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ROLEX BASELWORLD 2017 – Predictions For The Novelties That Rolex Could Launch In 2017

| By Brice Goulard | 9 min read |
Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017 - Rolex New Watches 2017

It’s that time of the year again… In less than 2 months Baselworld will open its doors, revealing a myriad of new watch collections. Included among them of course will be the new releases from Rolex for 2017. Today we’re featuring what has become something of a recurring game for us here at Monochrome. Just like we did in 2016, 2015 and 2014 we’ve spent the last few weeks guessing what could be the Rolex Baselworld 2017 Collection? This is the question we’re trying to answer today. What could be Rolex 2017 Novelties? After long debates based on our own expectations, analysis of the Rolex catalogue and data compiled from discussions at several watch forums, here are the watches that Rolex could potentially launch at Baselworld 2017. Keep in mind, these are just predictions. Nothing is official.

Looking back at 2016, Rolex introduced several novelties, including one that would become the star of Baselworld, the Daytona Ceramic Steel 116500LN, a watch that many collectors had been hoping and praying for and that we, at Monochrome, predicted here and here. There was also the new Datejust 41, with a new movement and a slimmer case, something that we also predicted. While we may have been right on certain predictions though, the 2016 collection also brought several unexpected watches, such as the slightly redesigned Explorer (simply a killer, even if the changes were minimal, but proving nonetheless that Rolex can admit its faults) and the Air-King with colorful Pilot dial (such a watch coming from Rolex was clearly impossible to imagine and many are still suspicious about it). So yes, Rolex can be predictable in some ways but we’ll also have to allow for a bit more “funkiness” now that the brand seems to be not-so-conservative anymore. With all that in mind, here are our Rolex Baselworld 2017 Predictions.

Rolex Baselworld 2017 – Rolex Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary Gradient Green

Rolex Sea Dweller 50th anniversary Gradient Green Dial - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

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2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of an iconic tool watch by Rolex, the ultimate dive watch, created with Comex, the Sea-Dweller. First presented in 1967, this watch was originally water resistant to 2000ft / 610m before being upgraded to 4000ft / 1220m (which explains its name, Sea-Dweller 4000). It was also the first time Rolex included the helium escape valve on one of its commercially available watches. This watch, which has been reintroduced in 2014, in a faithful yet modernized version, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. And we know that Rolex, for a few years now, does celebrate these kinds of jubilees (Platinum Daytona 50th anniversary in 2013, Pink Gold / Green Dial Day-Date 60th anniversary last year, Green bezel Rolex Submariner in 2003 for the 50th anniversary…)

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We know some people are waiting for a vintage-oriented version for this 50th anniversary of the Rolex Sea-Dweller, complete with red inscription… which will most likely NOT happen. Unless a drastic change of strategy has been implemented recently, Rolex does not create vintage-inspired pieces. Thus, if there is a Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary at Baselworld 2017, it will certainly be something modern and unexpected. Thus, we’ve imagined a gradient dial, just like the Deepsea D-Blue but this time with Rolex’s iconic color, green. Alongside this gradient green dial, our Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary features a bright green logo. For the rest, no technical differences: steel case, 40mm diameter, ceramic bezel, same 3135 movement and same Oyster bracelet. It is a bit unexpected for sure, but admittedly, quite cool too.

Rolex Baselworld 2017 – Rolex Daytona White Gold & Ceramic Collection

Rolex Daytona White Gold Ceramic Silver Dial leather - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

Last year was the big one, the steel Daytona Ceramic 116500LN. Dreams came true for many collectors, waitlists are still extremely long and people are willing to pay a 50% premium to get their hands on one. A success? No, a commercial blast. Rolex has been listening to expectations. Still, the Daytona story is not over yet, and some references are missing from the catalogue, in particular the white gold versions. Indeed, there is no more black or silver dial options (at least without diamonds) for the metallic bracelet versions. No more leather strap options either. In fact at present there are only 4 options in white gold available in the current collection (Last year’s blue dial version, and 3 with diamonds – black, black mother of pearl or white mother of pearl). This is short. Too short? Probably.

