It’s finally here! Whether you’re going to be on the ground at this year’s Watches & Wonders trade show in Geneva, or following along on social media, spring is the season for new releases from all the major watch brands. The rumor mill is churning at full speed, and watch fans the world over are eagerly awaiting the new watches. Watch fairs, wishes, and rumors aside, today I’m presenting three watches that, in my opinion, are in dire need of an update.
1. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711
You probably heard the news loud and clear last year: the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is being discontinued! Even so, that didn’t stop Patek Philippe from releasing a variant of the Genta legend with an olive green dial shortly after the announcement, which, of course, was then also discontinued. In honor of their 170-year relationship with Tiffany & Co., Patek Philippe recently released a special edition 5711 with a Tiffany Blue dial. The watch has a limited run of just 170, the first of which was auctioned off for a whopping $6.5 million.
That means there is no longer a standard stainless steel model of the iconic 5711 in the current catalog. While the watch may be out of reach for myself and many other watch enthusiasts, one thing is for sure: The watch world needs a successor to the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711; preferably one in steel with the characteristic blue/black dégradé dial. This legendary timepiece is just too important for the watch industry. It goes without saying that such an icon shouldn’t be messed with too much, i.e., the case and bracelet should remain intact. Nevertheless, there is some room for improvement if a successor were to enter the scene. The manufacturer should improve the robustness of the clasp. Obviously, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711’s replacement should also be outfitted with a new, state-of-the-art movement with no less than a 70-hour power reserve. That’s really all you need to make fans happy. Patek Philippe’s president Thierry Stern recently hinted that fans of the brand will have a few surprises to look forward to this year. Is the release of a steel successor to the 5711 just around the corner? Or should we expect something completely new from the Genevan brand? Only time will tell.
2. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M is without question one of the most exciting divers of our time. That being said, I still think it’s high time to update this diving icon. I’m not talking about technology here (though Omega could tweak the power reserve slightly); overall, the Omega Seamaster 300M is well-equipped, technically speaking, and makes many competitors, including much more expensive ones, green with envy. I do, however, think two things need updating: first, a new ceramic bezel with an improved feel. You can’t turn the current bezel with much precision, and it feels somewhat cheap to use. This really doesn’t do justice to the otherwise fantastic Omega Seamaster 300M, and it feels like it just doesn’t belong on a watch in this price range. A ceramic bezel with better functionality and an improved haptic experience would definitely be a welcome update to this Omega diver.
The second major point of criticism, in my opinion, is the steel bracelet, which urgently needs some attention. It is widely accepted that the Omega Seamaster 300M cuts a fine figure on a rubber strap. The reason why so many fans opt for the strap, however, isn’t just because of its sporty look, but rather because the steel bracelet isn’t particularly popular. Many wearers find the aesthetics somewhat outdated. I would love to see a steel bracelet closer to the one that comes with the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Wouldn’t that be great? I think it would pair beautifully with the Omega Seamaster 300M, and it would only further enhance the fresh, modern look of the Seamaster 300M. There is no question that sooner or later this icon will be updated, but is this the year Omega will unveil the new and improved diver?
Ha! Did you think I missed the release of the new green Omega Seamaster 300M? No way! However, even with this new release, I still think the Omega Seamaster 300M is due an update. I was obviously hoping for a version with an updated band and bezel – my two major points of criticism for this model, about which other watch fans agree with me. The manufacturer has instead essentially released the same watch with a new dial color, which, in my opinion, isn’t really an update at all, but rather an “addition,” as Omega likes to call it.
3. Rolex Milgauss
There have been persistent rumors about a potential discontinuation of the Rolex Milgauss for at least two years now, but, lo and behold, the model is still with us. To be honest, I’m not really sure why. I find the Rolex Milgauss both outdated and poorly proportioned. In exaggerated terms, it reminds me of a blown-up Rolex Datejust without the date. That being said, the lightning bolt second hand is definitely an interesting and iconic addition. It was even a distinctive feature of the very first Rolex Milgauss from 1956. Speaking of the original watch, wouldn’t it be great if Rolex unveiled an update of the Milgauss based on the 1956 design? I could imagine a new Milgauss with the choice between a white or black dial. Both would feature a black ceramic bezel with a red triangle to coordinate with red dial accents and the iconic lightning bolt second hand in the same hue.
My imaginary new Rolex Milgauss would look great on a brushed Oyster bracelet to underscore its tool watch nature; though I could also imagine a fully polished exterior would suit this extraordinary Rolex icon to the ground. When it comes to technology, however, Rolex would have to pull out all the stops. In an era when Omega outfits their watches with Co-Axial movements that are anti-magnetic to 15,000 gauss, the new Rolex Milgauss needs to up its game. Rolex should follow suit and offer at least as much as its Biel-based competitor. My must-have list includes magnetic resistance up to 15,000 gauss, a power reserve of at least 70 hours, and water resistance to 150 m (492 ft). While the current Milgauss has a reputation as the ugly duckling in the current Rolex family, an update along these lines would likely change the hearts of many watch fans. What do you think about bringing the original 1956 look to the modern era? I think it would make for a very interesting new release and offer a breath of fresh air to the watch world. Or would it be too much? Then perhaps a 40-mm Rolex Milgauss with a domed bezel and red accents would also do. In typical Rolex fashion, that would offer a slightly less daring update to the current version.