Discontinued Rolex Models 2024 (And One That Dodged a Bullet)

Discontinued Rolex Models 2024 (And One That Dodged a Bullet)

I’ve been hearing Watches and Wonders 2024 described as a “palate cleanser” year. I tend to agree. Like it or not, Rolex’s slate of releases sets the tone for the show and, for many, defines how it will be remembered. Most remember Watches and Wonders 2023 by Rolex's slew of unexpected releases: the ‘Puzzle dial’ Day-Date, ‘Celebration dial’ OP, Perpetual 1908, etc. This year, we received no such splashy releases, perhaps barring the 322g deep-diving chunk of gold I covered yesterday. In a “palate cleanser” year like 2024, discontinuations can be as important as the releases themselves. Today I’d like to discuss each model that Rolex discontinued in 2024, as well as one that dodged a bullet.

Discontinued Rolex Daytona ‘Le Mans’ (Already?)

Rolex Le Mans Daytona

Last year Rolex released a special edition Daytona to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The watch featured the unique chronograph caliber 4132, reworked to measure up to 24 hours, as well as ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona chronograph subdials. While the former is certainly impressive, the latter alone made for one of the most significant Rolex releases in a long time. If this is (somehow) the first you’re hearing of the ‘Le Mans’ Daytona, don’t get too attached: it’s been discontinued, at least in its existing white gold configuration. From what I understand, an off-catalog yellow gold version has filled the void.

This is the shortest production run of any modern Rolex watch: officially, that is. While the Le Mans' abrupt discontinuation ostensibly can be chalked up to it being an anniversary model, I’m sure it feels like a kick in the pants to anyone who put their name down for one. You will be missed, white gold Le Mans.

Discontinued Rolex Datejust 36 Palm and Fluted Dial Motifs

Rolex Palm Dial and Fluted Dial

Image Sources (left to right): Watch Palace, The Marin Vault 

Released in 2021, Rolex’s Datejust 36 ‘Palm’ and ‘Fluted’ motif dials have officially been discontinued. These fun laser-etched dials were perfect for the 36mm Datejust silhouette; I’m sad to see them both go. While the ‘Palm’ dial certainly saw higher demand than the ‘Fluted’, both provided nice variety in the Datejust 36 lineup. As a side note/wish, I hope to see the ombré dial from this year’s Everose Day-Date make its way to the Datejust collection; it would be a nice dial addition to the now-somewhat-plain lineup.

Discontinued Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II Yellow Gold

Released in 2007 (one on this list is unlike the others), the Yacht-Master II was bound to be majorly overhauled or more likely discontinued this year. I wrote an entire article about it. Despite its impressive mechanics, the Yacht-Master II’s outdated design and niche functionality had no place in Rolex’s modern collection. Unlike the Milgauss, I am uncertain that the Yacht-Master II will return to Rolex’s lineup, at least by the blueprint of its sole reference. 

The Pepsi GMT-Master II Lives On

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi

Image Source: Hodinkee

Most discontinuation predictions/expectations revolved around the red-and-blue GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’: a watch whose red-based bi-color Cerachrom insert required some serious innovation on the part of Rolex. Anecdotally, we saw numerous cracked, bleeding, or otherwise flawed inserts, with speculation that Rolex saw an abnormally high error rate in the manufacturing process. When I saw the new steel GMT in Rolex’s window, I was all but certain the ‘Pepsi’ was gone. Luckily, both the white gold and steel versions of the ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master II live on. Furthermore, Rolex presented a GMT-Master exhibit at their booth this year, a section of which detailed the bi-color Cerachrom manufacturing process. While it was very cool to see in person, most of the info has been available for 6 years in this press release.

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