both stainless steel, and steel & white gold models we see a new mint Green dial added to the collection. This is the same colour dial previously seen within the Rolex Lady Datejust 31 collection. Both the mint green, and the blue coloured dials are now available with a 'Fluted motif' pattern on stainless steel (126300) or stainless steel & white gold (126334) models.
Both the steel & yellow gold, and the steel & Everose gold Datejust 41's also see the addition of 'Fluted motif dials to the collections. Champagne paired with yellow gold, and the option of either silver or slate paired with Everose.
As with the Datejust 41, the Datejust 36 see's the addition of a mint green option. Every other addition to the Datejust 36 collection is either a 'Fluted Motif' or a 'Palm Motif' dial in the same colour scheme as the Datejust 41 above, but with some additional diamond dial and/or diamond bezel options.
A new 'Floral motif' diamond set dial is introduced across all variations of the Rolex Lady Datejust 31 with each material having a single dial colour available in the new design. For bi-metal watches, there are a full range of bezel and bracelet options. The full Yellow or Everose gold pieces are available only on a presidential bracelet with either a fluted or a full diamond bezel, and the stainless steel model is available with a fluted, scattered diamond or full diamond bezel.
Both the Rolex Deepsea black and the Rolex Deepsea blue have been updated as part of the new Rolex releases 2022 but have you spotted the changes yet? With Rolex only issuing a new release of the Deepsea as recently as 2018, this is as close as you will find to Rolex admitting that they got things wrong! Aesthetically you may notice that the bezel on the 2022 release is ever so slightly thinner, or that the date window is ever so slightly larger (8% in fact), or you may struggle to see the difference.
The major and possibly more unpopular change, especially amongst purists, is the removal of the Fliplock extension system. Fliplock provides an extra link which unfolds to allow the Deepsea to fit over a wetsuit with no tooling required. It could be argued that this feature was largely redundant anyway, with the Glidelock extension system also catering for the same need, and it is the Glidelock that will continue to serve the need for an extending bracelet going forward. It's not clear at this stage if the Deepsea version of the Glidelock will remain the same with the centre panel of the clasp lifting to allow for bracelet extension, or, maybe more likely, Rolex will look to consolidate the design into the same version used on the Submariner and Sea-Dweller. Whatever the outcome and the strategy for the collection going forward, it could be suggested that Rolex should have made these changes when the 126660 model was released back in 2018.
Identifying discontinuations from the Rolex catalogue can be more difficult than spotting the new Rolex releases. Effectively you're looking for something that's no longer there. There's no fanfare as with the new models, and no retirement send off, merely a page in the Rolex website that no longer exists.
There's huge interest in discontinuations as the end of production of a model can signify a serious uptick in value, but it's not always the case. There are generally three factors that affect future value after discontinuation, popularity, number produced, and replacement lines.
In this release we've seen above that the Rolex Air-king has been discontinued, and directly replaced with a new Air-King. With this direct replacement in place we do not expect to see any significant uptick in values of the discontinued model.
The Rolex Deepsea has also been discontinued and replaced with a new Rolex Deepsea. Again, with a direct replacement in place we do not expect to see any immediate uptick in value. However, the previous version of the Deepsea was only in production for 4 years, so there aren't huge volumes of them in circulation, especially the blue dial. If the retirement of the Fliplock proves to be a disappointment for Deepsea fans, there is potential for an increase in value in the future.
The discontinuation that holds the most potential for future increase in value is within the Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection. A collection, that in its current format has only been in production for 2 years. This provides security in the knowledge there are only limited numbers in circulation. Coral & Yellow dials have been discontinued completely, so no longer available in 41, 36 or 31mm and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Turquoise or 'Tiffany' dial (124300) , and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31 Candy Pink dial (277200) have also ceased production.
There's always a significant amount of hype around the new Rolex releases, and although it seems Rolex have made efforts to bring new models to market much faster after release over the last couple of years, there are some models from last year that have become even more exclusive with barely anyone having seen the new Rolex Daytona Meteorite dials from the new Rolex watch releases of 2021. Maybe more of interest through the 2022 release schedule will be what watches will be discontinued, and how this will impact their value going forward as this will directly effect those who currently own a piece removed from production. We'd love to know your take on the new Rolex releases 2022 and subsequent discontinuations, why not join the conversations with us on Instagram and let us know your views.