New Rolex Watches 2017 – Basel Roundup
With the state of the watch world today, journalists and retailers were understandably a bit apprehensive leading up to the Baselworld show. Would the brands be cautious with new introductions in these uncertain times?
Rolex, our perennial favorite, stepped up to the plate and did not disappoint. The brand presented new models in its iconic Oyster collection, masculine pieces with specialized functions at the forefront.
Headlining the new Rolex models is the Sea-Dweller, from the Oyster collection. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the watch, and it was updated this year to a 43 millimeter size that packs a solid punch on the wrist. Rolex fitted this Sea-Dweller with a new in-house movement, the 3235, which has earned the superlative chronometer certification, is anti-magnetic and has a total power reserve of 70 hours. How low can you go with this deepsea watch? A whopping 4000 feet underwater. (Read more about dive watches here.) The dial features the name Sea-Dweller in red, a reference to the first model 50 years ago. Also a first this year is a cyclops lens over the date aperture at 3 o’clock.
Another new seafarer this year is the Rolex Yachtmaster II, with updated hands and dial for enhanced readability. Designed for professional sailing regattas, the watch still features its unique countdown chronograph that can be set for any time between one and 10 minutes. The watch’s bracelet is the classic Oyster style, with solid metal links adding to the overall strength of the watch. Also designated a superlative chronometer, this watch is a tough competitor.
Back on land, Rolex collectors will appreciate the newest iteration of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. For the first time, the Daytona is now available on a rubber strap, dubbed the Rolex Oysterflex. The strap combines the sporty soft touch of rubber (actually elastomer) with a super-sturdy inner core made of highly flexible metal for strength. The strap is fitted with a deployant clasp that matches the color of the case: 18 karat yellow, white, or Rolex’s patented Everose rose gold. Like the new Sea-Dweller, the watch’s dial features the name Daytona in red. Returning features on this double-pusher chronograph include the tachymeter scale on the bezel and black subdials.
Other developments from Basel include a range of ‘mid-price’ models from several noteworthy brands, including Breitling, Longines and Hublot. They are responding to the drop in high-end sales with quality pieces that reward the serious watch collector, not just the bling-bling crowd. As embellishments that have little to do with chronology have pushed prices through the roof in the past years, we applaud the return to thoughtful design and more reasonable prices that invite new buyers into the watch world.