When I first seriously got into horology in 2014 I read everything I could about Rolex. I was fascinated by the fact that the Swiss brand had created tool watches for key professions to meet their unique needs. Think of the Milgauss which was created for engineers working in labs to withstand the extreme magnetic fields of the machines they used on a daily basis. Think of the Explorer 2 invented for cave dwellers so that they would distinguish day from night whilst exploring caves for several days. Think also of the Submariner, the Sea Dweller, the GMT Master I and II, as well as the Yachtmaster. (Although I would argue the latter wasn’t perhaps as essential as the other ones.)
Now that we live in a world surrounded by technology that can do everything for us better than any mechanical watch would, I wondered what kind of tool watch could Rolex create in 2023? What need would there be to fulfill? A few weeks ago, I wrote an article imagining the perfect Mars exploration timepiece (LINK) and what it would look like. Today, I thought we could imagine the next Rolex tool watch that we could use on our blue planet. To make this article possible, I will be illustrating my ideas using a variety of images from different brands.
What Tool Watch Do We Need in 2023?
Looking at all types of tool watches available right now from all brands that exist, we have the following: dive watches, travel watches, pilot watches, space exploration watches, earthen exploration watches, cave dwelling watches, chronographs, and engineer watches. All brands put together, we’ve got most of our bases covered. Or, should I say, all currently existing bases covered. And one can find any type of tool watch at various price points and at various levels of quality. I would further add that a chronograph could be used to either time a race or to brew the perfect cup of espresso. So I won’t go into the details of how each type of watch could be used or all variations of them that exist.
Here we should think more holistically about what we need in 2023. What do people like you and I need from a mechanical watch? It could be anything a computer or smartphone already does, however which we prefer to do sans digital technology. The next Rolex tool watch could be a combination of functions that would make sense for a particular type of lifestyle. Personally, I could see myself soon living off-the-grid and I would need a tool watch that would support my remote lifestyle. I think of living amongst nature, remotely, and doing a lot of exploration and outdoorsy activities.
What I have in mind is a robust tool watch that comes with a GMT function, a chronograph, and a way to take into account daylight savings time. I will explain the need for each function below.
Features of the Next Rolex Tool Watch
The first element that the next Rolex tool watch would be endowed with is robustness. This means decent water resistance (100 to 200 meters) so that I don’t have to worry about water ingress when hiking, swimming, or when I would be caught in a rainstorm. Resistance to magnetic fields so that my watch will keep precise time, which should be combined with a reliable and precise movement. A sapphire crystal that resists scratches, a PVD coated case that resists shocks and scratches, as well as a comfortable bracelet with a diver’s extension and quick-release spring bars for easy strap changes. (So that I can adapt the strap to my activity.) Furthermore, I would say a legible dial with a matte texture and monochromatic scheme to aid with legibility.
From a features standpoint then, the next Rolex tool watch should have a GMT function so that I can always differentiate daytime from nighttime. This would be most helpful when exploring Northern countries during the winter when the days are very short. The watch should also come with built-in complications to account for daylight savings time and shorter months, so that I always know what date it is. Furthermore, having a day indicator would be helpful so as to always know where I am in the month and week. All of this functionality would naturally be well integrated within the dimensions of the watch so that it doesn’t come out too large and heavy.
The last feature the next Rolex tool watch should have is a multi-function chronograph. Thinking of a way to track how long I’ve been driving, or how much time I have before my car battery would run out, or to calculate how much further I can drive based on my average speed and fuel capacity. I find chronographs to be useful to do all sorts of things and the next Rolex tool watch should have one that can be used to track multiple things all at once. (And of course, display all functions in an elegant way.)
When I go back to the enormous spec sheet delineated above, I’m starting to think that instead of a mechanical movement, the next Rolex tool watch should have a one-of-a-kind solar-powered quartz caliber. This would help integrate multiple functions without making the watch too expensive or too heavy, and to make it reliable and service-free for many years to come. Being, however, more of a mechanical and analog type of watch guy, I would want the next Rolex tool watch to display all functions using hands and not digital screens. This would help preserve the authentic and old school character of the first tool watches and make it something we could wear proudly and pass down the generations.Featured image: www.chrono24.fr