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Baselworld Debrief: the new 2016 Rolex models

Posted on July 02 2016

Every year, the world’s most prestigious watch brands gather at the Baselworld fair in Basel, Switzerland, to unveil their new collections.

This year the convention took place from March 17 to 24 and, as always, our Master Watchmaker Ron Smales was in attendance to personally view and select Smales’ new Rolex collection.

Baselworld 2016

As Western Australia’s longest running Rolex retailer, seeing this incredible brand continue to evolve and out-perform year after year is an annual highlight.

Rolex launched some incredible new additions to its Oyster Perpetual collection at Baselworld this year, with the stand-out being the new steel Daytona. Three new versions from its Cellini line of watches were also launched.

Technical advances

In terms of technical advances, the big news was Rolex’s announcement that it will now apply its Superlative Chronometer certification, redefined in 2015, to its entire production line (last year only the new Day-Date came with the redefined certification).

As most enthusiasts of mechanical movements will know, any Swiss timepiece with a mechanical movement that claims the ‘Chronometer’ title can only do so if it has received certification from the official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), that it meets the required standards for precision and accuracy.

So what’s the difference between Rolex’s trademarked ‘Superlative Chronometer certification’ and the certification given by COSC? Well, to meet COSC criteria, watches must run within a maximum average deviation of -4/+6 seconds per day. Rolex watches, however, now surpass this standard. In addition to receiving the required COSC certification, Rolex also tests its movements in-house at its dedicated testing facility to ensure they meet its stringent -2/+2 seconds accuracy ratings – in other words, TWICE that required of an official chronometer.

The new Oyster Perpetual models

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

New 2016 Rolex Daytona

Originally created in 1963 for the elite world of motor sports, the Daytona has evolved to become one of the best known chronographs in the world and a true Rolex icon. With the last steel Daytona released in 2000, a new steel model has been highly anticipated. The 2016 version retains key features from previous models: the super robust super alloy 904L steel, its Calibre 4130 in-house movement and its tachymetric scale, which can measure average speeds of up to 400 miles or kilometres per hour. But it also has some exciting new features.

What’s new:

Monobloc Cerachrom Bezel: he previous 1988 and 2000 steel models featured an engraved metal bezel. The new steel model boasts the superb, high-tech, black monobloc Cerachrom bezel as debuted on the 2011 Everose gold Daytona and the subsequent 2013 platinum 50th anniversary Daytona. The black bezel echoes the vintage 1965 model which also featured a black bezel, but in Plexiglas. The Cerachrom delivers a number of advantages: it is virtually scratchproof, it keeps its colour despite the effects of UV rays and it is corrosion-resistant.

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

New dial colour combinations: The steel Daytona is available with a white or black dial. Rolex has also released 18ct yellow and 18ct white gold 2016 versions.

Ron’s verdict: Given there hasn’t been a new steel Daytona for 16 years, everyone is going to want to get their hands on one of these masterpieces with their superb ceramic bezels.

Rolex Yacht-Master 40

Rolex Yacht-Master 2016

The Yacht-Master is characterised by its bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel, which enables the wearer to calculate sailing times. A new 37mm version has also been released in Rolesium, a combination of steel and platinum.

What’s new:

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

New dial material/colour combination: The new Yacht-Master doesn’t have any new technical features - but the fresh combination of Everose Rolesor (a combination of 904L steel and 18 ct Everose gold), with a chocolate dial gives the new version very striking aesthetics.

Ron’s verdict: While no new technical aspects here, the reliability and functionality remain and I’m a big fan of the Everose gold and chocolate combination. It can be worn from ocean to office; something which sets it apart from the more functional 2015 release with its Oysterflex bracelet.

Rolex Datejust 41

Rolex Datejust 2016

As the first self winding wrist chronometer to indicate the date in a window on the dial, the Datejust made history when it was first launched in 1945.

What’s new:

Updated movement: The new Datejust features the new Calibre 3235 movement, first launched in the 2015 Pearlmaster. 3235 is an exceptional new-generation movement offering fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism, convenience and reliability.

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’. New dial material/colour combinations: The new Datejust 41 is offered in yellow or Everose Rolesor versions – a combination of 904L steel and either 18 ct yellow or Everose gold – with a wide selection of dials.

