Despite trade show cancellations in the spring and a production pause in the summer due to a global pandemic, Rolex still released a handful of new models for 2020. Leaks started appearing in the evening hours of the 31st, and when the clock struck midnight in Geneva on September 1, Rolex took to its website and social media outlets to announce new Submariner, Oyster Perpetual, Sky-Dweller, and Datejust watches. Read on for all the details about the new 2020 Rolex watches.
Rolex Submariner – New 2020 Models
Key Updates for 2020:
– New 41mm case diameter
– Redesigned thinner lugs
– Caliber 3235 (Date) or Caliber 3230 (No-Date) movements
– Stainless steel model now with black dial/green bezel (Hulk discontinued)
– 18k white gold model now with black dial/blue bezel (Smurf discontinued)
Click here to learn more about the very first Rolex Submariner.
The biggest release from Rolex this year is without a doubt the fresh Submariner collection. Essentially, the entire existing line was discontinued in favor of an entirely new generation of Submariner watches, which includes one new no-Date Submariner and several new Submariner Date references.
– Submariner Date 126610LN: Oystersteel, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126610LV: Oystersteel, Green Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126619LB: White Gold, Blue Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126618LN: Yellow Gold, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126618LB: Yellow Gold, Blue Cerachrom Bezel, Blue Dial
– Submariner Date 126613LN: Yellow Rolesor; Black Ceramic Bezel, Black Dial
– Submariner Date 126613LB: Yellow Rolesor; Blue Ceramic Bezel, Blue Dial
– Submariner 124060: Oystersteel, Black Cerachrom Bezel, Black Dial
While enthusiasts had predicted a new generation of Submariner watches for years now, Rolex did catch some onlookers off-guard with a few surprising updates. Specifically, the new Submariner is larger, sporting a 41mm case instead of the traditional 40mm case. In addition to the size increase, the new Sub features slimmer lugs and a slightly wider bracelet with broader center links. The overall effect is a less square-looking Submariner than the preceding iteration and a return to more classic proportions despite the 1mm size increase.
While the 40mm case diameter has been a defining characteristic of the Submariner since 1959 (and the change to 41mm will likely upset purists), the switch to 41mm simply makes sense in context of past Submariner generations, and it actually represents a step in the right direction. The classic sizing of the 5-digit series would now look too small compared to the rest of Rolex’s current catalog, while the previous 6-digit generation drew criticism for having lugs that were too thick relative to the rest of its case. Increasing the case diameter to 41mm but trimming down the lugs a bit allows the Rolex Submariner to return more to its classic proportions, while still satisfying the brand’s requirements for a larger watch.
Another surprising element to accompany the new generation of Submariner watches is the pairing of black dials with colored bezels. The new stainless steel Submariner (ref. 126610LV) includes a green bezel and black dial, while the new 18k white gold Submariner (ref. 126619LB) includes a blue bezel and black dial. Previous versions of these two Submariners – the “Hulk” and the “Smurf” – had dials that matched their bezels.
Unsurprisingly, new to the latest Rolex Submariner 41 models are new-generation automatic movements – Caliber 3230 for the no-date Submariner and Caliber 3235 for the Submariner Date. Both in-house movements boast an increased power reserve rating of 70 hours (compared to the earlier 48-hour reserve), along with the brand’s anti-magnetic Chronergy escapement and blue Parachrom hairspring.
Rolex retained most of the previous Submariner design traits with this new lineup: a unidirectional rotating bezel with a Cerachrom ceramic insert graduated to 60 minutes, Mercedes hands and geometric hour markers finished with Chromalight, and Oyster bracelets with the Glidelock diver’s extension system (although the bracelets are now slightly wider on the new Submariner models).
Rolex Sky-Dweller – New 2020 Models
Key Updates for 2020:
– Oysteflex Bracelet now available for the Rolex Sky-Dweller collection
– New Oysterflex Sky-Dweller watch in 18k yellow gold (3 dial options)
– New Oysterflex Sky-Dweller watch in 18k Everose gold (3 dial options)
Click here to learn how to set the annual calendar on the Rolex Sky-Dweller.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller collection also welcomes new models for 2020, which are now fitted with – for the first time – Oysterflex bracelets. Just like the now-discontinued Sky-Dweller models that were fitted with leather straps, the Oysterflex bracelets are only available on the solid-gold models, and the cases of the watches fitted with them feature small lug hoods to provide them with a more integrated overall appearance.
