Protected by 14 patents, the Sky-Dweller is the first all-new Rolex to be introduced for a long while, and certainly the most complicated Rolex for even longer. Sharing similar styling to Rolex’s flagship Day-Date, the Sky-Dweller is unmistakable with its cut away sub-dial and apertures at each hour marker used in its dual-time and annual calendar functions. If these two features aren’t enough, the impressive command ring allowing the date, reference time, and local time to be set with the crown by rotating the bezel to select each.
Alongside the Sea-Dweller, the Rolex Yacht-Master II is the largest of Rolex’s watches at 44mm, bringing us into Hublot territory. The Yacht-Master II is a statement watch that is meant to be worn to be seen but also has a function. It features a programmable, 1-to-10-minute flyback regatta timer which is set using the rotatable command bezel, similar to that found on the Rolex Sky-Dweller.
The original GMT was launched in the mid-1950s with the current generation launching over 60 years later. The GMT has always had a two-tone bezel to differentiate between day vs night. The model on offer is the SARU 18ct gold with a bi-directional rotating bezel set with 18 baguette-cut sapphires, 18 baguette-cut rubies, 22 baguette-cut diamonds and a trillion-cut diamond. Its case is set with 76 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Leaving arguably the best until last… Debuted at Basel World 2013 by Rolex for the 50th anniversary of the sacred Cosmograph Daytona, the first Daytona to be crafted in Platinum. It features a superb ceramic bezel to combat those pesky scratches, making it the second Daytona to feature Rolex’s “Cerachrom” technology.
Director Christopher Nolan’s attention to detail is legendary, and his latest film “Dunkirk” is a source of excitement for watch lovers. In the movie, Tom Hardy, who plays the Royal Air Force pilot, regularly watches his watch. Hawkeye watch lovers like me have regarded watches as Omega. Specifically, the problematic watch is the Omega CK2129, which is the story behind it.
For readers unfamiliar with the 2017 film Dunkirk, it is currently a great success in the cinema, telling the story of Dunkirk’s evacuation during the Second World War. Dunkirk is the name of the French beach. In 1940, the Allies were trapped by the Germans and had nowhere to go.
Reliable timing is an important aspect of war, so watches are a very important tool. They are especially important for pilots who rely on watch navigation. In Dunkirk, we see that Hardy’s role depends largely on his watch, which plays an important role in the film. [SPOILER ALERT] This is not a real spoiler, but the most critical role of the watch (perhaps the most obvious shot) is that when his fuel gauge is damaged, he asks another pilot to take a fuel reading and over time The spread smeared it on the dashboard of the plane.
The watch chosen for Hardy’s character is the Omega CK2129. This choice is appropriate because it is reported that Omega provides about half of all the watches used by the Royal Air Force. In addition, the Omega CK2129 is the most commonly worn Omega watch by the Royal Air Force personnel in World War II. It is estimated that Omega delivered more than 110,000 watches to the British Ministry of Defense during the Second World War to support its forces.
Omega CK2129 originated in January 1940, shortly after the start of World War II. It was then that the Royal Air Force decided to take a watch with a rotating bezel and asked Omega to produce 2,000 such watches. By rotating the bezel, pilots can make calculations and time events easier and more accurate. The Omega CK2129 watch was finally delivered in March of the same year.
The Omega CK2129 is designed to be easy to use and easy to read. It has a cream dial, blue hands, a large Arabic hour scale, a large rotating bezel and two oversized crowns. These two large crowns allow the pilot to easily handle and wrap the watch while wearing gloves. In addition, the second crown at 4 o’clock is used to lock the rotating bezel so that it does not misread when accidentally hitting a narrow range of the cockpit of the aircraft.
The Omega CK2129 is powered by the Omega Calibre 23.4 SC, a hand-wound movement that has been used in many other Omega models during this time. Notable is its central seconds hand, which is very useful for short events in less than a minute. It has a frequency of 2.5 Hz and a power reserve of about 40 hours.
The Rolex Day-Date had always been the most elegant, refined and luxurious watch of the Oyster Collection by Rolex – that also has elegant watches in its Cellini collection. Exclusively made in precious metals – gold or platinum – it was available for years in 36mm and more recently in 41mm (with the Day-Date II), but still with the same complication: a 3-hand timepiece showing the date and the day in a unique (but now iconic and highly copied) way. For Baselworld 2015, this luxury Rolex receives a serious update, not only by getting new colours but also by coming with a new case and, mostly, a brand new movement. Here is the Rolex Day-Date 40 with the new Rolex Calibre 3255.
