In only two months, the watch community will focus all its attention on Geneva. In early April, the largest watch fair of the year, Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024, will open its doors. As a yearly tradition for the past decade, it’s time for the MONOCHROME team to get creative and predict what Rolex might unveil, undoubtedly the brand that generates the most anticipation. On Monday, April 9th, at around 9 a.m., the Crown will present its 2024 collection. But it’s time to look into our crystal ball and imagine which models will be unveiled. Like our predictions for 2014 – 2015 – 2016 – 2017 – 2018 – 2019 – 2020 – 2021 – 2022 – 2023 – we’ve been working hard to guess and design the future Rolex collection. Here are our Rolex Predictions 2024, 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.
These predictions have become a ritual for us at MONOCHROME. We truly love doing them and know that you, our readers, enjoy them too. It all started as a rather light-hearted ritual but has now become a more serious exercise, and we take great care in producing realistic renderings and accurate portrayals of potential models. However, in the same breath, we have to confess that it has become more and more difficult to predict what Rolex might launch. While we have great fun discussing, predicting, logically reasoning, and designing these potential novelties, Rolex has recently displayed more creativity. Think about last year’s Emoji-theme Day-Date or the Celebration Dial Oyster Perpetual… However, after a closer look at all previous releases and models that have not yet been revamped in the brand’s collection, here are our Rolex Predictions 2024.
A brand new Milgauss… With Amagnetic Calibre? (ref. 126400)
We start this Rolex predictions article with what is, without a doubt, the most anticipated model of the year: the return of the Rolex Milgauss. You’re certainly aware that the previous generation, known as the reference 116400, was discontinued last year. This was a somewhat surprising move from the Crown, given the longevity of this watch, created around 1956 (even though it has never been very popular). Removing the Milgauss from the collection would be a pity, specifically in the current context of anti-magnetic watches. The competition has taken anti-magnetism very seriously – Omega and its Master Chronometer certification or Swatch Group with its Nivachron technology. And, of course, we have to mention internal “competition” from Tudor, which has been implementing the Master Chronometer certification in some of its watches.
Considering the model’s discontinuation, the industry’s focus on magnetism, and the revamp of the sister watch, the Air King, we forecast that Rolex will re-launch its scientific watch this year. Visually, we’ve imagined a watch in continuity with the recent Air King, yet with classic elements of the Milgauss. As such, it would be housed in the same 40mm case with the recently introduced crown guards. The dial would retain emblematic elements of this watch, such as the lightning-shaped central hand and discreet orange elements on the minute track, yet with a cleaner all-round look.
Regarding the movement, the base would be the same as other collections, the latest 32xx generation, slightly modified for anti-magnetism, and most likely with a Master Chronometer certification. This would bring Rolex to the same level as Tudor and Omega, both ranking very high in the field of magnetic resistance (15,000 gauss, much more than the 1,000 gauss implied by the Milgauss name). We also expect the model to become thinner, as the inner Faraday cage would no longer be necessary.
But we have an even better idea: What if Rolex took even greater strides in the field of resistance to magnetism? The Master Chronometer certification, as advanced as it is, implies watches that are still sensitive to a certain level of magnetism. What if Rolex went down a different route and produced a genuinely amagnetic movement? Knowing the brand’s power in R&D, Rolex could be capable of launching something groundbreaking and unprecedented, a movement that would be totally impervious to magnetism, even to extremely high levels. For that, Rolex would either need to adapt its calibre 3230 by using silicon and non-ferrous parts or maybe develop an entirely new calibre, a so-called AMAGNETIC movement… something you can find printed on the dial of our potential 2024 Rolex Milgauss 126400.
A Revamped, Cleaner Yacht-Master II (Ref. 126680)
For our next watch in the Rolex Predictions 2024, we’ll look at one of the last models to retain a reference number starting with 11 (previous generation models), the Yacht-Master II. Born in 2007, this collection has remained unchanged since its introduction, except for minor changes on the dial in 2017. As such, it is one of the most flashy and one of the biggest watches in the collection, and it doesn’t quite fall in line with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. We think it is time for the Rolex Yacht-Master II to be redesigned, streamlined and upgraded.
What could be done to the YMII? First, it is a niche watch with very specific functionalities dedicated to regattas. Its unique chronograph movement (the calibre 4161), with a column wheel and vertical clutch, is enhanced with a programmable countdown function and a mechanical memory. While we don’t want to touch the overall display and how this movement works, we can imagine some mechanical upgrades, such as implementing the Chronergy escapement – minor updates on the same level as last year’s Daytona.
However, we have imagined rather important design changes, starting with a reduction in the watch’s size to a slightly more wearable diameter of 42mm. Analyzing the overall look of the previous Yacht-Master II and how it works, we would definitely retain the fantastic Ring Command Bezel device to set the countdown and the dial’s layout. However, we have streamlined the bezel, removing the double 10-0 scale and the larger “Yacht-Master II” engraving in favour of a classic 60 scale to work in conjunction with the central chronograph hand. Finally, in line with its nautical vocation, we’d give this new Yacht-Master II Reference 126680 an optional steel bracelet or a blue Oysterflex rubber strap.
