Find coverage of all the best new releases from Watches & Wonders here.
It’s Christmas morning for watch collectors. Rolex just announced its calendar of new releases for 2023 on the first day of the industry’s biggest trade show, Watches & Wonders. The Crown’s new releases are always the most anticipated by collectors. Every year people try and predict what Rolex will do, and every year they are wrong. My early impression of the brand’s new pieces: Rolex is having fun this year. Here are the new releases from Rolex.
A very sultry Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Rolex typically isn’t the type of brand who blows things out for a watch’s birthday, but the Daytona isn’t just a drinks-and-dinner type of timepiece. For the watch’s 60th anniversary, the brand has completely revisited the line. And, for Rolex, which prefers to make changes incrementally, that means there are “subtle refinements” to the dial and case, according to a press release, and a new movement. Those subtle refinements include smaller hour markers and a lil’ crown at 6 o’ clock. The new movement, the Daytona’s first since 2000, adds new functionality, like the ability to “measure intervals of time.”
Only the most desirable color combinations are part of the revamped Daytona line. The showstopper is the platinum model with an ice-blue dial and irresistible chocolate bezel. Other color combinations include the black-and-white “Panda” dial and a lot of gold: gold dial with a black bezel, gold bezel with a white dial, and rose-gold-everything with a black dial.
A very luxe GMT
The revamped Daytona will steal headlines but the watches I’m gravitating towards initially are these golden versions of the GMT-Master II. The leader in the clubhouse of Watch I’d Sell My Soul For is the full-gold GMT. While the GMT usually sports a bright two-tone bezel in famous configurations like the red-and-blue Pepsi or blue-and-black Batman, this new model takes a subtler approach. The bezel is still two toned but pairs black with… less black. One new version comes on a “Rolesor” bracelet—meaning a combination of gold and steel—and the other is made entirely out of gold.
The GMT was invented as a sporty watch for Pan-Am crews in the ‘50s but this a very upgraded take on that original model. While that watch was built for commercial flying, this is a GMT designed for the PJ.
The most fun Day-Dates ever made
Judging by the standards of most watch brands, the new lineup of Day-Dates is pretty out there. By Rolex’s standards, they are completely off the wall. We’ve rarely ever seen anything from the Crown like its new jigsaw Day-Date. The watch’s dial, which comes in light blue and mandarin orange, features an image of a jigsaw puzzle and the hour markers are made out of a Haribo-pack of baguette diamonds.
This is a watch that completely embraces our current new-age wellness era. The Day-Date typically uses the window at top to display the day of the week and the aperture at 3 o’clock to show the date but who needs to be on time for appointments when you have this watch? The new Day-Date coasts entirely on vibes. Really good ones: the day window now rotates between affirmative words like “Happy,” “Eternity,” “Gratitude,” “Peace,” “Faith,” “Love,” and “Hope.” The date window also shows a new emoji, like a heart, every day. Isn’t that sweet?
The other trio of new Day-Dates each have dials made out of stone. There’s an emerald-colored dial in aventurine, a real sparkler, and another with a veined turquoise face. The winner for me is the full-on orange dial cut out of carnelian. It’s a watch so orange you want to eat it over the sink.
A light-as-heck Yacht-Master
The big development here is mostly invisible to the eye. The Yacht-Master now comes in titanium, a material that is getting increasingly more love in the Rolex catalog. In November, the Crown released the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge, a mammoth 50-millimeter watch made out of the super-light material. The product was the result of long-tested concept watches. Eagle-eyed collectors spotted a version of this very watch—the titanium YM—on British sailor Ben Ainslie all the way back in 2021. Now, the watch finally gets a full production run.
A bubbly Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual is always where Rolex seems to let loose with color and design—think of the colorful OPs from a few years ago or the frond-laden dials of 2021. That’s no different in 2023. The new version of the OP comes with multi-colored bubbles bouncing at the bottom of the dial. If you liked the turquoise, coral, mustard yellow, and forest green Rolex used for those fan-favorite OPs from a few years ago, you’re in luck. Rolex just put them all those bright shades on the same dial.
A totally new watch
Most of Rolex’s releases are riffs on pre-existing classics. Rolex has so many perpetually sold-out and iconic models—the Submariner, GMT, Daytona, etc.—there’s typically no need to reinvent the wheel. Yet that’s just what the brand’s done this year with the new 1908. The watch is Cellini-esque in that it reads much more formal and elevated than many of Rolex’s beloved sport models. It’s interesting to see Rolex, the king of the sport watch, put another foot into the world of dressy pieces. That black-dial version of the 1908 is sure to show up on plenty of red carpets this year.
The Crayola box is empty
Rolex did not hold back on color this year. There is a new movement baked inside here, which, Rolex promises, is even more technically proficient than the one that came before it but I’m mostly excited by the Sky-Dwellers’ new exteriors. The newcomers to the line come with a teal or mint-green dial. I love learning about Rolex’s different codes, like only platinum watches can have that ice-blue dial. Rolex is constantly reworking those rules, though. Previously that shade of mint green was reserved only for the Datejust but it loaned it out for this new Sky Dweller.