Fratello Classics: 5 Rolex Watches Introduced at Recent Baselworlds

Rolex Sky-DwellerWhile SIHH is about to start, the watch industry is also getting ready for Baselworld. Every year, as soon as the doors of the exhibition open, there is a run (literally) on the Rolex booth to see what’s new from Geneva’s luxury-watch giant. Here’s a look back at some of the recent Baselworld Rolex introductions.

Although I’ve noticed only small — but innovative — changes at Rolex over the last few decades, I’ve also realized that, during the last few years, Rolex seems to be making more changes than in the decades before. These include the use of ceramics, the new bracelets with Easylink and Glidelock systems, a countdown chronograph complication (in the Yacht-Master II), an annual calendar (the Sky-Dweller), Everose gold, the Parachrom hairspring, new case sizes, et cetera.  True, there are brands with many more innovations and complications in that period, but for Rolex, this is more than what they did in the 1980s and 1990s. Whether you are a fan of Rolex or a “hater,” you’ve got to admit that its watches always seem to fit comfortably on any wrist, perform well, and — compared to a lot of other brands — are not even that expensive, considering what you get (an indestructible timepiece). Whether Rolex watches are as “interesting” as those from some other brands is a separate question that everyone must answer for him or herself.  Unfortunately, I suspect that many people still buy a Rolex simply because other people will recognize it. In any case, this week, we look back at some of the recent Rolex watch introductions from the past few Baselworld fairs. Here we go:

1. Rolex Sky-Dweller

Introduced in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller was part of the rumor mill long before its actual launch. However, no one (outside Rolex) expected the watch that Rolex showed on that very first day of Baselworld 2012. Its ingenious Ring Command bezel system enables the wearer to control the functions of the watch (date, local time, and reference time) in combination with the crown. This annual calendar watch was introduced in white gold, yellow gold and Everose gold. More on the Sky-Dweller can be found here.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

2. Rolex Day-Date

When Rolex updated the case diameters of its Datejust and Day-Date models from 36 mm to 41 mm, I didn’t expect them to introduce a new line of 36-mm Day-Date watches.  Last year, Rolex presented several Day-Date models on leather straps. Whether these are targeted only at women or also at men is not clear, but they have been provided with beautiful dial colors and matching straps. In all other areas, the watches remained unchanged compared to the original Day-Date. An overview of these new Day-Date models can be found here.

Rolex Day-Date

3. Rolex Yacht-Master II in Steel

Baselworld 2013 also saw the introduction of the Rolex Yacht-Master II in stainless steel. Although the all-gold and Rolesor (bi-color) models had already been on the market for some time, Rolex decided that it was time to offer this watch in its famous 904L stainless steel. This model also features the Ring Command system, to control the regatta-countdown timer function. More photos of this watch, and an explanation of the regatta timer, can be found here.

Rolex Yacht-Master II - Steel

4. Rolex Daytona in Platinum

Whether it was an official anniversary edition, or just a new variation to an existing model, the platinum Rolex Daytona was introduced in the same year that this iconic watch celebrated its 50th anniversary. Perhaps the most sought-after chronograph in the world, the Daytona is now available in a platinum case for those lucky enough to afford one. The blue dial and chocolate-colored subdials and ceramic bezel make a nice combination. More about this platinum Daytona can be found here.

Rolex Daytona - Platinum

5. Rolex GMT-Master IIBLNR

This watch for travelers and pilots was introduced in a blue-and-black combination in 2013. Although many expected, and perhaps hoped for a “Pepsi” model (blue and red), Rolex decided it was time to show the world its new blue-and-black ceramic bezel. To match the bezel, the GMT hand was done in blue as well (the black-bezel model has a green GMT hand). Although I have to admit I shrugged my shoulders at first when I saw this watch in the display, I have to admit that I am starting to like its look. For those who don’t know, the BLNR stands for Bleu and Noir (blue and black). More information about the Rolex 116710BLNR can be found here.

Rolex GMT-Master IIBLNR

The big question for Baselworld 2014 is — of course — What innovations (if any) will Rolex come up with this year? There are a lot of Rolex fans out there still hoping for that “Pepsi” GMT-Master II or a “real” successor to the good ol’ Sea-Dweller, apart from the huge Deepsea model. I am sure that you will be the first to know if you keep an eye on and its official Facebook page.

No Responses to “Fratello Classics: 5 Rolex Watches Introduced at Recent Baselworlds”

Show all responses
  1. My favorite Rolex is Charlie Sheen’s from 2 and a half men. Yachtmaster platinum. Price in Canada CAD 12 200 plus tax.

  2. I have a Green crystal Millgaus but the only other Rolex I would consider replacing it with is the 50th anniversary Daytona.

  3. Hormazdiyaar

    Rolex is undoubtedly a sturdy model and a great investment. The sky dweller is my favourite.

  4. iwan tarmat

    my top of the line daytona steel black dial after 1 year on waiting list from rolex AD in jakarta ….

  5. Colin Agar-Rea

    The only Rolex worth a mention would be the Deep Sea Dweller. Something you can see on your wrist, all the rest nice but too small. In my opinion. Colin.

    • Yes, the Sea Dweller look a tad beefier than the rest of the Rolex collection for men. That is the reason I will not purchase another Rolex because at 39/49mm the case is too small in my opinion.

Leave a Reply