Rolex is a rare luxury watch brand that's a household name. While almost all other watchmakers are niche suppliers to an esoteric hobby, Rolex is a bluechip property with recognition rivaling Apple, Disney, and Ferrari. Tonight, Tim Mosso discusses the 2023 Rolex watches with historical context, fact files, and speculation about the future. Tonight's show is dedicated to Rolex, watchmaking's most famous brand name.
Consider how much Rolex has changed just in the last year. A 60th anniversary Rolex Daytona collection brought both display casebacks and the spectacular 2023 Rolex Daytona Le Mans (126529) with its neo Paul Newman dial. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual and Day Date collections gained outrageously flamboyant "celebration dials" and controversial colorful "emoji dials." Rolex has announced a "Rolex Certified Preowned" program for used watches of three years or greater age. And not one but two new Rolex watches have been released in titanium: the Sea Dweller Deepsea Challenge (126067) and the Yacht Master 42 RLX titanium (226627)
The 2023 Rolex Perpetual 1908 (52508 and 52509) marks a return to dress watches after the discontinuation of the former Rolex Cellini Line. Still 39mm and available only in gold, the new Rolex dress watches adopt a modified "Explorer" dial with tri-Arabic numerals and small seconds. The display caseback is new along with a Rolex caliber 7140 that includes a Siloxi silicon hairspring and special refinements suitable for a sapphire caseback. Tim finds the Rolex Perpetual 1908 easy to like but hard to love, and he wonders whether Rolex should confine its dress watch ambitions to lower volume haute horlogerie watches of greater refinement and scarcity.
Tim discusses the Rolex Submariner (126610 and 124060). Despite its historic status as the single most prominent Rolex watch model, the still fresh 2020 Rolex Submariner redesign seems lost amid the recent attention to the Daytona, GMT-Master II, and even the Oyster Perpetual. The once-definitive Rolex watch celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023, so Rolex must be planning a spectacular second-half calendar year debut to mark this momentous anniversary. The Rolex Submariner remains the world's most famous watch and the face of Rolex, so expect something unprecedented to cap seven decades. A full platinum Rolex Submariner or a first-ever rose gold Sub could fit the bill.
Finally, Tim discusses the future of Rolex watches. Now that it has a dedicated restoration shop (Rolex Atelier) operated at a handcraft level, Rolex should consider expanding this level of attention to low-volume halo models. Historically, Rolex offered grand feu enamel, cloisonne enamel, minature painting, and bespoke dials. All of this should be revived. Further, Rolex's historic catalog of complicated watches encompassed moonphase, complete calendar chronograph, split-seconds chronograph, flyback chronograph, and deadbeat seconds complications. The future Rolex watch collection should incorporate these heritage mechanicsms. For good measure, a revival of luxury electronic watches - quartz chronometers or self-contained Rolex atomic wrist clocks - would round out Tim's ideal Rolex catalog of the future.
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