It’s that time of the year again when the MONOCHROME team looks into a crystal ball and comes up with its predictions for the upcoming Rolex launches. Importantly this year, the new Rolex 2022 models will be presented physically at Watches & Wonders Geneva. And since the fair will start on March 30th, we are in the starting blocks for the show and ready for a range of new models. Without surprise, the most anticipated novelties of the year will be the new Rolex watches. Just like our predictions for 2014 – 2015 – 2016 – 2017 – 2018 – 2019 – 2020 – 2021, we’ve been working hard to guess and design what the future Rolex collection might look like. Here are our Rolex Predictions 2022, the watches we anticipate Rolex might present this year.
Please note that this article is a figment of our imagination. These are just predictions. Nothing is official. It is based on our own expectations and analyses.
Guessing which models Rolex might launch – originally at Baselworld and now at Watches &Wonders Geneva – has become a kind of ritual for us at MONOCHROME. It is something we truly enjoy doing and which we know is also highly anticipated by our readers. We certainly take it more seriously now than we used to in the early years, yet we still have great fun discussing, predicting and designing these potential novelties. But it also requires research and a lot of time in Photoshop to bring you these realistic renderings. We also spend a lot of time exploring the current collections as well as the brand’s strategy in the past to try and come up with a series of watches that make sense. We certainly can’t expect Rolex to launch a new Explorer this year or redesign the Submariner collection entirely. There’s a logic behind these new launches, and so is there with our Rolex Predictions 2022.
Taking into account the collections that are less popular (if ever there was such a thing these days with Rolex) or models that haven’t been updated yet with the next 32XX generation of movements, here are the watches we expect Rolex to present at Watches & Wonders 2022.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – A new Generation of Rolex Milgauss (126400GV) with new amagnetic technology
One of the last watches in Rolex’s collection to be equipped with a movement from the 31XX generation is the Milgauss of 2007. In 2014, Rolex introduced the Z-blue version with a blue dial. Other than that, it hasn’t changed. To us, it is time for the Crown to change this situation. And for many reasons. First of all, the watch is now slightly outdated compared to the rest of the models with its thick case/lugs/bezel. Second, its movement is quite old. Finally, and most importantly, anti-magnetism is a major topic these days, and Rolex has been beaten fair and square by Omega with its Master Chronometer certification. We expect Rolex to strike back with a major accomplishment in the field of magnetic resistance. This could even mean that the name “Milgauss” (adapted from mille gauss, the French for a thousand gauss), the level of magnetic resistance offered since its release in 1954, will be irrelevant to the product. But we insist: the Milgauss (the watch and the name) should be kept alive.
Rolex has already started experimenting with Master Chronometer certification with its sister company Tudor, providing technology that combines chronometer rating and impressive resistance to magnetism. This could be a way forward for the evolution of the Milgauss. We picture Rolex adapting its calibre 3230 with new, highly anti-magnetic parts to withstand the 15,000 gauss test of METAS, eliminating the need for an inner soft-iron or mild steel cage.
However, at MONOCHROME, we are anticipating something even bolder. We have in mind a major innovation: a movement that isn’t magnetic-resistant to a certain level but fully, entirely AMAGNETIC. And by amangetic, we are referring to a watch and movement that are totally impervious to magnetic fields. It would be something unprecedented and altogether novel in the watch industry, and a demonstration of the supremacy of Rolex in terms of R&D.