Ron’s verdict: Fitted with the new 3235 movement, this iconic, ground breaking watch is taken to another level. In terms of aesthetics, the yellow gold/steel version with fluted bezel is the stand-out of the two new releases.

Rolex Pearlmaster 39

Rolex Pearlmaster 39 2016

The Pearlmaster 39 is the new standard in gem-set Rolex; the ultimate showcase of skill of Rolex’s master craftspeople. In addition to its new material combinations, the new model features the 3235 movement, launched in the 2015 Pearlmaster, and the Superlative Chronometer certification.

What’s new:

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

New dial material/colour combinations: The new Pearlmaster is available in Everose gold with diamond dial, bezel and diamond-adorned bracelet (our pick) or Everose gold with aubergine dial and diamond-set bezel.

Ron’s verdict: The ultimate luxe timepiece. Enough said!

Rolex Lady-Datejust 28

Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 2016

The elegance of the Lady-DateJust was redefined in 2015 with an enlarged 28mm case. 2016 has seen the release of another three 28mm versions.

What's new:

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

New material/dial combinations: The 2016 Lady-DateJust is available in two new versions: either yellow or Everose Rolesor - a combination of 904L steel and either 18 ct yellow or Everose gold.

Ron’s verdict: Adopting the ongoing trends of larger dials, the appeal of the Lady-Datejust can only increase.

Rolex Air-King

Rolex Air-King 2016

The Air-King is Rolex’s aviation watch and the new model is an interesting addition to Rolex’s 2016 collection and will be a great topic of discussion amongst collectors and Rolex enthusiasts. The last version, released in 2007, is no longer in production.

What’s new:

Updated movement: The new Air-King is equipped with Calibre 3131, an in-house Rolex movement, updating the 3130 calibre in the previous 2007 model. Calibre 3131 is superbly accurate with 48 hours power reserve.

Updated case and dial design: The new Air-King, with a 40 mm case in 904L steel, features a distinctive black dial with a combination of large 3, 6 and 9 numerals marking the hours and a prominent minute scale for navigational time readings. The dial bears the name Air-King in the same lettering that was designed specially for the model in the 1950s.

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

Ron’s verdict: The numerals and Air-King font, which replicates the 1950s model, gives it a distinctive vintage feel.

Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer 2016

The Explorer is considered an entry-level Rolex. Crafted in 904L steel and with a subtle design it was last released in 2010. While the case size at 39mm, and the 3132 movement remain the same, the 2016 version has some great design updates.

What’s new:

Luminescent display: A very welcome addition to this sports watch, the new Explorer has an entirely luminescent display for enhanced legibility. The model’s characteristic 3, 6 and 9 numerals are now filled with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting blue glow, like the hour markers and hands.

Superlative Chronometer certification: as aforementioned above under ‘Technical advances’.

Ron’s verdict: This is a great sports watch featuring all the Rolex essentials – exceptional materials, design and movement. This is the watch you never need to take off.

The new Cellini models

Rolex re-launched its Cellini line in 2014 and a new version of each of the three Cellini lines was unveiled at this year’s Baselworld.

The first Cellini was launched by Rolex in 1928 with the now discontinued ‘The Prince’ model. The line was named after the 16th century Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini who provided his services to renaissance popes and kings.

The Cellini range epitomises elegance and nobility; they are classic and contemporary dress watches of the very finest materials and craftsmanship.

The range consists of three models: Cellini Time, Cellini Date and Cellini Dual Time. All have Rolex Superlative Chronometer certification, as redefined in 2015, which guarantees greater accuracy.

Rolex Cellini Time 2016 Rolex Cellini Date 2016 Rolex Cellini Duel-Time 2016

Cellini Time: The 2016 models feature a redesigned white lacquer dial with 12 elongated applique hour markers

Cellini Date: A new version with a blue dial and strap has been added to the range.

Cellini Dual Time: The line has been expanded with a brown dial and strap version.

Ron’s verdict: Exquisitely designed dress watches that I believe will continue to grow in popularity.

The entire 2016 collection will be available to view during our Rolex Baselworld 2016 New Watches presentation taking place from Wednesday August 24 to Sunday August 28 at our Subiaco showroom. 

Visit our Rolex micro-site for further product information or contact us now.