08.07.2021 - Rolex

Rolex at Baselworld 2018: The New Watch Collection

The past month has dragged for many of those in the watchmaking community. Everyone has lingered around his or her phones, computers and tablets, waiting in anticipation to hear confirmed news about the watch releases from this year’s second major watch fair, Baselworld 2018.

This year, the rumours and gossip seem to focus heavily on one particular brand, and that brand is (unsurprisingly) Rolex. With so many reports circulating, it’s hard to know what exactly is true… that is until now!

Yesterday morning Rolex published it’s Baselworld 2018 watch collection for the entire world to see and it has not disappointed. Prior to the release, there were a variety of predictions, including one foreseeing a modern version of the GMT-Master II “Pepsi”. And as you can see from the photos below to the delight of the entire horological community, those predictions were true.

It’s all about the GMT…

Although Rolex is currently celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Submariner, it seems that this year, it’s all about the GMT.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II “Pepsi” Ref. 126710BLRO

The “Pepsi” has, for several decades, been a desirable collector’s piece, and this year’s version is very much a modern take on the vintage GMT ref. 1675. Updates to the classic design include a modified case/ lugs, and the use of a new and improved generation movement, Calibre 3285, which has even been made insensitive to any kind of magnetic interference.

Moving on to the aesthetics, the new “Pepsi” is the first of Rolex’s modern GMT’s to feature a Jubilee Oyster steel bracelet. The stainless steel five-link bracelet adds a touch of classic style and charm to a watch that has otherwise been modified over the years to appear sportier.

The GMT features a modern ceramic bi-directional bezel and 24-hour hand, which allows the wearer to keep track of a second time zone as well as their local time. A modern version of the vintage “Pepsi” has been a long time coming, and I can already predict that it will be extremely popular and do just as well, if not better than refBLNR (the waiting list is already mounting up!)

Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II in Everose and Oystersteel (ref. 126711CHNR) and Everose (ref. 126715CHNR)

Rolex has experimented with some pretty unique colour variations on the GMT models this year. The GMT Master II bi-metal and Everose gold, both feature a brown and black two-tone ceramic bezel, a colour combination Rolex has never attempted before.

Out of the two, I’d have to say that the all gold GMT wins my vote, probably because it’s the first all rose gold GMT that Rolex has ever commissioned, so its something new and fresh to admire. But the big question is this…will these models cause a stir of excitement among Rolex fans and collectors? I can’t be too sure, but I do think the “Pepsi” hysteria has overshadowed the other Rolex 2018 releases (which is a shame because there are some really phenomenal pieces!)

The Rolex 2018 collection

Another watch that is currently on display at Baselworld this week is the incredible 18-carat rose gold Daytona ref. 116595RBOW, embellished with an array of sapphires, diamonds and gems. Although very similar to its yellow gold counterpart, the all rose gold Daytona features something completely different; a new rainbow dial with gem hour markers all varying in colour.

The ‘rainbow’ Daytona is definitely one of Rolex’s more attractive and rather extravagant pieces (and it even has the hefty price tag to match too!)

Rolex has also added some new additions to its Datejust collection, including this rather eye-catching 31mm 18-carat yellow gold Datejust ref.278288RBR, which features a diamond set bezel and unique malachite dial (third across). Another addition includes the new Deepsea Sea-Dweller, with an improved calibre and slightly modified casing (far left).

Well, I think it’s safe to say that we have been, quite simply, spoilt for choice, and I am eagerly awaiting the day I come across one of these stunning watches in the flesh.

For a closure look at the new Rolex collection, as seen at Baselworld 2018click here. Otherwise, stay tuned for more Baselworld updates!