It would be hard to overstate the importance of Rolex in modern horology. Their timeless designs are instantly recognisable, and their technological innovations numerous. Discover more about Rolex than meets the wrist at Time+Tide.

HANDS-ON: The mysterious Rolex Submariner Date ref. 116659 SABR – white gold, blue dial and a whole lot of bling

There was a lot of mystery surrounding this piece when it was pulled out of a large green box during our appointment with Rolex at Baselworld. And, to be honest, we were too caught up in the moment, too dazzled by the gemstones, to take it all in at the time. It’s formally known as the Submariner Date ref. 116659 SABR, a variant on the white gold, blue-dialled ‘Smurf’ (ref. 116659 LB), but while at first glance it might look like the stones are the only addition, the dial is completely different. Not only is it darker, and has a sunray effect, but there’s a notable omission. Look closer. Have you spotted it yet? That’s right, there’s no depth rating. On a typical sub, there’s a line underneath the ‘Submariner’ text that says the watch is good to ‘1000ft = 300m’; not so here. And there’s also no specific mention of depth rating on the press release, though it does specify an Oyster case and Triplock crown. But it bears the Submariner name, so you’d expect it to be 300m, though it’s not made explicit, perhaps something to do with all those diamonds. Speaking of stones, the bezel is set, in Rolex’s… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II in Oystersteel (ref. 126710BLRO), with a Jubilee bracelet

You’ve either been sleeping or taking a break from social media to have missed the news on this one. As part of their new Baselworld 2018 releases, Rolex have released for the very first time a ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master II in ‘Oystersteel’ (which is the new Rolex terminology for their 904L steel). Yes, a two-colour red and blue Cerachrom bezel insert, WITH a Jubilee bracelet. Vital statistics The five-link Jubilee bracelet is also made from Oystersteel and features an ‘Oysterclasp’, which allows for 5mm of adjustment. It’s also worth noting that this is the first time we’ve seen a Jubilee bracelet on a sports Rolex in modern times. The Oystercase also received some changes and has been redesigned. It’s noticeably different in comparison to the GMT-Master II BLNR (Batman), which is also still in production. Aesthetics aside, the new Pepsi GMT also features an entirely new generation movement — the 3285 calibre, which features a beefed-up 70-hour power reserve. Another small, yet noteworthy, detail is the additional Rolex crown on the dial, which you’ll notice at six o’clock, between ‘Swiss’ and ‘Made’. This appears to be on all new 2018 models. It’s small touches like these that help collectors distinguish between different… Read More

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VIDEO: While all eyes are on the Pepsi, here’s the Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel and Everose (ref. 126711CHNR)

In the wee hours of this morning, as I was recording this voice-over, it occurred to me that the only watch from the new Rolex GMT-Master II collection currently not receiving a massive amount of coverage at Basel 2018 was the one in the middle – with both Oystersteel and Everose elements, the two-tone, or as Rolex call it, Rolesor model. It just so happens that, at this point in time, it’s the one I’m most fixated on. I think, without stealing too much of my own thunder, it’s the way that all the colours, finishings, materials, and fine details come together – and play off one another. I’m sure that once the Pepsi sugar high has worn off a little, the glittering Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel and Everose will have its time in the sun, but we thought we’d shine a little light on it early.

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HANDS-ON: The mysterious Rolex Submariner Date ref. 116659 SABR – white gold, blue dial and a whole lot of bling