– Sky-Dweller 326238: Yellow Gold, Black, White, or Champagne Dial
– Sky-Dweller 326235: Everose Gold, Brown, Dark Rhodium, or White Dial
The Oysterflex bracelet made its debut in 2015 on the then-new Everose gold Yacht-Master and later made its way to solid gold models within the Daytona collection. While it may look like a regular rubber strap, the Oysterflex bracelet includes a metal blade interior (for shape retention and durability), which is then coated in black elastomer.
The two new Sky-Dweller references include a yellow gold version and an Everose gold version, each with a choice of various dial colors. With that in mind, regardless of the metal option or dial color, all Rolex Oysterflex Bracelets are black in color.
Aside from the Oysterflex bracelet, the rest of the new Sky-Dweller watch design remains the same – which is to say they all feature 42mm cases, fluted Ring Command bezels in solid 18k gold, and dual time zone and annual calendar functionality.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual – New 2020 Watches
Key Updates for 2020:
– New 41mm size added to the collection (39mm version discontinued)
– New 36mm model to replace existing generation
– Caliber 3230 movement (both 36mm and 41mm models)
– Vibrant new dial colors
Click here to learn more about the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
Rolex has also expanded the Oyster Perpetual lineup by introducing the biggest version to date in the form of the Oyster Perpetual 41. The new 41mm Oyster Perpetual replaces the Oyster Perpetual 39 model as the largest size currently available within the collection. Additionally, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 line has also been updated with new dials and movements.
– Oyster Perpetual 41 124300: Oystersteel, Silver, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Blue, Coral Red, or Black Dial
– Oyster Perpetual 36 126000: Oystersteel, Silver, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Blue, Coral Red, Candy Pink, or Black Dial
Both of the new Oyster Perpetual models offer the choice of vibrant dials, reminiscent of the vintage “Stella” dials of the 1970s. Most interestingly is that while the original vintage Stella dials (which are now considered to be incredibly collectible) were only fitted to Rolex’s most luxurious flagship watches – predominantly models from the Day-Date collection, these new brightly colored dials appear exclusively on Rolex’s most affordable and accessible line of timepieces.
The silver dial versions of the new 2020 Oyster Perpetual watches include yellow gold hour markers and hands, which is a notable change of pace compared to the white gold accents that Rolex normally uses on OP dials, and another slightly vintage-inspired aesthetic flare. Both of the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 and Oyster Perpetual 36 references are also fitted with the new-generation Caliber 3230 automatic movement.
Rolex Datejust 31 – New 2020 Watches
New options for the Rolex Datejust 31.
Key Updates for 2020:
– New White Rolesor Datejust 31 watches (4 models total)
– New diamond bezel Datejust 31 model
– 3 White Rolesor Datejust 31 models with fluted bezels added to the collection
Click here to learn more about the history and evolution of the Rolex Datejust.
Finally, also new to the Rolex catalog are White Rolesor versions of the Datejust 31, which marry a primarily steel watch with a white gold bezel. While Yellow Rolesor and Everose Rolesor models feature 18k yellow gold for their bezels, crowns, and the center links of their bracelets, White Rolesor watches traditionally only have their bezels constructed from solid 18k white gold.
– Datejust 31 278384RBR: Oystersteel, White Gold and Diamond bezel
– Datejust 31 278274: Oystersteel, White Gold Fluted Bezel
In true Rolex fashion, these new midsize Datejust 31 watches offer a varied choice of dial colors, ranging from bright aubergine or green to muted silver or grey. Additionally, wearers can opt for a sporty Oyster bracelet or dressier Jubilee bracelet, which only further adds to the available options within the Datejust range. Powering the new Datejust 31 watches is the Caliber 2236 movement with a Syloxi hairspring and a power reserve of approximately 55 hours.
While these new Datejust 31 watches are arguably the least headline-worthy new Rolex watches from 2020 and also offer the least radical updates, they do represent the brand’s ongoing commitment to building out all aspects of its catalog. Despite much of the focus these days centered upon placed on its stainless steel sports models, Rolex remains committed to maintaining all of its historic collections, rather than strictly focusing on one specific type of watch or a particular model each year.
There you have it, Rolex’s new watches for 2020. No doubt the new steel Submariner models will sell out quickly and we’re pretty sure that the Oyster Perpetual 41 will also do very well among buyers, both at a retail level and on the secondary market.
What do you think of these latest Rolex models? Are there any that surprised you at all? Tell us what you think in the comments below.