THE NEW ROLEX DAY-DATE 40
Together with the new dial colours, the main novelty concerning the Rolex Day-Date 40 is of course its new size – and thus meaning a new case. But first, let’s go back on what is, since 1956 (the year of its very first introduction), the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. This long name is important to understand all about this luxury watch.
It is said to be an Oyster. In Rolex’s nomenclature, it means that this timepiece is part of the sports watches collections and that it comes with a relatively high level of water resistance – 100 meters here to be precise – and is also a reference to the world’s first wrist watch with a water resistant case, the 1926 Rolex Oyster. Nowadays, this name is stamped more to allow the watch to protect its movement from humidity rather than to define a proper dive watch.
It is said to be an Oyster Perpetual. For Rolex, Oyster Perpetual means automatic / self-winding movement by the mean of a central oscillating weight also called rotor. Patented in 1931, this mechanism was, at that time, a real innovation, preventing the owner to actuate the crown and thus, to let humidity and dust enter the movement – thereby participating to the legendary robustness of the Rolexes.
It is said to be a Day-Date. The Day-Date is Rolex’s interpretation of a calendar watch, a timepiece that shows the date (classically by a window at 3, just like in the Datejust) and the day by the mean of a rotating disc with a large aperture at 12, letting the owner have a clear view on the day of the week – entirely written. This disc was – and still is – available in 26 languages and makes, together with the date disc, an instant jump at midnight.
It is said to be a Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. As every movement made by Rolex, the calibre of the Day-Day is highly tested and certified by both internal controls and by the COSC (and even beats the COSC standards).
The new Rolex Day-Date 40 is respectful of this 4 pillars, a water resistant, automatic chronometer watch that displays both the date and the day, together with a luxurious and refined feeling – as this timepiece is still only available in precious metals (yellow gold, white gold, rose gold or platinum). The case of this new edition shows new dimensions and new proportions. The diameter is reduced to 40mm and both the case-bands and the lugs are slimmer – something that collectors were highly expecting, as the previous editions were a bit too bulky.
The other novelty is the arrival of the President bracelet on every editions – this typically Rolex bracelet with 3 rounded links that is now fully integrated to the watch and comes with a new end-links design. This bracelet was introduced first in 1956 and made exclusively for the Rolex Day-Date and is still in good position here, in the context of the new Rolex Day-Date 40. Its solidity and its comfort are now fully admitted, as well as the quality of the hidden clasp. This new Rolex Day-Date 40 is available in a variety of materials and dials (excluding the editions with diamond settings):
Yellow gold with a sunburst yellow gold dial, with raised applied Roman Numerals and a fluted bezel.
White gold with a guilloché sectorial dial in silver, with raised applied Roman Numerals and a fluted bezel.
Everose gold (rose gold) with a stripped ‘Sundust’ dial, with raised applied batons indexes and a fluted bezel
Platinum with a squared sky blue dial, with raised applied batons indexes and a flat polished bezel
These new combinations, together with the new dimensions and proportions, are not totally renewing the concept of the DD. However, the new Rolex Day-Date 40 is more elegant, slightly more refined and still totally versatile – easily wearable with a weekend outfit or with a suit. Once on the wrist, the use of precious metals creates a quite heavy timepiece – especially in platinum – but the reasonable diameter, the slim profile and the comfort of the president bracelet are never debatable. The classic is revisited, not changed.
The upgrade time of Laurent Daytona Steel Co., Ltd. is over because we have seen it for 16 years. 904L Steel’s new Baselworld-2016 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 116500LN is waiting to be completed. It uses a new black ceramic overall Cerachrom baffle, using the updated Tacitometer design, the old carved metal baffle off. It still has the 4130 movement, but now Rolex tests with an accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per second, which is super-magical for mass-produced chronographs. This rating means that the new Rolex Daytona watch will also launch the Rolex Top Observatory certification, where you can read all the information in this regard. One new aesthetic choice I like is the black snail dial on the white dial, and the other version available on the black dial is the grey snail dial. Now, let’s take a look at this new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and see for yourself what it has…
The aforementioned monobloc Cerachrom, a material developed by Rolex, is replacing the bezel engraved with metal on the outgoing Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. It is based on the 1965 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and is equipped with a plexiglass black bezel, but the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona will join ceramic bezels with siblings Rolex Submariner and Rolex GMT-Master II. Due to its hardness, Cerachrom’s scratch resistance is excellent, and in addition it prevents the black bezel from fading due to UV light.
