Standout pieces from the Rolex 2020 collection
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Standout pieces from the Rolex 2020 collection

Standout pieces from the Rolex 2020 collection

When the world’s largest selling luxury watch brand unveils a new collection – Covid-19 notwithstanding – it’s time to sit up and take notice

Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner

Commit to memory: Twelve-forty-sixty. If there is just one reference number you need to memorise for the rest of this year, let it be the new no-date Rolex Submariner 41mm Ref 124060. The Submariner, one of the world’s most iconic dive watches, was introduced in 1953. The last time though that this collection received a big update was in 2012 with the introduction of the ceramic insert bezel.

The 2020 version of this Ref 124060 has had a noteworthy upgrade with a new size, wider bracelet and also a never-before-seen movement.

For the first time, it is now available in 41mm, up from the previous 40mm. Yes, it’s an incremental increase in size, but that has warranted slimmer lugs, reworked crown guards and a wider lug width.

The Ref 124060 has had a noteworthy upgrade with a new size, wider bracelet and also a never-before-seen movement

Between those lugs is an Oystersteel bracelet which has a high surface hardness, great lustre, and is significantly resistant to corrosion compared to the 316L stainless steel you’ll find in several other timepieces.

The black lacquer dial with white gold used on the indexes and hands, the Mercedes hour hand, the cerachrom bezel with the numerals and markers coated in platinum are all familiar sights, but it’s what is beneath that makes the Ref 124060 a truly breakthrough timepiece.

Rolex has inserted a brand-new Calibre 3230 movement which features its Chronergy escapement that increases energy efficiency by 15 per cent and is paired with a Parachrom hairspring. It’s resulted in a nearly 50 per cent jump in power reserve compared to the previous generation of the Submariner. The automatic-winding Ref 124060 boasts of a 70-hour power reserve (as opposed to 48 hours previously).

As a Superlative Chronometer Certified timepiece, not only is it COSC-certified by meeting the -4/+4 seconds accuracy requirement, but goes one step further and is additionally certified by Rolex’s own in-house department which requires a timepiece to be double as accurate – hence Superlative. Any given day, the timekeeping on this Submariner will not be off by over -2/+2 seconds.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Bright pops of colour have made it onto this year’s Oyster Perpetual 36mm Ref 126000. But before you imagine that Rolex might have gone off on a tangent, remember that bright dials have been a part of Rolex for several decades now.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual
This year’s collection has dials in green, yellow, coral red, turquoise and pink

In the seventies, it introduced the Stella dials – bright hard enamel dials that, interestingly, were heavily marketed towards Middle Eastern clients. While those Stella dials didn’t prove immensely popular beyond the Middle Eastern and Asian markets back then, it seemed ahead of its time. There were a few of them created and today they’re a highly collectable timepiece able to command significant amounts at auction.

This year’s collection has dials in green, yellow, coral red, turquoise and pink. Vanity aside, the Oyster Perpetual 36mm is also fitted with the Submariner’s (and Rolex’s newest) Calibre 3230. If the 36mm feels a little too narrow for your wrist, the watchmaker has also introduced a Ref 124300 Oyster Perpetual 41 that also sports the Calibre 3230.

With brand-new cutting-edge movements, the only thing entry-level about the new Oyster Perpetual collection is actually its price point.

Rolex Sky-Dweller

The Sky-Dweller is Rolex’s most complicated timepiece, and this year the precious-metal cased collection is, for the very first time, being combined with an athleisure-primed Oysterflex bracelet.

The Sky-Dweller was previously only available with a leather strap or an Oystersteel bracelet.

The Oysterflex bracelet comprises of flexible metal blades that are made from a titanium and nickel alloy. The strap is also kitted with the Rolex Glidelock system which allows for easy and rapid resizing without any tools.

Rolex Sky-Dweller
The Sky-Dweller was previously only available with a leather strap or an Oystersteel bracelet

The new Sky-Dweller collection with an Oysterflex strap has options of 18k yellow gold and Everose gold cases as well as dial variants of black, white, champagne and chocolate.

The Calibre 9001 remains unchanged and has 11 patents backing it. Supporting a dual-time and an annual calendar, the automatic timepiece still has a power reserve of 72 hours. Like the Calibre 3230, this Calibre 9001 too features an in-house developed blue Parachrom hairspring, which is comprised of 85 per cent Niobium and 15 per cent Zirconium, combined at 2,400-degrees celsius. According to Rolex, Parachrom hairsprings are 10 times more precise than traditional hairsprings.

Another example of Rolex flexing its horological muscles, without really flexing at all. Typical.

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