Watches & Wonders Geneva is right around the corner, which means that it’s time to start speculating about our Rolex predictions for 2022. Now, before we even get started, it’s worth mentioning that Rolex is notoriously secretive about most of its operations, and all of these predictions are grounded in nothing more than my hopes and guesswork about what the brand might have planned for the end of March - regardless of how accurate (or inaccurate) they may end up being.
All things considered, entirely new Rolex watches aren’t all that common. As a point of reference, the last completely new model that Rolex introduced was the Sky-Dweller, and that debuted a full decade ago. Most years, Rolex just ends up releasing new generations of existing models or adding additional options and configurations to longstanding collections. However, sometimes a new generation of an existing watch can mean a significant step forward for the brand, and other times a new dial or bracelet option is all that it takes to entirely change the public’s perception of a particular model. So, what does Rolex have planned for Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022?
New Rolex Milgauss
I’ve been saying this for several years now, but the Rolex Milgauss is long overdue for an update. We are surrounded by countless magnets and electronic devices in our modern lives, and antimagnetic watches are arguably more practical today than ever before. However, the general baseline for magnetic resistance in wristwatches has significantly increased since the Rolex Milgauss first made an appearance in 1956, and it is starting to become a feature that some brands are making standard across all of their contemporary watch movements.
The current version of the Milgauss is quite resistant to magnetic fields, but the technology that it relies on is rather antiquated compared to the antimagnetic watches produced by other brands. Many of today’s top magnetic resistant watches are built with entirely antimagnetic movement components, but the Rolex Milgauss still uses an additional internal shield to protect itself from disruptive magnetic forces. All things considered, the existing version of the Milgauss seems to be on borrowed time, and I could easily see Rolex using the next generation of the model to debut a new generation of entirely antimagnetic movements.
Two-Tone Rolex Daytona Ceramic Bezel
Given how diverse the Rolex Daytona collection has become over the years, it seems almost shocking that you still can’t get a two-tone Daytona with a ceramic bezel. The stainless steel and platinum models are both exclusively fitted with bezels made from Cerachrom, and all three colors of gold are also available with ceramic bezels on the various Oysterflex-equipped references. However, when it comes to the two-tone Rolex Daytona, a ceramic bezel simply isn’t an option at this time.
Rolex already has all the necessary components to make a two-tone Daytona with a ceramic bezel. All that would need to happen would be to swap the standard 18k gold tachymeter bezel for the black Cerachrom one from the yellow gold version of the watch that is paired with an Oysterflex bracelet. Although this would represent little more than a bezel update for the existing two-tone Daytona, we all know how much of a difference a ceramic bezel can make - just look at how global interest in the stainless steel model exploded once it received a Cerachrom bezel back in 2016.
New Rolex Yacht-Master II Generation
Image: Watch Charts
I’ve already said that I think there will be a new Rolex Yacht-Master II for 2022 and I firmly stand by that belief (although nothing is certain when it comes to Rolex predictions). The fact that the Yacht-Master II was virtually the only Rolex collection that did not see a price increase for 2022 is a fairly good sign that the existing references will be dropped from the catalog later this year. Additionally, due to the high development costs of the model’s complex countdown timer movement, it would seem highly unlikely that Rolex would discontinue the Yacht-Master II altogether. Therefore, one of the only logical explanations would be that Rolex has an all-new generation of the Yacht-Master II planned for 2022.
Despite the fact that British sailor and Rolex ambassador Ben Ainslie has recently been spotted wearing a titanium no-date Yacht-Master 42 prototype, I don’t believe that this is the new model that Rolex will be unveiling this year at Watches & Wonders Geneva. Given that Rolex already has the advanced Caliber 4161 movement to use as a starting point, it wouldn’t make all that much sense to only offer a time-only model alongside the standard date-displaying version. However, I could easily see Rolex unveiling a completely new generation of Yacht-Master II watches with one of them being a titanium model on an Oysterflex bracelet.
New Dials for Rolex Datejust 41 Watches
Image: Bob’s Watches
Although new dial options are hardly the most technologically involved updates, they can often be some of the most fun and exciting for collectors and enthusiasts. For example, the classic Oyster Perpetual collection remained Rolex’s overlooked entry-level lineup for decades until a couple of years ago when the brand rolled out a series of brightly colored dials that instantly transformed the Oyster Perpetual into one of the most desirable modern Rolex watches available.
With that in mind, the Datejust is Rolex’s most diverse line of watches, and new dial additions are hardly an uncommon occurrence. Just last year, Rolex unveiled a handful of new dial designs for its Datejust 36 watches, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see some of these same dials make their way over to the 41mm models from the Rolex Datejust collection - particularly the ones with laser-engraved palm and fluted motifs.
At the end of the day, no one except Rolex knows what will be released later this year, but you can almost guarantee that whatever new models get unveiled at Watches & Wonders will almost certainly be entirely unavailable at a retail level. Plus, one other important thing to remember is that sometimes the biggest news of the year isn’t just the new Rolex models that are joining the lineup, but rather the ones that are getting discontinued… So, let the speculation begin!