BaselWorld 2017: It is business as usual for Rolex
Walk into the Rolex booth at Basel and you would be forgiven for thinking that everything is hunky dory with the world watch business. Everything about Rolex exudes quiet optimism and restrained confidence. Business for this behemoth of horology seems entirely in a state of normalcy. While outside waves of chaos and trepidation seemed to be permeating booths, meetings and journalism, things at Rolex seemed calm and confident.
And why shouldn’t they be. Few brands dominate every aspect of their industry quite like Rolex does. And there are few brands that, let us be frank here, are under less pressure to innovate than Rolex is. The brand could easily rest on its laurels, year after year, as model after model flies off the shelves. And yet Rolex innovates. Each year it makes small and large changes to its portfolio, enticing customers constantly.
This year the brand launched seven new models.
A handy reminder, pun intended, of Rolex’s obsessive approach to making ‘professional’ wristwatches. The Yacht-Master II is targeted at sailors. Now this is not a clientele that is new to the world of watchmaking. Several brands make regatta watches. What makes Rolex’s approach interesting is the clever use of the Ring Command bezel system to set the timer along with pushers to synchronise and countdown the start of a yacht race. Not to forget, however, that inside the watch beats a world class calibre.
This year Rolex unveils three new variants of the great Cosmograph Daytona chronograph models. Each watch, brought up-to-date with the latest in Rolex tech, features an Oysterflex bracelet, and the 4130 calibre complete with column wheel and vertical clutch for precise operation.
The first Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller was released in 1967. And fifty years later Rolex launches a brand new iteration that incorporates all the latest in Rolex technology. Thus making it the most up-to-date version of arguably one of the greatest diver watches ever made. From the Cerachrom insert to the state-of-the-art 3235 movement, this watch has everything that makes it formidable in the sea and dependable outside it.
And we save the best for last. Rolex’s Cellini family stands apart from the signature Rolex collections for its singular, elegant design. And this year Rolex unveiled a new Cellini Moonphase. Moonphases are all the rage right now, but this is how you do it right. The Cellini’s versatile dial design easily incorporates a spectacular moonphase complication. The moon is made of a piece of meteorite. This is Rolex. They don’t take half-measures. A brilliant watch.
Two new variants in steel and gold, with slight upgrades for legibility, make this a hard to beat choice for the world travellers. Like the Yacht-Master II, this watch too uses the Ring Command bezel system to set date, home time and destination time. All of which is displayed with uncommon clarity.
Datejust 41 and Lady-Datejust 28
Ah yes. The classic Datejust. Is there a watch that is more instantly recognizable on the wrist? And this year Rolex presents variants in steel and steel-gold. Rest assured that everything else about the watch is as great as it has always been. A timeless classic. Now in steel. Also a subtle reminder of how a famously masculine watch brand also makes exquisite women’s watches.