Watches & Wonders takes place from April 7th to April 13th, and Rolex will debut their 2021 releases at the show.
Every year, the speculation about what Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Omega, and other top-selling brands might release always leads up to show. And while this year’s show is different in that it’s all digital — the pre-show discussions are effectively the same.
We’ve already suggested that Tudor may release a new Oysterdate Chronograph, to try to replicate the incredible success achieved by the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Moreover, the steel Daytona chronograph by Tudor’s parent company is the hardest Rolex wristwatch to attain brand new — on planet Earth — so why not extend that success to the lower price points.
Much of the Rolex speculation this year has focused on the potential release of new Explorers. This seems likely based purely on how Rolex has historically (predictably) introduced changes to their watch collections. Plus, both Explorer models are in line to receive an updated Rolex movement sooner than later. With the Explorer II, in particular, a ceramic bezel would give the watch a completely new aesthetic — while adding a novel option for dealers to satisfy the unquenchable demand for Rolex’s professional models.
All of this said, the Cosmograph Daytona remains Rolex’s hottest watch (based on secondary resale and availability). So we don’t think an entirely new Daytona design, or movement, will happen. Not to mention, the chronograph caliber 4130 is the second most complicated movement made by Rolex (the Sky-Dweller’s caliber 9001 is the most complicated), which presumably means it’s one of the hardest to re-engineer. However, many of the current precious metal Daytonas, still retain the old school solid metal bezels.
While the demand for precious metal Daytonas is sky-high — like the steel versions — progressing the collection is inevitable. Maintaining sales momentum for any product — even the legendary Porsche 911 — requires some level of newness. I’d wager that the remaining precious metal bezel Daytonas will get discontinued in favor of ceramic.
Amongst those precious metal Daytonas, the reference 116508 with an 18K yellow gold case and bezel and a green dial, is one of the most coveted models. One reason is that celebrities such as John Mayer and Jonah Hill have brought attention to the green and gold Daytona in recent years. As counterintuitive as it may seem — that Rolex would nix a reference that’s so popular — it’s part of their formula for success.