World is your oyster
The world is Rolex's oyster. That's what it seemed like this year at BaselWorld when the luxury watch brand launched 10 novelties within its Oyster collection. The new timepieces had three key themes - innovation, evolution and creativity - and each watch offers enhancements in technology, function and style.
The Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is a completely new timepiece. While its design features Rolex's classic, conventional lines, it has an entirely new movement - the mechanical, self-winding calibre 9001 - with functions that place it squarely within the innovation category.
As its name suggests, the Sky-Dweller was designed for frequent travellers. It features an intuitive, easy-to-read dual time zone display, with the second time zone shown on a 24-hour ring that circles the central and 6 o'clock positions of the dial. The calendar self-corrects for every month except for February, which requires manual adjusting on the first day of March.
Rolex also brings back the patented rotatable Ring Command bezel with the Sky-Dweller, allowing the user to set watch functions through the bezel alone, making for a sleek, uncluttered case. This innovation is one of the watch's 14 patented features, five of which are new. The watch comes in a 42mm case and is available in yellow or white gold, plus Rolex's exclusive Everose gold.
Under its evolution theme, Rolex enhances some of its most popular models, offering a wider range of materials, sizes and features.
The Oyster Perpetual Submariner now comes with a black ceramic Cerachrom bezel insert and large Chromalight hour markers and hands on the black dial. The contrast between the black and the Chromalight surfaces makes the watch much easier to read in areas of low visibility, a key requirement for a diver's watch. Other changes include a subtle redesign of the 40mm stainless steel case and a new solid-link Oyster bracelet and Oysterlock safety clasp.
The brand also updated its Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master in Rolesium to allow for greater comfort and ease, making subtle changes to the bezel, bracelet and clasp. The bidirectional, rotatable graduated bezel features raised numerals on the surface for a more rugged look and easy rotation.
Like the new Submariner, the timepiece features a Chromalight display and the Oysterlock safety clasp on the solid-link Oyster bracelet. The latter features an Easylink rapid extension link system that lets the wearer quickly lengthen the bracelet by 5mm. The 40mm nautical watch now comes with an ocean-inspired navy blue dial.
Rolex also made stylistic changes to the Datejust watch, taking the popular classic and reintroducing it this year in a bigger size with a different look. The new Oyster Perpetual Datejust II comes in an all-steel version featuring a smooth bezel - a first for the model - sporting a larger 41mm case. As with the Datejust, a Cyclops lens on the crystal magnifies the date on the dial, which now comes in a new silver hue with generously sized luminescent hour markers.
Of the six novelties released under the creativity theme, the new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona and Oyster Perpetual Datejust models stand out for their bold, eye-catching designs.
The 36mm Datejust in 18ct Everose gold is an elegant jewellery watch that plays with light and shadow through its two-toned design. The Everose gold, an exclusive alloy created by Rolex, takes on a rich, deep gold hue due to the addition of platinum, while the colour is beautifully offset by the black lacquer dial.
The dial itself features a beautifully streaked design reminiscent of exotic tiger or zebra stripes, set with 262 diamonds that bring out the sparkle of the 60 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel and the 120 brilliant-cut diamonds on the edge.
As for the Cosmograph Daytona, rather than choose just one hue in which to present the watch, Rolex decided to simply go for all the colours of the rainbow. The bezel is fully set with coloured sapphires that span the entire colour spectrum, from reds at 12 o'clock brightening to yellows at 3 o'clock, darkening to blues at 6 o'clock that gradually shift to purples as the colour wheel goes full circle.
Hardly a timepiece for shy, retiring types, the watch comes in either 18ct yellow or white gold and, for an extra touch of sparkle, it also features diamond-set lugs, crown guard and hour markers on the black lacquer dial.
The other novelties launched this year share a common feature - the showcase of rubies on their gem-set dials. The 26mm Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust shows off a large VI on its Champagne-coloured dial that was created using 11 rubies, while the Oyster Perpetual Datejust Lady 31 features large '6' and '9' numerals on its dial, each set with 16 rubies that complement the 48 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel.
The 36mm Oyster Perpetual Day-Date and 41mm Oyster Perpetual Day-Date II also showcase rubies at the 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, featuring one baguette-cut ruby on each as hour markers. The Day-Date's Everose hue and fluted bezel go beautifully with the colour and lines of the rubies, while the Day-Date II echoes the same baguette cut on the diamonds adorning its bezel.