Rolex 2021 Predictions
Jordan Ferro6 April 2021 | 5 min read
And so it begins, new year, new Rolex releases. Every year, like clockwork, the mighty crown blesses us mere mortals with new timepieces to drool over. Beyond guessing what new releases will join the catalogue there also is the question which models will be removed and in response will either go unnoticed or rocket up in price, there is no real in between.
While Rolex is often claimed to be a conservative brand that does not mean that their next steps have become predictable. With the wisdom of the past guiding us we can make educated guesses as to what seems most likely. Beyond the professional intrigue this yearly ritual is like Christmas for watch nerds. It is a time to dream and hope and the giddy anticipation the night before is unparalleled.
With the coronavirus, and the death of Baselworld that accompanied it, last year was a mess overshadowed by the confusion of what is actually going to happen. This year things are a little more planned as Rolex, together with many other notable companies, formed together to create their own exhibition show titled “Watches & Wonders“ that is set to take place on April 7th. The following are our personal predictions of what could happen on that day categorized into the respective product families.
First things first, I call nonsense on the 41mm blue steel Daytona pictures that have made the rounds. Since the steel Daytona was only released in 2016 time-wise it would be too fast for a new steel model. Additionally, a size upgrade like the proposed 41mm would usually be first seen on a precious metal model rather than jump straight to stainless. While on the topic of the metal, it would seem insensitive of Rolex to add more fuel to the fire given the crazy escapades of steel Daytona prices with them trading at three times retail.
What is much more likely is a two-tone Everose gold model being introduced to the collection either with a metal or a ceramic bezel. A watch like that makes so much sense I had to double check that it wasn’t already in the current catalogue. This would make for a handsome alternative to get more buyers who wait on a steel model to jump for the two-tone variant.
Sadly, I fear that the platinum Daytona will be discontinued. Initially introduced for the 50th anniversary of the model this amazing watch was not in the focus of collectors until this year when prices exploded. This year this watch will have been around already for 8 years. It seems high-time that it will be discontinued following the pattern of other anniversary watches like the Kermit.
The fact that the Explorer II will get an update is basically an open secret at this point. This watch is long due an update as it has been 10 years since the current generation got introduced for its 40th anniversary back in 2011. Beyond that it is also the 50th anniversary of this model and we all know how much Rolex likes to wait for these events in order to redo their watch. Finally there is the teaser on the Rolex website which has robbed even the hardest sceptics of their last doubts.
Since the dial is still a contemporary design there is no need for Rolex to meddle with it, although there is the possibility of a model with green accents being released parallel to the normal watch as we have seen for example with the Submariner. Additionally, a ceramic bezel akin to that on the steel Daytona is a given though possibly with a matte instead of polished finish as seen on some Yacht-Master models.
Since the current generation already sits comfortably at 42mm an increase in size seems unlikely and would probably alienate a portion of the hard-core Rolex fans. What is sure is that this model will get a new generation 32xx movement, being one of the last models with the old generation that still have the inferior 48h power reserve.
With the Rolex Explorer II getting an update it would only make sense to update the standard Explorer in the same swoop. A lot of people have talked about the possibility of a polar white dial added which seems more like fan-fiction than anything else. Instead Rolex will take a more conservative approach and simply fit it with an updated movement and alter the case size. While I personally would like to see the case shrink back to its traditional 36mm roots Rolex will probably increase it instead to 40mm.
Not only is 40mm a more contemporary size that fits better in the overall Rolex collection, but also a decrease in size is to this day unheard of for Rolex and would almost feel like an admittall of failure for the design language of the last two decades. That seems extremely unlikely to occur one year after their most iconic watch, the submariner, got its first increase in size ever.
There have been some rumors going around that the Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue green crystal will get the axe and follow the path of the Hulk as a watch we have only learnt to appreciate once it was no longer available. I would wager Rolex is going to go one further than that and kill off the entire collection. Historically speaking the Milgauss is one of the ranges that has been produced back in 1956 only to be discontinued in 1988 and then reintroduced in 2007. Since then it has seen some success but not nearly the levels of interest we see for other watches and particularly the models without the green crystal have been underperformers.
While some people think this model will get a new movement I struggle to see the end goal for this product. This is because since 2014 Rolex has slowly started to integrate their Syloxi escapement in some of their fringe products and will expand this provided it proves itself to be reliable. These are made out of silicon and by virtue of the nature of that material completely paramagnetic.
While it may still take some years for the silicon to be integrated in all product lines I do not see Rolex justifying still putting in the effort for this product. What would be the point of the traditional soft-iron core for the movement if it is already paramagnetic to begin with, and what would be the point of the Milgauss if all other Rolex watches are also paramagnetic?
That is it for our predictions for the 2021 Rolex releases. Be sure to check in with us some time after the 7th of April to hear our takes on what new Rolex models have been introduced!