Rolex gave us a lot of firsts at this year’s Watches and Wonders. There was the first Explorer 40, the first full-titanium Yacht-Master, and now the first Daytona to sport a transparent case back. Rolex also discontinued the notoriously elegant Cellini collection in favor of the brand new Perpetual Collection 1908, which also happens to sport an exhibition case back. The platinum Daytona and 1908 aren’t technically the first Rolexes to give us a peek at the movement ticking away inside the case, though. Some rare vintage models and a few modern oddities, such as the discontinued Cellini Prince, also exist with transparent case backs.
Let’s briefly examine the latest Rolex models to embrace the transparent case back trend.
Platinum Rolex Daytona Ref. 126506
The Daytona turned heads at this year’s Watches and Wonders exhibition for several reasons. First, the famous chronograph finally sported a new movement after relying on the caliber 4130 since the turn of the new millennium. The caliber 4131 operates much like its predecessor but now has fewer components and Rolex’s iconic Chronergy escapement. Outwardly, the new 2023 Rolex Daytona is slightly more refined, featuring thinner rings around the chronograph registers, smaller hour markers, a somewhat slimmer case profile, and ceramic bezels trimmed in metal to match the case material. Of course, we also have a view of the new Daytona movement through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back on the platinum model ref. 126506. You can read more about the new 2023 Rolex Daytona here.
The platinum model is crafted from Rolex’s proprietary 950 platinum and is available with an ice blue dial set with either Chromalight or diamond hour markers. Like its predecessor, ref. 116506, the new model also features a striking chestnut brown ceramic bezel and matching chronograph registers. You’ll notice through the case back that the movement has a new Rolex Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges.
Rolex Perpetual Collection 1908
The 1908 is a fitting replacement for the Cellini, embracing a similar dress watch aesthetic with a sleek, round case and classically elegant dial. While the most recent Cellini model featured a moon phase at 6 o’clock, the 1908 opts for a dial with two centrally-mounted hands and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. It effortlessly straddles the line between high performance and delicate sophistication, just what we would expect from the Cellini’s successor.
The collection is 39mm and is available in the Rolex catalog in either white or yellow gold and with a black or an “intense white” dial. Both watches wear on a sophisticated leather bracelet with a butterfly-style Dualclasp and feature sapphire crystal transparent case backs, giving the wearer a view of the caliber 7140 Perpetual movement within. The movement itself is furnished with a 66-hour power reserve, Chronergy escapement, and Paraflex shock absorbers.
Both Rolex models represent a new approach to Rolex dress watches, and we’re here for it.
All images courtesy of Rolex.