There was a lot of mystery surrounding this piece when it was pulled out of a large green box during our appointment with Rolex at Baselworld. And, to be honest, we were too caught up in the moment, too dazzled by the gemstones, to take it all in at the time. It’s formally known as the Submariner Date ref. 116659 SABR, a variant on the white gold, blue-dialled ‘Smurf’ (ref. 116659 LB), but while at first glance it might look like the stones are the only addition, the dial is completely different. Not only is it darker, and has a sunray effect, but there’s a notable omission. Look closer. Have you spotted it yet? That’s right, there’s no depth rating. On a typical sub, there’s a line underneath the ‘Submariner’ text that says the watch is good to ‘1000ft = 300m’; not so here. And there’s also no specific mention of depth rating on the press release, though it does specify an Oyster case and Triplock crown. But it bears the Submariner name, so you’d expect it to be 300m, though it’s not made explicit, perhaps something to do with all those diamonds. Speaking of stones, the bezel is set, in Rolex’s… Read More

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VIDEO: The 5 big Rolex releases of Basel 2018, including a cool Pepsi and warm root beer, and a gem of a Daytona

Cola was the hot topic leading up to Baselworld 2018 when it came to speculation about new Rolex releases. Would the Big Crown twist the lid off a new ‘Coke’, a two-colour red and black Cerachrom bezel GMT-Master II model, or rather open a cold can of Pepsi, referring to the two-colour red and blue Cerachrom bezel GMT-Master II? The fact that it was the latter was not a surprise as much as the fact that it was in stainless steel, or ‘Oystersteel’, as 904L steel is to be known henceforth. The new generation Jubilee bracelet choice, as well as a new movement — the 3285, extending the power reserve from 48 to 70 hours — made this a very meaningful evolution of the wildly popular collection. Rolex’s dextrous little parry landed a hit squarely on journalists, fans and the industry, but no sooner was that noted by the scorers then the other releases also started to emerge. In addition to the expanded GMT-Master II range, which also includes the first ever Everose GMT-Master II, we have a proportionally improved Deep-Sea Sea-Dweller and a gem-set Daytona that is hot, hot, HOTline bling.

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IN-DEPTH: Future classic? The Rolex Explorer II ref. 16570

Editor’s note: Today’s review is a little unusual on several accounts. Most significantly it’s of a watch that’s been discontinued for seven years. Given this fact, Bruce (of BLNR fame) has written a more personal, evocative piece, which makes sense as much ink has already been shed in tribute to the details and intricacies of this particular Rolex Explorer II. So why talk about it now? Well, I’m of the firm belief that the star of the Explorer II is on the rise — especially the polar version — so it’s the perfect time to shine a little light on it. Plus, you never know what we’ll see at Basel tomorrow … Back when I was shopping for my first Rolex, I was offered a ‘new old stock’ Explorer II 16570 by the local boutique at a decent discount. I brushed it off at the time due to a fixation with the Submariner (which ironically ended up as a Datejust) and also the limited knowledge that it was a past model and recently replaced by an improved 216570 in 42mm. Why in the world would I have bought that old 16570? It made no sense to me at the time…. Read More

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INSIGHT: Predicting the Rolex Basel 2018 releases, using the last 7 years as a guide

With Baselworld 2018 just around the corner, fevers around the Time+Tide office are running hot, contemplating what Rolex is likely to drop in Basel in a few days time. Looking back at Rolex releases in Basel over the past seven years, we assess some of the mic-dropping releases in the Rolex line-up and the likelihood of seeing updates to those models in 2018. 2017 –  Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 Boom. Probably the most talked about watch of Basel 2017, Rolex launched the new Sea-Dweller a mere three years after its previous incarnation, with a 43mm case (to some controversy), cyclops date window (to even more controversy) and red ‘Sea Dweller’ text on the dial (to no controversy at all). Chances of seeing a new Sea-Dweller at Basel 2018? Somewhere between ‘never’ and ‘impossible’. 2017 – Rolex Sky-Dweller in Rolesor Rolex made the Sky-Dweller available in stainless steel (with a white gold bezel) for the first time ever, with new dial variants and an accessible price (albeit not availability). The blue-on-blue and black-on-black dials simply stole the show. Chances of seeing a new Rolex Sky-Dweller at Basel 2018? Too soon. 2016 – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King 116900 2016 saw Rolex put a steroid… Read More

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