Rolex Predictions We Got Wrong, Two We Got Right, and What We Learned

Rolex Predictions We Got Wrong, Two We Got Right, and What We Learned

Leading up to Watches and Wonders 2024, we made quite a few predictions (many of which being closer to wishes) surrounding Rolex releases. As per usual, most of these predictions did not come true, but luckily, we didn’t strike out. Let’s quickly go over the Rolex predictions we got wrong before diving into the ones we got right. Most importantly at the end, we’ll discuss what we learned about Rolex’s actual release strategy from Watches and Wonders 2024.

Every Prediction That We Got Wrong

Rolex Predictions that we got Wrong

I’ll go through these quickly; if you’re interested in the reasoning behind any one prediction, each one’s full article will be linked.

New Titanium Rolex 2024

In somewhat of a thought experiment to determine what Rolex model best deserves the titanium treatment, we predicted that Rolex would release something in titanium in 2024. Between the Explorer and Submariner, they couldn’t really go wrong, but as we know, neither came to fruition. It’s clear that their titanium timeline is a long one. 

Red-and-Black ‘Coke’ Rolex GMT-Master II

In case you missed this one, a recently-published Rolex patent details the manufacturing process for a bi-color ceramic bezel in red and black. It's all but an inevitability that Rolex will release a ceramic ‘Coke’ GMT-Master II, but unfortunately, 2024 wasn’t the year (at W&W at least).

Colorful Enamel Rolex Day-Dates

This prediction revolves around Christian Zeron’s theory that Rolex will release colorful enamel Day-Dates in each color present on their 2023 “puzzle dial” Day-Date. As I said in my writeup, I didn’t think 2024 would be the year for these, but I do believe we’ll see them in the coming years.

New (Anniversary) Rolex Submariner 2024

This prediction was a bit far-fetched, at least the anniversary portion of it. It’s clear that Rolex is using 1953 as the Submariner’s anniversary date, but that didn’t necessarily preclude us from seeing a new Submariner this year, especially not having received anything in 2023. That said, the Submariner remains as it is, for now.

New Rolex Milgauss 2024

Another recently-published Rolex patent details vast improvements in anti-magnetism via a simple material change: lead-free “eco-brass”. Of course, this made us immediately think ‘Milgauss’. While 2024 wasn’t the year for a new Milgauss, that watch is certainly on its way.

White Dial ‘Polar’ Rolex Explorer

This one hurts. Once again, we did not get a white-dial ‘Polar’ Rolex Explorer. Will it ever happen? I’d say the answer is yes, but only after we’ve all officially lost hope. With another Polar-less year in the books, I’m getting close to that point.

40mm Rolex Sea-Dweller

Long story short, I love the current 43mm Sea-Dweller and want to be able to wear it. By keeping the current design and offering it in a 40mm size, I think it would open up the Sea-Dweller to a lot more wrists (not that Rolex is particularly concerned with doing so). I still think a smaller Sea-Dweller is in the cards, however; this would be another large step in size optionality for Rolex (following last year's Explorer release). 

Rolex Predictions We Got Right

Rolex Daytona Le Mans and Rolex Yacht-Master II

We got plenty of Rolex predictions wrong, but luckily, we got a couple right. Let’s take a look at these two predictions before touching on what we learned more generally.

Discontinued Yacht-Master II

This simply had to happen. The Rolex Yacht-Master II was released in 2007 and hadn’t seen any significant changes during its lifetime whatsoever. It’s very unlike Rolex to offer a watch that feels aesthetically dated. I’m not saying the Yacht-Master II is an inherently bad or ugly watch, but I’d say its design didn't belong in Rolex’s modern catalog by the mid-teens at the latest. As years passed and Rolex’s core collection evolved, the Yacht-Master II stayed put in the brand's catalog, hidden within the broader Yacht-Master collection on their website. We were between predicting a design overhaul or discontinuation, but unsurprisingly, we saw the latter.

Rolex’s Increasingly Divergent Release Schedule

Over the past few years, Rolex has shown us that they’re not interested in adhering to a traditional trade show release structure. Historically, Rolex and others would display their full slate of releases at Baselworld/Watches and Wonders. From what I understand, this schedule was mostly catered toward retailers. The spring trade show would be retailers’ once-a-year opportunity to see, feel, and order watches that they’re interested in selling. However, with the proliferation of virtual “drops”, or releases, brands stand to benefit by keeping a few novelties in their back pocket for the rest of the year. 

Rolex’s 2024 releases have not come to an end. Their tame presence at Watches and Wonders tells me that we have some exciting Rolexes still to come this year. Just look at last year: Rolex had a loaded release slate at Watches and Wonders 2024, but their biggest watch of the year – the Le Mans Daytona – was released months later. Rolex does not have to show out at Watches and Wonders, and in fact, it may benefit them to do the opposite. This brings me to my primary takeaway.

What We Learned (And What We Predict)

Rolex release Schedule

Following the loaded year of Rolex releases that was 2023, it’s no surprise that Watches and Wonders 2024 was quiet in comparison. It would be a tall order to rival the buzz surrounding the 'Puzzle' Day-Date, new-gen Daytona, and brand new collection just one year later. Regardless of this year-to-year comparison, Rolex has no real reason to make a big splash at Watches and Wonders in general. When a virtual release is similarly effective, especially for such a difficult-to-obtain watch, why cram a year of releases into one week? The way I see it, many of the "predictions we got wrong" are still at play in 2024. In fact, and in the spirit of predictions, I predict that the hottest Rolex of 2024 has yet to come. We saw it happen last year with the Le Mans; will Rolex double down on this release strategy? After all, two makes it true.

What do you think about Rolex’s Watches and Wonders 2024? Did any of your predictions/wishes come true? Let us know in the comments below.

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