Regarding the design of the watch, we’ve imagined our 2022 Rolex Milgauss 126400GV in a somewhat conservative key. The case would use the base of the Oyster Perpetual 41, thus with a slightly enlarged diameter but slimmer proportions (lugs and bezel) than the current reference 116400GV. And since the watch would not rely on an inner cage anymore to resist magnetic fields, the case would also be far thinner than in the past. As for the dial, our 2022 Rolex Milgauss 126400GV would pick up on recent codes of the brand, with double markers but still the classic orange accents, lightning-shaped seconds hand and the oddly attractive glace verte or green-tinted sapphire crystal. And because we’re talking about a professional model, we’d like it to be entirely brushed, mid-links included.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – A new Collection for the Rolex Air-King, back to the roots
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King used to be a discreet yet appreciated model in the brand’s collection. A simple, robust and sporty model, the Air-King has long been seated next to the Oyster Perpetual and the Explorer. However, since 2016, this watch has come to occupy a rather special place in the portfolio. And to us, it is high time for a change. There are many reasons why the current Air-King 116900 should be replaced. First, it uses an older case design and the calibre 3131. Second, the odd-looking dial has not made this watch a commercial success. Finally, the current Air-King was inspired by a bespoke set of instruments made by Rolex aboard a Bloodhound SSC, an attempt at a record-breaking car. But the partnership doesn’t exist anymore.
As part of our Rolex Predictions 2022, we’ve imagined a new Air-King collection that returns to its roots. In the past, the Rolex Air-King was an entry-level watch with a small 34mm case and a sportier feel than the classical Oyster Perpetual. And most of us will undoubtedly remember the 1990s models with the 3-6-9 Explorer applied markers. And with this in mind, here’s our potential 2022 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King. First of all, to fill a void in the collection, we’ve decided to give it a 39mm case, positioned between the 36mm Explorer 124270 and the 41mm Oyster Perpetual 124300. This watch would use current design elements with a thinner bezel and more tapered lugs.
The dial of this new 2022 Rolex Air-King would also be more in line with the watch’s former personality. Something less instrumental than the Explorer, but something sportier and more serious than the OP. The Air-King is, after all, a model intended for aviation. As such, we would give it some discreet touches of colour, along the lines of the dark blue model here, but nothing like the bright OP watches. And, as in the past, it combines traditional baton hands with the signature 3-6-9 applied markers, treated with luminous material. Naturally, the new calibre 3230 would power the watch.
And because our founder Frank has a deep yearning to make a white “polar” version of the new Air-King, and because we know that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that Rolex would produce a white dial for its Explorer, we’ve created a white mock-up. But admittedly, it really does look good!
Rolex predictions 2022 – The Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium no-date on Oysterflex
A few months ago, we came across a rather special prototype (first spotted by Jake at Rolex Magazine), a titanium edition of the Yacht-Master 42 worn by Sir Ben Ainslie. Rolex has never used titanium to make an entire watch. Period! Until the discovery of this prototype, a No-Date YM with a matte titanium case. It seems that Rolex was going back to its roots with experimental watches, testing purpose-built models in real-life conditions. Ainslie has been spotted on several occasions with this watch, including during the 2021 Prada Cup. The watch in question was an instrumental take on this white gold version, made in an alloy named RLX Titanium, with a matte dial and no date.
Having spotted this watch in the wild inspired us to adapt the concept to a standard edition available to the general public. So here’s what could be the first-ever commercialized Rolex titanium watch, a sporty, toned-down Yacht-Master 42 Titanium. The way we’ve envisioned this watch is relatively simple: a 42mm case in a matte, darker titanium tone, yet identical in shape and proportions to the white gold version. The textured bezel with its raised scale would also be retained. In addition to having a time-only display, the dial would also display a new matte texture and hands matching the colour/material of the case.
Below deck, we’d find the classic calibre 3230, shared with the Submariner 124060. And to continue with the nautical/regatta vocation, this version could be worn on the brand’s superb Oysterflex rubber bracelet – we don’t honestly expect Rolex to release a textile NATO strap… This way, this Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium No-Date could recuperate the sporty credentials of the YM collection while still being different from the Submariner.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – The 10th Anniversary Rolex Sky-Dweller Platinum
This year, the Sky-Dweller, the most complex watch Rolex has ever created, celebrates its 10th anniversary. Launched in 2012, this model combines a GMT function and an annual calendar, all ingeniously actuated by the “Ring Command”, a rotating bezel. With 11 patents and multiple indications, the beauty of the Sky-Dweller is its mix of complex mechanics and its highly user-friendly interface.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this high-end model, we’ve imagined it in platinum, the most precious of metals, which would be used for the case, the bezel and the bracelet. And in typical Rolex tradition, it would be paired with a light blue dial. If Rolex did introduce such a watch, it would be expensive (in the high 60k), and production would be low, as with most Rolexes in platinum.
