The excitement of Watches & Wonders never gets old. Months of speculation and hope for what our favorite watch brands may provide finally culminate in a week-long event spent refreshing our Instagram story feeds and our favorite watch blogs, hoping to catch a quick peek at the newest launch before it gets buried by the next launch. And while we don’t always agree to love everything, and comment sections can be quite heated, it is still my favorite time of year as an enthusiast.
This year was no exception, and Rolex as usual introduced a slew of new and updated models, including six new Day-Dates (and some absolutely stunning stone dial ones at that!), a new 40mm Explorer that is slowly growing on me, and the newest variation of the Daytona. Possibly one of the most controversial of this year’s launches was the jigsaw puzzle dial Day-Date. I think we can all agree this watch seemingly came out of nowhere! Yes, Rolex had been playing with a lot of color in recent years, but the puzzle dial was as out of the box as it gets for the deeply-rooted traditional Swiss brand. And of course, the comment section on every Instagram post was full of critics and after a few days we quit hearing about this unique Day-Date, until this past weekend that is.
Image Source Rolex
I personally was excited to be scrolling Instagram over the weekend and coming across legendary singer/songwriter and incredible watch collector John Mayer’s stories where he announced that he just picked up this unique Day-Date. Screenshots were quickly shared in the forums and comments erupted once again, which had me thinking, why were we ever overlooking this model? Yes, it's bold and different, but as watch collectors isn’t that what we look for from a traditionally “stuck in their way” industry? Rolex incorporated multiple dial colors in a fun puzzle pattern with gemstone markers and replaced the traditional Day-Date indication. Replacing the day at 12 o’clock is a disc with seven inspirational words: “Happy”, “Eternity”, “Gratitude”, “Peace”, “Faith”, “Love”, and “Hope”. And instead of the date wheel, 31 emojis including an additional Rolex crown not found on any iPhone or Android sadly. Available in either white or yellow gold with a turquoise base color, or in Everose with an orange base color, the jigsaw dial was not designed for mass market consumption, so why have we all expected it to fit into a specific “safe” box?
Image Source John Mayer Instagram
I have to admit, I was equally skeptical when first seeing the photos, but it’s grown on me. One of the things I’ve learned as a collector for many years is that I don’t have to love everything to appreciate it. As a millennial, the emojis just pull at my heartstrings a bit and bring such a nostalgic joy (similar to the one I felt with realizing Tamagotchi’s were back). It’s just fun in every sense of the word. Maybe as collectors, we all get a bit too caught up in trying to keep everyone in their box, while also complaining about how no one does anything different (the hypocrisy of it all - and yes, I’m very guilty of this myself).
I’m sure this will be a brief release from Rolex, which means it will ultimately be a collector’s item. Add to that reality of rarity the fact that now its notoriety and popularity will surely rise with John Mayer adding it to his collection, and maybe, just maybe, the jigsaw puzzle Day-Date will finally see its day in the sun. I know I’d love to come across one at a watch meetup just to check it out. And maybe this will be my little reminder for next year’s Watches & Wonders not to take watches so seriously, that it’s okay for brands to step outside the box and have a little fun. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here waiting for G-Shock to put out a Tamagotchi watch *insert heart-eye emoji here*. John Mayer put it best, a "wearable reminder to have fun".