Feature: NEW 2023 Rolex Release Predictions

During a normal year, the prospect of seeing a spate of new Rolex models would be about as slim as Vladimir Putin’s chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But for Rolex, 2023 isn’t a normal year. It’s a year that celebrates major anniversaries of some of its most iconic models.

We’re banking on the Crown to push the boat out during 2023 and give its fans a few things to get really excited about. We’re not talking about improving the magnification of a cyclops date window by one per cent or adding a millimetre to the case of a Datejust. We’re predicting some significant changes to revitalise the Rolex line-up…

Celebrating iconic sport models

The staff at Rolex will be eating a LOT of birthday cake this year as the Submariner turns 70 and the Daytona turns 60. Meanwhile it’s 70 years since a prototype Explorer reached the summit of Everest.

Out of these three, the Submariner is arguably the most likely to get an aesthetic tweak, and that usually means the introduction of a new bezel colour, with red being the hot favourite.

It’s a colour already tried and tested by sister brand Tudor on its Heritage Black Bay series so it would hardly be the shock of the century. A bigger surprise would be a white-dial Submariner, something Rolex has toyed with in the distant past—examples are extremely rare—and if they really wanted to go crazy, why not make it in titanium.

Speaking of which, after the release of the Deepsea Challenge in this ultra-light material last year, we expect Rolex to use titanium for its stalwart sports models. A titanium Explorer or Daytona could be in the works, though given the fact that Tudor has used it for its Pelagos dive watch, the Submariner is definitely the leading contender.

Another GMT curveball

Rolex threw us a curveball last year with the left-hander GMT Master II, complete with a new green and black bezel combination. Since the GMT Master doesn’t celebrate its 70th birthday for another two years, we’d be shocked if they did something similar this year.

No, we reckon a fully updated “Coke” bezel GMT-Master II on an Oyster bracelet will be as far as Rolex goes when it comes to this particular model. Nothing ground-breaking, but long-time Rolex aficionados will lap up the familiarity of such a model coming back into the fold.

More yellow-gold or bi-metal models

As 80s-inspired timepieces are starting to come back into fashion, we’ve seen an array of releases in bold yellow-gold colourways—Vacheron Constantin’s new 222 model is a prime example. Rolex has already released bi-metal models of the Explorer I and Sea-Dweller in steel and yellow-gold, but could it unveil full yellow-gold versions this year? Or perhaps the Crown will bring us another bi-metal yellow-gold and steel number via the Explorer II…

And don’t rule out Rolex doing something really creative with the Explorer II’s dial. Maybe one that reflects its rugged aura of adventure—the blue of Alpine lakes or a nod to the rolling dunes of the Sahara desert.

Possible update or discontinuation of the Milgauss

The Milgauss is renowned for being a divisive watch, with its classic orange lightning bolt hand stoking a love-hate response within the watch community. It’s previously been dropped from the Rolex line-up and later revived again with a distinctive new look , but will 2023 be the year it’s dropped from the line-up for good? Or will it simply receive some long-overdue adjustments?

Goodbye, Cellini. Hello again, Midas?

Anyone keeping a close eye on the Rolex website will have noticed the gradual reduction of Cellini models over the past couple of years. Currently, Rolex lists just one model, a moonphase edition in Everose gold.

Something is clearly going on behind the secretive walls of Rolex HQ.

Given the aforementioned trend for yellow-gold models and a burgeoning 80s revival, could we see a rebirth of models like the King Midas and Prince, which were once part of the Cellini Collection anyway? Or will Rolex stun the industry by launching a Cellini tourbillon perpetual calendar?

It’s unlikely that Rolex is giving up on dress watches entirely. This one has got us delightfully baffled and we can’t wait to see how it pans out.

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