Rolex also endeavored to protect the readability of the frame through a process they developed, which involves molding the scale into ceramic before heating the scale to 1500 degrees Celsius. After that, it was coated with a thin layer of platinum using a PVD process. What this process does is create a defined level of contrast with platinum and black ceramics.
In addition, the speedometer scale has been updated so that it now “follows” the circular shape of the dial – the number is “horizontal” in previous versions. The final point about the front bezel is that it is a single piece that holds the crystal on the middle shell, which helps to prevent water.
As mentioned earlier, the automatic movement 4130 is still the engine that drives the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. However, the previously lauded COSC Chronometer certified movement is now also approved by the Rolex Super Precision Chronograph. For the record, Rolex did not plan to leave the COSC because they wanted to use it as an external independent certification. However, their internal certification requires a -2 / + 2 second accuracy rating, which is being applied to all new Rolex watches.
Returning to the Rolex designed 4130 movement, they focused on reducing the number of parts in the chronograph function to help improve reliability. The timer is activated and reset by means of a spiral button, which interacts with the column wheel and vertical clutch mechanism of the movement – helping to achieve precise and immediate starting. If you need that precision, the chronograph is accurate to 1/8 second. Interestingly, we still have 4 grooves between the seconds hand of the dial, so you can’t really read 1/8 of the accuracy.
For this 2016 edition of Baselworld, fans of Rolex are – with good reasons – mainly focusing on the introduction of a new Daytona in steel, now with a black ceramic bezel. However, there’s more from Rolex to this year (in fact, there’s a lot). Rolex will indeed discreetly correct some of the aspects people complained about on the Rolex Explorer 214270 (the 39mm with 3-hands), mainly focusing on a more relevant display. New hands, new indexes, all with improved proportions; this is what you’ll have with the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270. And here is our hands-on.
Some collectors complained about the increased size of the Rolex Explorer, when it moved from 36mm to 39mm with the ref. 214270. However, this diameter remains reasonable and elegant enough – and after a few years, people get used to these 3 extra millimeters. The main problem that collectors saw with this reworked Explorer 1 was the size of the hands. Both were too short compared to the dial and mainly, the minute hand was not relevant, as the tip of the hand wasn’t touching the minute track.
Same treatment has been applied on the hour hand, which is now a little bit longer. Both hands are also slightly larger. Overall, even if the dial looses some lightness with these fatter hands, it also becomes more convenient and more rational, as the hands are now long enough for the diameter of the dial.
The second evolution concerns the iconic 3 – 6 – 9 indexes – certainly the most important part of the Explorer – that are now also coated with blue Chromalight luminous material, just like the rest of the indexes and the hands (as a reminder, the previous edition of the Rolex Explorer 214270 was featuring plain steel, polished 3 – 6 – 9 indexes). If the day-time look will remain close, it will on the other hand bring a better legibility in low light conditions – then again with the idea of a more rational display in mind.
The rest of the watch remains similar, meaning that the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270 still features its 39mm Oyster case, in 904L stainless steel, water resistant to 100m, with flat and polished bezel and a 3-link Oyster bracelet with brushed surfaces and the Oysterlock clasp, with Easylink adjustment.
Finally – and this shouldn’t be underestimated – the 2016 Rolex Explorer 214270 features the same improvements than the 2016 Rolex Daytona in terms of precision of the movement, meaning that it has the Superlative Chronometer certification, done in-house by Rolex and with stricter criteria (-2/+2 seconds per day). It also is guaranteed for 5 years.
Having recovered from the jubilation following the release of the steel GMT Master II Pepsi during Baselworld 2018, we can now turn our attention to another candidate in the classic Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 line that is out to conquer the hearts of men… and women. Housed in a two-tone Everose Rolesor case (combination of steel and pink gold), Rolex has fitted the watch with its new-generation calibre 3235 and given the case some design tweaks. Handsome and refined with just the right touch of luxurious rose gold, practical for everyday wear and tear, robust and ready for action sports yet with enough style to work as a casual dress watch… what’s not to love about the Datejust 36? So, a word of warning to all you boyfriends out there: do not leave this watch unattended.
What woman hasn’t borrowed her boyfriend’s shirt, his jeans or snuggled up in his large cashmere sweater? The phenomenon of women poaching things from their boyfriends has trickled all the way down to the watch industry with more and more gender-fluid proposals. Chanel tapped into the trend and went as far as designing the BoyFriend watch for women (and we know that when it comes to creating trends, Chanel knows one or two tricks). Designed to look like a man’s dress watch that women would want to steal, the success of this watch has been extraordinary and a reverse effect in happening as more and more men are succumbing to the model, including the sophisticated skeletonised version of Chanel’s BoyFriend.
