Every year, the entire watch universe eagerly anticipates the unveiling of the new Rolex models. This time around, expectations were high, as the Rolex Daytona is celebrating its 60th anniversary. And Rolex did not disappoint. The Geneva brand introduced a brand-new Daytona collection. We were also presented with a 40-mm Explorer, 42-mm titanium Yacht-Master, two GMT-Master models (one in gold and one in their gold and steel Rolesor). All in all, there’s plenty to discuss, so without further ado, let’s take a look at the Rolex releases for 2023.
The New Rolex Daytona Collection
This year marks sixty years since Rolex introduced the first Daytona. To celebrate this special occasion, Rolex unveiled a brand-new Daytona collection, which introduces a new movement and evolutionary design to the classic watch – a move that many people will consider a great step forward. This latest generation of Daytona watches will replace the current Daytona collection, which has been part of Rolex’s catalog since 2016. Well, I have to be more precise: the stainless-steel models have been part of the Rolex portfolio since 2016. The first of that generation of Daytona models was actually introduced in 2011 with the ref. 116515. And two years later, Rolex introduced the famous 50th anniversary model in platinum, with an ice blue dial and brown bezel. So, the stainless-steel models were somewhat late to the party. That said, they quickly became the most popular Rolex models in the collection and, at their peak, changed hands on Chrono24 for roughly three time their MSRP.
This week, Rolex presented a completely new Daytona collection. The novel Daytona features a redesigned Oyster case that still measures 40 mm across but feels more balanced than its predecessor. Furthermore, the dial was redesigned, and now features slimmer hour markers and subdials. The bezel also got a makeover, with the edges of the bezel executed in the base material of the watch. With the ceramic bezel inlay having a metal outer ring, the design creates a distinctly different feel. Along with the aesthetic update, Rolex also introduced the in-house caliber 4131, which succeeds the caliber 4130, the brand’s first in-house chronograph movement. The caliber 4131 boasts an increased power reserve of 72 hours. The movement also got an upgrade in terms of finishing: For the first time ever, a Rolex sports watch gets a see-through case back. However, this applies only to the platinum version with the ice blue dial. But what Rolex has done with the movement looks stunning.
The new Daytona will be available in stainless steel, yellow Rolesor (a combination of stainless steel and yellow gold), yellow gold, white gold, Everose, or rose gold and platinum. As you’d expect, there is a wide variety of dials for the different versions. The various models also come on either an Oyster bracelet or an Oysterflex strap. However, since most of us are interested in the iconic stainless steel model, some details: The new reference for the two stainless steel models is the ref. 126500, and the watch still comes with a white or black dial and a list price of just over $15,000. The Daytona looks great and is a nice evolutionary step forward when it comes to design and movement, and will bring renewed and even greater relevance to the Daytona name.
The New 40-mm Rolex Explorer
A surprise addition to the Rolex Explorer line-up this year comes in the form of the new stainless steel 40-mm model. It doesn’t replace the 36-mm model, but is rather a welcome addition to the Explorer collection. Not that long ago, Rolex chose to discontinue the 39-mm Explorer and focus solely on the 36-mm model, which was first introduced in stainless steel and later made available in a combination of steel and gold. However, for the countless people who love the Explorer but have larger wrists, the 36-mm version is too small. That’s what makes the new 40-mm Explorer such a great addition to the lineup. The new model with the ref. 224270 has a redesigned case and features a black lacquered dial. Inside, Rolex equips the watch with its own caliber 3230 with Superlative Chronometer certification. This means the timepiece has an impressive accuracy of ±2 seconds per day and a 70-hour power reserve. This Rolex Explorer 40 will be available for $7,700 and is sure to be a big hit.
The Titanium Yacht-Master 42
It wasn’t all that long ago that Rolex introduced its first fully titanium model, the impressive Deepsea Challenge. Now that watch is getting a successor, of sorts, with the new titanium Rolex Yacht-Master 42. The watch comes with a 42-mm RLX titanium case and bracelet. In superlative Yacht-Master fashion, the watch is fitted with the classic bezel featuring raised black numerals against a matte ceramic bezel insert. The combination of materials creates an almost understated presence that looks absolutely stunning. Inside the titanium case, Rolex equips the Yacht-Master with their in-house caliber 3235, which powers the other Yacht-Master 42 in white gold as well as the Rolex Sea-Dweller, among others. The combination of the titanium case and bracelet with the black dial and black ceramic bezel will undoubtedly be a hit for Rolex. The timepiece brings to mind the aesthetic of the Submariner, but in a more refined way, and comes with a price tag of $14,600.
Two New Rolex GMT-Master Models
Two fresh faces are joining the ranks of the Rolex GMT-Master collection. The first is a two-tone watch in yellow gold and stainless steel, the second in yellow gold. Both models measure 40 mm across and feature a new black and gray bezel insert with gold numerals, a black dial, and come on a Jubilee bracelet. The bezel insert needs some getting used to, but I have to say, both timepieces look impressive paired with their Jubilee bracelets, in combination with the many yellow gold elements. The models are powered by the tried-and-true caliber 3285, which also powers the other GMT-Master models. The two-tone model will set you back $16,450, while the solid gold model demands an investment of $38,900.
The New Rolex Sky-Dweller Collection
Another completely new collection has appeared on the horizon: the new Rolex Sky-Dweller collection. The line-up of models features an updated case and dial design and a wholly new movement. The Sky-Dweller still measures 42 mm in diameter and comes in a variety of materials: white or rose gold, and stainless steel and yellow or white gold. The watch is available on an Oysterflex strap, or Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. Furthermore, the Sky-Dweller offers a broad selection of dial colors. The new models are powered by Rolex’s state-of-the-art caliber 9002. The 9002 succeeds caliber 9001 and optimizes the movement that displays the Saros annual calendar and second time zone. Prices for the beautiful white Rolesor version in white gold and steel start at $15,650; prices for the other models go up from there. But the white Rolesor with the green dial is an absolute peach, and is sure to be a great success for the brand.
The New Rolex 1908 Collection
The last collection we want to highlight is the Rolex Perpetual 1908 collection. This classically-styled line will replace the brand’s Cellini collection, which was never one of the brand’s commercial highlights. With the new 1908 models, Rolex also presented the new Perpetual collection, of which the new 1908 models are a part. The 1908s are a series of watches with a traditional look and a neat size of 39 mm, available in yellow gold or white gold. Rolex offers the watch with a black or white dial featuring numerals at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock and a small seconds at 6. These timepieces are slightly bolder than the Cellini in terms of design, and bring a breath of fresh air to the brand’s dress watches. The 1908 is powered by the Rolex caliber 7140, which boasts 66 hours of power reserve. The two variants in yellow gold cost $22,000, whereas the two white gold models are slightly more expensive, with an MSRP of $23,300.
Along with the wide variety of new models in this article, Rolex also presented new versions of the Day-Date 36 (with diamond bezels) and Oyster Perpetual (in 31 and 36 mm, with colorful dials).
After last year’s rather underwhelming announcements, Rolex blew us away this year with a series of great new releases that are sure to keep people talking for weeks to come. My personal favorite is the titanium Yacht-Master, which will be a hit with people looking for a refined twist on the Submariner aesthetic. Plus, the Daytona collection is sure to dominate news channels and social media for the upcoming weeks: that comes with the territory, when you’re the biggest watch brand in the world — a brand that keeps surprising us with its brilliant (re)evolutions.