Editor’s Pick: Rolex at Baselworld 2019
Rolex is all about the detail and small changes make for a surprisingly large impact, as the Swiss watchmaker’s new designs reveal
The new GMT-Master II – far from being a new design, is an existing model that’s been subtly upgraded. These tweaks have caught the watch world’s attention, never mind that this ‘Batman’ (blue/black bezel) GMT-Master II has been given the same upgrades as the ‘Pepsi’ (red/blue) version had last year. The changes are straightforward enough, the movement inside being upgraded to the Calibre 3285 which provides better efficiency and durability thanks to new materials and internal architectures, while the bezel is now made with Cerachrome – Rolex’s proprietary ceramic – and the watch has the more vintage-feel Jubilee bracelet. While these are all worthwhile and, even, desirable upgrades, the most immediate effect for Rolex collectors will be its impact on pre-owned values for the previous model – the collectability factor rising, as that watch is now a finite quantity.
The new Yacht Master 42 shows that not every remix is as understated as the Batman: Rolex can usually be relied on for something a little more radical. Also featuring a next-generation movement, the watch is defined by the combination of black ceramic bezel, black lacquer dial, chromalight luminous treatment and white-gold case (it’s the first Yacht Master to be created in precious metal) – all together the mix gives the watch an overtly technical, contemporary feel.
Yellow-gold accents take the new Sea Dweller in a different direction. Rolex’s most extreme dive watch is water-resistance rated to 4,000 ft, but the addition of luxurious gold details to the dial, bezel and bracelet make the 2019 Sea Dweller more than the simple tool watch its predecessor was – though it’s performance in all conditions is still the defining feature. §