Surprisingly, coming from the bastion of conservative Swiss watchmaking, Rolex has always known that men’s sports watches would be adopted by women and has responded by releasing the Oyster Perpetual in five different sizes, from 39mm to 26mm to make sure nobody’s wrist is overlooked. For the record, when Rolex introduced its revolutionary waterproof Oyster case in 1926, it was put to the test on the wrist of a young Englishwoman – Mercedes Gleitze – to accompany her on her epic cross-Channel swim of 1927.
What makes this Datejust 36 such a perfect boyfriend watch – compared to the other two variations on the Datejust 36 theme with diamonds and louder dials – is its tempered masculinity (Rolex presented three Datejust 36 models during Baselworld 2018, including two with diamonds – see them here). It is masculine, but not butch and will look great on a woman’s wrist. Like a crisp white shirt, the white lacquered dial looks impeccably smart and confident, and the thick, pink gold Roman numerals give it a classic, authoritative spirit. In my book, this model is quintessential elegant Rolex and displays all the right markers of its heritage.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Chronograph comes exclusively in a 43mm wide case – note that there will be a 45mm version with a GMT function that TAG Heuer hints at in their press release, but doesn’t tell us more for the time being. Rumor has it, the new Heuer 02 will replace the 43mm Heuer-01, while the 45mm Heuer-01 will continue to live on. This, neatly, leads us to the movement: the Heuer-02, which we have seen in the generally well-received Autavia (reviewed here), marks the long-forgotten CH80’s return and now finds its way into the Carrera collection.
TAG Heuer—all part of LVMH watch division under the direction of Jean-Claude Biver. Today we take a look at some of the new 2018 TAG Heuer releases and unsurprisingly, there’s a mixed bag of mechanical timepieces, ladies’ watches, and smartwatches in the lineup.
The case has a solid construction with a solid case back which is engraved with the TAG logo and a depiction of a checkered flag symbolizing TAG Heuer’s commitment to motorsports.
The F1 series is traditionally geared towards motorheads and racing enthusiasts but they also thought about adding some water resistance for everyone else. Although 200m/660ft is not enough for any serious diving, you can wear it in the shower or take it swimming and other similar types of exposure to water.
The second time zone, an ultra-practical feature that can be adjusted with the crown, is read using the lacquered red hand and the black and blue ceramic bezel, which has a 24-hour GMT scale.There was something about how the almost-azure dial and orange-red highlights contrasted that really stood out for me. Overall, it’s an inspired vintage take that doesn’t feel overly antiquated or bland.
To ensure optimum legibility, the GMT hand has been ingeniously mounted in a secondary position — between the hour and minute hands — enabling it to pass over the indexes and skim the GMT scale.
For the first time since its introduction, Rolex is offering the stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II (126170BLRO) with a ceramic bezel in the legendary blue and red ‘Pepsi’ configuration. Ever since the updated GMT-Master II appeared on the market in 2008, many people have wanted to see a steel version of the watch with the famous Pan Am colors. And while many people were speculating that Rolex would reveal the ‘Coke’ version (black and red bezel) at Baselworld 2018, the brand instead reintroduced the classic configuration that started the legend.
This watch features the iconic two-tone ceramic bezel, familiar from the white gold GMT-Master II that was released in 2014. With the introduction of the steel version with the Pepsi bezel, Rolex has also decided to quietly change the dial color from black to blue on the white gold version.
The new stainless steel version features a redesigned Jubilee bracelet and the newly developed Rolex caliber 3285. With the launch of the new Jubilee bracelet, Rolex is bringing back an iconic GMT Master look. Though there are many fans of the Jubilee bracelet, it will be interesting to see whether Rolex introduces a version with the Oyster bracelet sometime in the future.
In addition to the stainless steel version with the classic Pepsi dial, Rolex also announced a bicolor GMT-Master II in 18k rose gold and stainless steel as well as a solid 18-karat rose gold version. Both versions feature the newly introduced black and brown ceramic bezel, the same Rolex caliber 3285, and the Oyster bracelet as seen in the GMT-Master II.
The new divers’ watch, Rolex Deepsea, features the calibre 3235 for the first time. The calibre has a blue Parachrom hairspring which is up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shock.
The 44mm-diametre divers’ watch features redesigned lugs and sides with a broader bracelet. The watch is water-resistant to 3,900 metres and comes with a 70-hour power reserve.