World news – 5 things we could see from Rolex in 2021


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An update for the Explorer II’s birthday seems likely, but what exactly would that look like?

This year, Rolex will present its new watches on April 7th. Let the annual whirlwind of hype, speculation, rumors and general hoaxes surrounding the releases of the Swiss brand begin. In fact, the predictions started weeks ago, but the official release time is just around the corner – and we can’t help but check out the Great Rolex Guessing Game.

Never mind that the rest of the watch industry is now making its major announcements too since all of this seems insignificant in comparison. With the demise of Baselworld, Rolex is now taking part in the growing Watches & Wonders trade fair (formerly known as SIHH), which of course takes place virtually.

Although Rolex releases are guarded like state secrets until their great revelation, we don’t go blind: the brand’s strategy has recognizable cycles and patterns, and the collective know-how of the internet has produced new products with notable levels in the past Accuracy predicted. Teasers help too. While nothing is certain, here are some likely releases we might see, some we’d like to see but probably won’t, and some shots in the dark.

After widespread speculation that the Explorer II would be this year’s big announcement, that was essentially confirmed by a teaser video the brand released last week that featured close-up shots of dials and images from caving – the Activity for which the watch was intended. How could Rolex ignore the 50th anniversary of this popular sports watch launched in 1971? The fact that it received an update 10 years ago for the 40th anniversary is just one more reason to expect something new for the 50th anniversary. But what kind of updates could we see?

Just when it got a new movement in 2011, the Explorer II is ripe for a movement upgrade again – and this has been the treatment other collections have recently received. New movements, new bracelet options and an optimized case size are the most popular ways for Rolex to update a model. Currently at 42mm, it would be surprising if the Explorer II got bigger, and it doesn’t seem likely to shrink either – considering the brand isn’t leaning towards smaller cases like the rest of the industry after seeing the last year The size of the key models had increased.

Aesthetic, vintage and vintage-inspired is commonplace in the watch industry, and even Rolex is not immune to it. Could a new Explorer II bring back clues from the original reference 1655? The current design is clear and reflects the core elements of Rolex’s sports watch identity. So it would be surprising if the Mercedes handset and dot hour markers were replaced by the baton hands and indices from the 1655. Rather, the brand could allude to the vintage model in more subtle ways, such as tweaking the dial text and fonts.

Other sports watches in Rolex ‘ »Professional » collections (Submariner, Daytona, GMT Master II, etc.) have been featured multicolored dials and golden cases. Something like that just wouldn’t fit the Explorer II as the collection has continued to focus on the tool watch’s roots. It is therefore hard to imagine how new models can be visually differentiated.

But that shouldn’t stop us from exercising our imaginations and thinking about what a cool update could be for the beloved cave explorer’s watch. Here are a couple of Spitballs: What about a black ceramic bezel? It would change the look of the Explorer II, which always had a steel bezel, but it could just match its character. Or … what if – what if – the famous orange highlights of the watch were also available in blue or Rolex green?

This seems entirely plausible as a second publication. After all, Rolex releases new models in multiple collections every year, even though it usually focuses on a single collection when it makes its big announcement. There have been completely unfounded internet rumors about a Blue Bezel Daytona that would be expected in a precious metal like platinum. Chic or exotic new versions of the Daytona wouldn’t come as a surprise, especially if other collections satisfy consumer cravings for 904L stainless steel.

Often times, Rolex focuses on a specific collection for its major updates. While it’s a very different watch from the Explorer II, it’s interesting to imagine the simple, often-overlooked Explorer getting an upgrade. As one of the historic entry-level sports watches from Rolex, the Explorer is facing a new movement and deserves a little attention.

A modern interpretation of the honeycomb dial of the original would just be so damn cool to cause a sensation and all the vintage craze to use – if you amuse my imaginative thinking. But that’s why this isn’t going to happen: it would be a relatively big step for a brand that is notoriously conservative, and Rolex tends to save the limelight for one release at a time. If it did, 2023 would be cheaper than an anniversary of the original (honeycomb-elected) Explorer from 1953. Something like a change in diameter or a version with a white dial (like the Explorer II offers) seems more likely.

In recent Years ago, more Rolex sports watches were offered for anniversary bracelets, so the Submariner feels like a candidate for this treatment. Although it emerged from its use as a diving tool, it is long out of date that this function is more commonly used as a status symbol today. Experience all the « unusual » versions with cases in gold and dials in different colors: They go perfectly with an anniversary bracelet with a relatively unusual feel instead of the straight-lined oyster. If Rolex goes this route, it will likely only be for certain high-end models (and not the steel-black dial classic), and they will surely pair it with something tasteful.

Rolex gives and Rolex takes away. Although not considered current by the masses, the Rolex cycle also means that some watches sometimes quietly fade away. The brand doesn’t want to be a mess of overlooked models and more options than anyone can keep track of. (We look at you, Seiko). It is difficult to predict which production will be discontinued and there may simply be certain variances within the collections. In terms of major possible crashes, poor old air king has often stayed in the shadows. It should probably either be updated or retired. It could also be retired for now to come back for its – yes – anniversary as a brand new refreshment in six years.


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