Baselworld 2018 is fast approaching and a fleet of new collections will be unveiled. Among them will be the new Rolex watches, the most anticipated novelties of the year. This also means that it’s that time of year when MONOCHROME looks into its crystal ball and gets creative. Just like we did in 2014, 2015, 2016 and in 2017, we have spent quite some time on the drawing board trying to guess and design what could be the Rolex Baselworld 2018 Collection. And here are the watches that we think Rolex could potentially launch at Baselworld 2018.
Keep in mind that this article is based on our own expectations and analysis. These are just predictions. Nothing is official.
For a few years now, Rolex seems to be on a less conservative path. The novelties presented are more creative, more modern and more controversial. We have even seen a slight hint of vintage references in some of the new watches. In 2016, Rolex introduced what is certainly the hippest watch on the market now, a watch that many collectors had been clamouring for: the Ceramic Daytona. Yet, that same year, it also produced something totally unpredictable, the Air King with a colourful dial. In 2017, it was the Sea-Dweller 126600 with its large case, its red line of text and the controversial cyclops lens on the date. In the eyes of many purists, the cyclops lens became the culprit of a crime committed against the integrity of the Sea-Dweller. Rolex also presented the Sky-Dweller in steel, a watch that we never expected to see in such a common material.
This is all to illustrate how Rolex has become less easy to predict. A fact that makes our lives both more difficult and, surprisingly, easier. While it is now harder to guess what Rolex might introduce, it also allows us more creative license. We have to inject a bit of modernity and funkiness into our predictions… And talking about them, here are our predictions for the (possible) Rolex Baselworld 2018 novelties.
Rolex Baselworld 2018 – Rolex Submariner 126610LN (new case, calibre 3225)
In 2015, Rolex introduced a new generation of movements, the calibre 32xx – which was launched originally on the Day-Date 40 with the calibre 3255, followed by the calibre 3235 (3-hand and date) seen on the Datejust and the Sea-Dweller. It would make sense then to see this new generation movement being introduced in other collections. This is why we’ve imagined a Baselworld 2018 Rolex Submariner Date 126610LN, an heir to the current Ref. 116610LN (the Submariner Date in steel with a black bezel).
In addition to being fitted with the new calibre 3235 (with a longer power reserve and a more efficient escapement), we have envisioned an updated case for this new Rolex Submariner Date 126610LN. While still measuring 40mm in diameter (the historical size of the Sub), it could feature “shaved” lugs and a slimmer profile, as we’ve seen on other recent watches. It seems that the “maxi case” is not so trendy anymore. And because the Oyster bracelet is one of the best on the market, we have decided to keep it intact. Below, a comparison between the current 116610LN (left) and our possible 126610LN (right):
Another update regards the dial, to which we’ve added (for the fun of it) a red line of text, not for the name, but for the water resistance. A cool, slightly vintage touch. Finally, as the Submariner is a proper dive watch, it would make sense to see it equipped with the Osyterflex rubber bracelet – which we’d like to see included in the box, alongside the steel bracelet.
As you can see, our imaginary Baselworld 2018 Rolex Submariner 126610LN is just an update, not a revolutionary change. Since the Submariner is one of the most sought-after models in the collections, it would be quite risky to drastically alter its character.
As a side note, some discussions on forums indicate that there is a shortage of the Submariner and that the watch is almost impossible to find at retailers… If this is a reality, it might well indicate an imminent update.
Rolex Baselworld 2018 – Rolex Explorer 1 Polar White Dial
Our next Rolex Baselworld 2018 prediction is more of a personal wish than a potential candidate. However, knowing how Rolex is behaving these days, anything could happen. This is why we have imagined a “polar” version of the Rolex Explorer 1 ref. 214270. And admittedly, it is extremely cool.
Based on the specifications of the model introduced at Baselworld 2016 – 39mm case, updated 3-6-9 numerals and a correctly sized minute hand – we’ve imagined a white dial version of the Explorer. This watch remains a myth for vintage collectors (Christie’s auctioned an extremely rare ref. 6610 with white dial back in 2013) and its comeback could make quite some noise.
As part of our Rolex Baselworld 2018 predictions, this Explorer 1 “Polar” features a white dial with the iconic 3-6-9 numerals, yet the major update is the addition of black luminous paint on the indexes and hands, creating a high contrast between the dial and the markers. All inscriptions follow the same idea, and are printed in black. The rest of the watch would remain technically identical to the current ref. 214270.
Rolex Baselworld 2018 – Rolex Cellini Triple Calendar (with or without Moonphase)
Last year, Rolex introduced the (superb) Cellini Moonphase, a demonstration that “the Crown” can create watches with poetical or not-so-purpose-built complications. This has led us to fantasise about all sorts of traditional displays that could be incorporated… and this is what we’ve done with our Baselworld 2018 Rolex Cellini Triple Calendar. Well, we even have two of them, the first one being a triple calendar with moonphase:
The second version of the Rolex Cellini Triple Calendar we’ve imagined for Baselworld 2018 is a simpler variation, without the moon phase indication at 6 o’clock.
Why create a triple calendar? The Moonphase version of the Cellini already features two essential elements of calendar watches – with its peripheral date track indicated by a central hand and its moon phase complication positioned at 6 o’clock. This is why adding a complete calendar function, with day and month windows at 12 o’clock would make sense. It would even enhance the classical, slightly vintage look that Rolex has given to the collection.
Finally, because Rolex already has an annual calendar watch in the collection (the Sky-Dweller), we could even imagine the Cellini incorporating such a complex yet practical complication – instead of a simpler triple calendar.
Rolex Baselworld 2018 – Rolex Day-Date 36 (new case, calibre 3255)
Last but not least, Rolex could come to Baselworld 2018 with updated versions of the Day-Date 36. In full continuity with the Day-Date 40, the 36mm model could easily be refreshed with the new case (slimmer lugs, thinner profile, sharper case) as well as some new dials with more modern patterns and indexes.
We have imagined three versions, all of them fitted with a leather strap and crafted in three gold alloys. The first one features a white gold case and a silver dial with a teak-pattern:
Our second version features an Everose gold case with a brown dial and strap, a classical combination at Rolex:
Finally, we have a more traditional yellow gold version of the Day-Date 36 with a white dial, modern Roman numerals and a green strap:
Just like the 40mm version introduced in 2015, the Baselworld 2018 Rolex Day-Date 36 could receive the new generation movement, meaning calibre 3255 with its improved escapement, the new barrel and gear train for a longer power reserve and a new variable inertia balance wheel.
This Day-Date 36 could potentially be configured in multiple combinations of dials and materials, with polished or fluted bezels and on leather straps or a classic President gold bracelet.
Note: this article is based on our own Photoshop mockups, nothing has been provided officially from Rolex. These are predictions, based on our imagination and expectations. All images are under license of MONOCHROME and should not be used without agreement or copyright (©Monochrome-Watches, 2018).
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