A Possible Return of the Turn-O-Graph
Maybe not the most realistic nor the most anticipated new model to be presented by Rolex in 2024, we have nevertheless imagined what a modern version of the Turn-O-Graph might look like. Presented in 1953, a few months before the Submariner, it was the first production watch to feature a rotating bezel used to count elapsed seconds or minutes thanks to its graduated 0-60 scale. This would also become the base for the brand’s dive watch, the Submariner, sharing the same overall case. With the launch of the latter, the Turn-O-Graph quickly changed style to become a member of the Datejust family, with a partially graduated solid metal bezel, most of the time with a fluted pattern. The latest models were more elegant, with fluted bezels that resemble the standard fixed bezels of the Datejust. The Rolex Turn-O-Graph has long been an underrated watch, with an irregular production and not always with its name printed on the dial.
For the return of the Rolex Turn-O-Graph, we’ve imagined a watch that would be modernized but also consistent with most of the brand’s production. As such, we’re talking about an evolution of the 36mm Datejust with its elegant, restrained proportions, its sleek dial with baton makers, the emblematic cyclops over the date and options for an Oyster or a Jubilee bracelet. However, retaining the main specificity of this watch, we’ve added a thin rotating bezel with a sleek 60-minute scale.
In line with the modern standards of the brand, the rotating bezel of this 2024 Rolex Turn-O-Graph would be ceramic. Following previous iterations of this watch, red accents would be found on the dial – seconds hand, name and date numerals – and power would come from the same movement as a Datejust 36, the calibre 3235. As in the past, this watch would remain an evolution of the Datejust with a more elegant take on its rotating bezel.
Our dream Polar Dial Explorer 36mm and 40mm
If you’ve read our previous prediction articles, you should be familiar with this watch and realise that we’ve been using these predictions to nudge Rolex into creating this watch. We’ve been predicting (or actually wishing for) this watch for several years now, and we know the chances of it materializing are slim. But one can still dream, right? So yes, we’re pushing this one again in our Rolex Predictions 2024.
Here we are again this year with our latest interpretation of the Rolex Explorer Polar dial, based, this time, on the two existing versions of this watch, the Explorer 36 reference 124270 and the Explorer 40 reference 224270. The idea is rather simple: using the base 36mm or 40mm models and changing their dials to white to create a mirror image of the classic black version. The whole concept isn’t just a figment of our imagination since white dial Explorer watches have existed in the past – see this extremely rare example once auctioned by Christie’s, based on a vintage reference 6610. And even though this white dial Rolex Explorer will undoubtedly retain its unicorn status, we can still dream of it returning to standard production in a modern shape.
Since the discontinuation of the Oyster Perpetual 39 White Dial reference 114300, there hasn’t really been an alternative in the collection; by this, we mean a clean, white dial sports watch. However, last year, we saw that the group, with its brand Tudor, was not against the idea of bringing white unicorns into the collection… And since there’s already a rather unexpected two-tone Explorer 36, we can still dream about a white dial version, just to break the rules from time to time.
The Comeback of the Daytona Meteorite Dial
While the Rolex Daytona was discreetly updated last year, not all former versions have been brought back yet. Sure, the current Daytona collection is already pretty large, with all possible metals available – steel, Rolesor, yellow gold, white gold, Everose gold and platinum – and there’s even a pretty special Paul Newman-inspired version. The choice of dial colours is also pretty complete, save for one specific version of the Daytona, which has long been a fan favourite…
For this reason, we’ve imagined the return of the Meteorite Dial Daytona, following the style of the models introduced in 2021. As such, the base dial would have a meteorite dial combined with black “panda-style” counters in white, rose or yellow gold. Compared to the 2021 editions, we have, however, streamlined the collection ever so slightly, as all versions could be fitted with a black ceramic bezel – some previous models were available with a solid metal polished bezel – regardless of whether they come with a gold bracelet or an Oysterflex rubber strap.
These new Rolex Daytona Meteorite models would retain all the updates found in last year’s collection. As such, the dials have smaller rings and narrower markers, the bezel is framed by a metallic element, and the case would use the lightly redesigned shape of 2023. Powering the watch is the calibre 4131 with its Chronergy escapement. Would it be visible under a sapphire crystal? We’d love that.
The Perpetual 1908 Dual-Time and Perpetual 1908 Moonphase
Last but not least, we’ve imagined extensions to the Rolex Perpetual 1908 collection. Successfully launched last year and particularly well received, this watch replaced the Cellini line, exuding more retro charm and elegance. Like the Cellini, we can imagine Rolex introducing minor complications to the collection, such as a practical dual time and a charming moon phase – two functions that used to exist in the Cellini line.
The first complication appearing on the Perpetual 1908 could be a moon phase hosted in an aperture at 6 o’clock. This additional function would necessitate moving the small seconds to the central position, ensuring the elegant enamel and meteorite disc isn’t obstructed. Apart from updates to its movement, this Perpetual 1908 would retain the same proportions as the time-only model and its finely fluted bezel.
Another possible complication that could appear in the Rolex Perpetual 1908 collection is the dual time display. Already found in the Cellini range, it makes a comeback here with its independent 12-hour counter for home time, adjusted by the crown. To keep track of the time precisely, the day-night indicator is retained; however, it is repositioned in a small window, making sure not to obstruct the dual time track. Once again, the second hand would be relocated to the dial’s centre.
Note: This Rolex Predictions 2024 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, 2024).
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