We don’t expect more changes regarding the other details of the 10th Anniversary Rolex Sky-Dweller Platinum. The dials were already updated in 2017 with the launch of the steel and Rolesor models, and they do look good as they are. But with this light blue dial, there’s no doubt that Rolex would have a hit watch in its collection.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – The Rolex GMT-Master II COKE Bezel 126710RONR
This mock-up responds more to a wish and a collector’s dream than a potential release. But anyway, we like to think that raising the topic again will give the creation teams at the Crown some hints. While some would like to see the comeback of the classic full-black bezel on the GMT-Master II, we know for a fact that the model will only be available with two-tone bezels – and that is what Rolex told us when they released the Pepsi and discontinued the black version. The collection now comprises, at least for the stainless steel models, the black-and-blue 126710BLNR “Batman” and the red-and-blue 126710BLRO “Pepsi”, both available either on Jubilee or Oyster bracelets.
We’d like to imagine Rolex digging in its archives and bringing back the historic black-and-red bezel nicknamed “Coke” by collectors. Apart from this new colour scheme, which includes (of course) a red-coloured GMT hand, the potential 126710RONR would be identical to the BLNR and BLRO models, with a 40mm steel case, black dial and calibre 3285. Another potential option for this Coke version could be a white gold case, replacing the white gold Pepsi with a blue dial reference 126719BLRO. In that case, the white gold Pepsi would only be available with a silver meteorite dial.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – The Rolex Submariner Date Rolesor Green dial and bezel 126613LV
These predictions are also a way for us to test possible combinations and imagine unprecedented models. We know that Rolex is, by and large, a rather conservative watchmaker. Yet, on some occasions, the brand can be bold. And Rolex does play a lot with materials and colour combinations. So, to complete the Submariner Date collection launched in 2020, we’ve imagined a new Rolesor (steel-and-gold) model to be launched alongside the existing Blue Rolesor 126613LB and Black Rolesor 126613LN. And for that, we gave our imaginary reference 126613LV a steel-and-gold (yellow) case with a green ceramic bezel and a matching dial – a theme that evokes the 116610LV Hulk watch.
This combination of a Rolesor case/bracelet with a bright green dial and bezel is undoubtedly striking, but it is certainly in line with some of the brand’s more colourful and daring launches of late. Other than that, our potential vision of the 2022 Rolex Submariner Date 126613LV would retain all the attributes of the collection launched in 2020, with an identical movement, case and bracelet.
Rolex Predictions 2022 – The Rolex Daytona Rolesor Ceramic Bezel 116513LN
We finish our predictions with a Daytona in a version that we have been expecting for a few years now: the ceramic Rolesor. Following the direction taken in 2016 with the stainless steel 116500LN, as well as the gold and platinum editions bearing this contrasting ceramic bezel, we’ve been expecting this style to hit the steel-and-gold versions for a long time… but it never made it to the collection, despite bringing a far more modern look for the Rolesor Daytona.
Using the classic reference 116503 as a base, the brand only has to do one thing to make the two-tone Daytona even more attractive: add the ceramic bezel found on the gold versions. There’s no need to change anything else. Gold would still be used for the crown/pushers and the bracelet’s mid-links. But with a black ceramic bezel, the Daytona Rolesor would have a more contemporary look and could be slightly more accessible too.
Note: This Rolex Predictions 2022 article is based on our own Photoshop mock-ups; Rolex has provided nothing officially. 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, 2022).
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