Rolex Daytona White Gold Ceramic Black Dial Bracelet - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

Thus, for Baselworld 2017 Rolex could come with a new Daytona white gold collection, and of course with the Ceramic bezel on it – it has been so successful that it would be a shame not to use it. We have 4 versions in our mind:

  • Silver brushed dial, black contrasting sub-dials, white gold bracelet
  • Silver brushed dial, black contrasting sub-dials, leather strap
  • Black dial, silver contrasting sub-dials, white gold bracelet
  • Black dial, silver contrasting sub-dials, leather strap

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Of course, this Baselworld 2017 Rolex Daytona White Gold collection needed to be differentiated from the steel versions. Thus, the sub-counters are different, with a sort-of panda look (which has always been part of the gold versions) and a silver option instead of the white dial offered on the steel version – and this version has something of a silver 6263, don’t you think?

Rolex Baselworld 2017 – Rolex Datejust 41 Steel Collection

Rolex Datejust 41 Steel - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

This one is certainly the most expected of the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection. It is known that Rolex always introduces its new watches first in precious metals. It was the case for the new Rolex Datejust 41, which was presented last year in Rolesor versions only (combination of steel with yellow or pink gold). The natural expansion of the collection, meaning the introduction of steel versions, will most likely happen this year.

Rolex Datejust 41 Steel - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

Apart from the use of stainless steel, the Datejust 41 remain identical, meaning first a 41mm case (other websites / forums mentioned a downsized case, at 40mm. This seems highly improbable, considering that the watch was introduced only a year ago, with a 41mm case…) Then, because of the change of metal, some new dials will appear, most likely silver, blue or black options. The jubilee bracelet, just re-introduced on the model, will also be part of the package, when combined with a white gold fluted bezel. A full steel version, with polished bezel, will certainly be unveiled, with a 3-link oyster bracelet.

Inside the case of the Baselworld 2017 Rolex Datejust 41 in steel, we’ll find back the modern calibre 3235, with 70h power reserve, new Chronergy escapement and optimized gear train and winding mechanism. These steel options could allow the Datejust 41 to be available from an approximate price of 7,500 Euro.

Rolex Baselworld 2017 – Rolex GMT-Master II Pink Gold Rubber Strap

Rolex GMT Master II Pink Gold Rubber Strap - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

With this one, we enter the circle of the watches that we’d love to see however with less confidence that they’ll actually be introduced. The Rolex Baselworld 2017 Collection could potentially include a pink gold / Everose version of the GMT-Master II. Why? First of all, this watch has never been available in this metal. It exists in steel (black bezel and BLNR Black / Blue bezel), in Rolesor (Black bezel), in yellow gold (black bezel with black or green dial) and finally in the great white gold BLRO, so-called “Pepsi” version. Yet, no Everose gold. Plus, Rolex is now massively advertising this model on its Instagram and Facebook pages (something it also did  last year with the Daytona…)

Rolex GMT Master II Pink Gold Rubber Strap - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

Because these Rolex Predictions are also meant to be a bit of fun for us, instead of a classical bracelet and a polished black bezel, we imagined our Pink Gold GMT-Master II with some of the recent evolutions introduced by Rolex, including a matte black ceramic bezel and the Oysterflex rubber strap. Thus, the bezel is slightly grained, with a two-tone style (dark grey and black) and still with engraved numerals, in rose gold too. Finally, to match the color of the case, the GMT hand and the logo are now red.

Rolex Baselworld 2017 – Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Steel & Ceramic Collection

Rolex Yacht Master Steel Ceramic Bezel Black Dial Rubber - Rolex Baselworld 2017 - Rolex Predictions 2017

After the 2015 Yacht-Master Everose Gold, with its Oysterflex rubber strap and matte ceramic bezel, the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection could potentially include steel versions of this watch. This watch is certainly not Rolex’s best seller, due to a rather outdated look – the platinum bezel of the steel versions makes it quite bulky and not very modern. Rolex could benefit from using Baselworld to offer the Steel Yacht-Master a facelift.

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Based on the evolutions introduced on the Everose version, the 2017 Rolex Yacht-Master Steel could sport the same matte black ceramic bezel with raised polished numerals. Also, alongside the traditional steel Oyster bracelet, Rolex could deploy the Osyterflex rubber strap on the entire collection, in order to harmonize it and bring a modern touch. Finally, while the usual blue and grey dial versions would still be in production (but with the new bezel), Rolex could also introduce a black dial model, with red constructing hand. These changes would allow the Yacht-Master to be more accessible, as the steel / platinum bezel versions are now priced over 10,000 Euro.

