THE ULTIMATE WATCH
It’s that time of the year again when watch enthusiasts alike in North America are dreading the next 3 months of winter and paying taxes. We therefore try to distract our minds onto something more upbeat such as the new watch models coming out in the spring if not spring itself. While the only certainty about Rolex predictions is that no one can accurately predict anything about the brand, we still have so much fun in postulating what new models will pop up or equally what models will be discontinued. With the recent retail price increase in Europe and in North America, Rolex has offered certain vague clues as to what’s in store for the upcoming Watches and Wonders.
Because it is too difficult to make predictions across all Rolex models, I will only make my predictions on this year’s obvious model. 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Daytona. Prices of full gold and two tone professional models have seen the most increase this year up to 7% as compared to stainless steel models. Because the price of gold has not increased appreciably, this cannot explain a 7% increase in gold models. Rather, perhaps Rolex is focusing on producing more gold or two tone models and want to increase their margin on precious metal models as opposed to stainless steel where the margin is lower to begin with. Rolex may be trending towards producing more precious metal models compared to stainless steel like Thierry Stern has explicitly stated for Patek Philippe’s directions. Surely, Rolex have seen in the last five years an insatiable demand for not only stainless steel models but for precious metal models so why not capitalize on the metal that produces the most margin? They have their own foundry so I imagine it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to produce more precious metal models relative to stainless steel. If not solely for the margins, perhaps Rolex want to shift their focus (just like Patek) on the more interesting precious metal models. I mean let’s admit that the precious metal models specifically the Daytona are much more varied, more colourful and more visually appealing. The stainless steel Daytona is clean and demure but not as overwhelmingly striking as the white gold blue dial Daytona or the emerald green and yellow gold Daytona. In fact most of the precious metal Daytonas offer something aesthetically special that the stainless steel ones don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wearability of the stainless steel Daytonas which are significantly lighter than the gold ones but the precious metal ones are more multidimensional in terms of colour and impression. Just look at the platinum Daytona brown bezel and the way it contrasts with the ice blue dial. Simply stunning! Back to the 2023 predictions or more likely my wishes for this spring.
TWO TONE DAYTONA
While I would love to see a ceramic bezel on the two tone Daytonas model number 116503, I don’t think Rolex will change much on these models. The bracelet will remain Rolesor in order to keep with the name. And the bezel will also remain pure yellow gold. The ceramic bezel will remain true to only the Oysterflex all gold cases and the stainless steel Daytona. The Oysterflex bezels already contain gold in the tachymetric scales and placing these bezels on the two tone model would not make them bi-metal as originally intended. Therefore the Rolesor bezels will remain metal, namely gold. However, the metal need not necessarily be made of yellow gold. The dials however may change and we may see varying colours distinct from the stainless steel or all gold models such as purple, or yellow, or silver much like the current Oyster Perpetual lineup.
A much overdue introduction to the Rolesor Daytona is the much needed everose version. Imagine a two tone Daytona with a stainless steel case with either a full rose gold bezel with a funky coloured dial like taupe or brown. Again a two tone rose gold model would have to be differentiated from the all gold versions with a different dial layout and colour. I can envision the dial to be a lime green colour which would be a fantastic contrast to the rose gold bezel.
SPECIAL 60TH ANNIVERSARY DAYTONA IN TITANIUM
We were all heavily shaken, and I do mean heavy, when Rolex blew us away in 2013 with the 50th anniversary Platinum and ceramic Daytona with the singular ice blue dial. What came most of a surprise was not just the aesthetics, but the choice of material, platinum. No one saw this coming but in doing so, Rolex did proclaim something very special for the Daytona’s 50th birthday. It was not a golden anniversary but a platinum anniversary, which is normally reserved for the 70th.
So, in keeping with this theme, I think again in 2023 Rolex will blow us away with the choice of material for the 60th. The 60th wedding anniversary is celebrated with diamonds but I don’t think that will be the surprise material. I think Rolex will come out with either a full Titanium Daytona which was also wished for by Danny Milton at Hodinkee or let me be bold to proclaim a new FULL CERAMIC Daytona, both with special dial colours and configurations to distinguish them from the other Daytonas. Of course, I am probably wrong with this prediction but we sure would be blown away by either of these. Or Rolex could blow us more away by producing another material that we are not even aware of like an all meteorite Daytona (if that’s even possible). Think of the limited production of that monster and how much it would fetch at auction. It surely would rank in the same level as the Tiffany Nautilus. Oh and one more thing. I think that for this particular model, Rolex would downsize the case to 37mm in homage to the vintage 6200 series and I would venture to predict that the dials would be similar to the 6239 Paul Newman art deco Daytonas. Oh and one other thing, I think that for this special 60th anniversary, Rolex will slap on a unique green tachymetric ceramic bezel. And maybe my one and only accurate prediction, this anniversary Rolex will be expensive. I’m estimating a minimum of 40,000 USD.
My bet is on a full titanium Daytona because Rolex and Tudor already produce models in this metal, the Deep Sea Challenge, the protoype Sir Ben Ainslie Yachtmaster and the new Pelagos 39. The Daytona is a heavy watch presumably because of the complicated 4130 chronograph movement, but it wears so well because it is perfectly balanced. Now imagine a new much lighter titanium Daytona (by 45%) compared to steel and also perfectly balanced. That would be the ultimate watch to wear. Everyone will desire one for its rarity, collectibility and novelty. It will immediately climb to the top of Rolex’s most desired model. If not in 2023, it is sure to happen in the near future. I’m not an expert in marketing but in terms of novelty, wearability and uniqueness, Rolex would be foolish not to ever release one. And I’m sure they thought of it long before I did.
If Rolex do introduce a special 60th Daytona, what will they do with the 50th platinum? Will they discontinue it? My feeling is no. Although platinum is a difficult material to work with, Rolex will continue to produce this beauty otherwise there would be nothing to commemorate the 50th. And since they introduced a platinum version to the Daytona lineup, this model is iconic enough to deserve this metal with ice blue dial like the Day-Date. They may tweak it with a different coloured bezel but in keeping with Rolex tradition, I don’t think they will change it much if at all. Or they may add a meteorite dial and call that the 60th anniversary version. All unfounded speculation at this point but it sure is fun imagining the realm of possibilities.
Usually I am 100% wrong in my predictions but so is everyone else. But these are my humble predictions and I sure hope I am dead wrong because I don’t want to be chasing ADs for my own wishes should I happen to be right. The chances of us obtaining any of these new Daytonas with time becomes more difficult because Rolex makes significant improvements and makes them even more beautiful, causing even more desire for them.