Another possible one… A new Rolex Explorer II

Our final prediction is about the Explorer II. Indeed, the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection could welcome a new version of this unloved, yet iconic watch. It is well-known amongst collectors that this model is not selling well and that it has become one of the cheapest sports Rolex watches on the second hand market. The current version, ref. 216570, is not very old (by Rolex standards), it was introduced in 2011, but on the other hand, it seems to be at the end of its life cycle.

With this in mind, we’re are still wondering what Rolex could change. A ceramic bezel? Maybe too simple, too close to the GMT-Master II (don’t forget that both watches share the same function, just with a lack of rotating bezel on the Explorer II). A return to a smaller diameter (the current Explorer II is 42mm)? It sounds improbable, as it would mean going back to the previous reference, the 116570, which is also far from being popular on the second hand market. Thus, if Rolex does come with a new version of this watch, it will certainly be rather unexpected. Wait and see.

Note: this article is based on photoshop mockups, nothing comes officially from Rolex. These are predictions, based on our imagination and expectations. All images are under license of Monochrome-Watches and should not be used without agreement or copyright (©Monochrome-Watches, 2017).

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22 responses

  1. Sky dweller in steel please. That I will stand in line for…

  2. That white gold panda dial daytona looks absolutely stunning … if only rolex were to release something like that in steel. Dream on.

  3. I kept scrolling down waiting to read about the return of the Coke GMT.

  4. I know this is a wild, way-out-there idea – but how about an actual new watch design? You know, like other makers release often!

  5. Ian,

    I agree 100%!!! They definitely have the precision and high quality thing down pat. Absolutely iconic designs. Throwing in a little creativity would be a breath of fresh air!

  6. The Explorer ii ref 216570 with ceramic bezel , now that would be great. To me that would be the perfect combination. Great movement 3187, brushed stainless steel bracelet and ceramic bezel (scratch resistant , especially handy when exploring rain forests , caves etc) and the ever handy GMT second time zone. Bring it on baby , bring it on. I’ll be the first to put my name down on the waiting list and gladly pay a premium over the older model.

  7. Because isn’t like other makers. They don’t need to be and it’s what sets them apart. Keep improving an already extremely successful line and don’t dilute the brand by realising new models for the sake of releasing new models.

  8. After purchasing a GMT as a once in a lifetime purchase upon retiring ( I had to finance half the purchase), I wore it off an on for about eight months and gave it to my son, It bored me. I think a solution as least for me would be to put the movement on view with a sapphire back.

  9. How about a full-ceramic watch ? Maybe a submariner ? Seems like a logical step given the extensive use of such material on bezels.
    Of course, an entirely new model from Rolex would shake the whole orological world but I am afraid it is too much to hope…

    just my two centes,

  10. Since Rolex Deep-sixed the Deep-Sea, a gradient dial is the last thing I would expect.

  11. Wish they’d do the Oyster Perpetual 39 with the olive/orange dial. I’d buy it.

  12. I would like to see the Milgauss get a movement update to increase magnetic resistance (the bar has been raised) and allow a date window. A synthetic strap option would work well with this upgrade too.


  13. It would be nice if they had more watch options at 42mm+. All you small wristed men are lucky. Those 40 mm watches look redicilous on me. Love the Daytona, but even the Rolex ad laughed when I put it on.

  14. I really like – and bought – the new 40mm Air-King Rolex introduced last year at Basel. It would seem to be easy for Rolex to follow that up with a simple but very interesting military-style watch: a dial similar to the Air-King, no date but unlike the Air-King showing Arabic minute markers at all 5 minute intervals – i.e. substituting 15,30 and 45 minute markers in lieu of the the 3, 6 and 9 hour markers on the Air-King and adding a 24 hour stationary bezel. Consistent with its military design, the watch have only 3 hands – minutes, seconds and a 24 hour hand — no 12 hour hand. It could be really simple and cool. and easy to produce.

  15. I would absolutely love a GMT Master II in steel with a BLRO bezel although I know that it is very unlikely to happen. Normally I always prefer Coke over Pepsi but this is the exception to that rule.

  16. I also bought the Air-King after last years Baselworld. It’s my first Rolex watch and I absolutely love it’s slightly ‘left field’ design. It’s a great everyday wearer and extremely reliable, as a Rolex should be! Must say that it was a tough decision whether to go for this one or the more classic Datejust but I’m please with my choice. Gets a lot of compliments.

  17. There is nothing better done a Submariner Classic

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