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ROLEX BLOG

The Most Popular Rolex Watches from 2015 to 2020

December 16, 2020

BY Paul Altieri

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Year after year, Rolex wows us with their latest and greatest offerings. While the brand continues to innovate and improve upon its existing models, the core design of the company’s portfolio remains a true testament to the timelessness of the Rolex brand itself. This guide explores some of the hottest Rolex watches produced between 2015 and 2020 – a short blip in the brand’s impressive history, but one that has seen the introduction of a number of important models.

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

A Short Rolex History Leading up to 2015

The turn of the Millennium saw some of the most exciting upgrades to the Rolex catalog, including the release of the brand’s first in-house Daytona movement in 2000 (Caliber 4130), the company’s ‘Cerachrom’ ceramic bezel in 2005, and the introduction of the blue Parachrom hairspring the same year (just to name a few). However, since that time, the company has improved upon its impressive catalog with more efficient movements and a handful of brand-new models.

2007 marked the release of the Yacht-Master II with its innovative Ring Command bezel and programmable countdown timer. Rolex released another brand-new model the following year with the Deepsea Sea-Dweller, which immediately took the title of Rolex’s most capable dive watch, offering users an unparallelled water-resistance of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet).

The next major stop in Rolex history is the introduction of the Sky-Dweller in 2012. The innovative traveler’s watch takes cues from the Yacht-Master II with its Ring Command bezel that is connected directly into the internal movement itself. This feature facilitates access to the watch’s various advanced features, including its annual calendar complication and dual time zone display.

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Continuous Innovation

That same year in 2012, filmmaker James Cameron made history when he became the first human to dive solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and aboard his submersible was the prototype Rolex Deepsea Challenge. To celebrate the accomplishment, Rolex released the D-Blue dial edition of the Deepsea with a stunning blue to black gradient on the dial and a green Deepsea logo to match James Cameron’s Submersible.

The first two-tone ceramic bezel made its debut the following year in 2013 on the GMT-Master II “Batman” ref. 116710BLNR. The insert featured a black and blue design to help distinguish between day and night hours, followed a year later by a red and blue “Pepsi” version. A world-first, the split-color Cerachrom bezel marked the first time that a bicolor bezel insert was crafted from a single seamless piece of ceramic.

Rolex made serious improvements to its movements in 2014 and 2015 with the release of the Caliber 2236 and Caliber 3255. Featuring a Syloxi hairspring (Rolex name for its silicon-based hairsprings), the Cal. 2236 can be found in many of the brand’s ladies watches, while the Cal. 3255 powers the modern Day-Date series and offers improved shock resistance with a longer power reserve.

Also released in 2015 was the Oysterflex bracelet, which is Rolex’s take on the classic rubber strap, overengineered to the highest possible degree. Its innovative design provides flexibility and durability with a metal core and a unique design on the strap underside that allows the wrist to breathe while keeping the case centered on the wrist. Also by 2015, every watch within the Rolex catalog carried Superlative Chronometer Certification, a hallmark of accuracy among the watchmaking industry that promises timekeeping to within 2 seconds per day.

Rolex Yacht-Master with Oysterflex Bracelet – 2015

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Yacht-Master 116655 Key Features

Case Size: 40mm

Materials: 18k Everose Gold

Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Bidirectional, Black Cerachrom Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale

Movement: Caliber 3135

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Bracelet: Oysterflex Bracelet

Click here for out ultimate buying guide on the Rolex Yacht-Master.

Rolex Yacht-Master

As we already mentioned, Baselworld 2015 marked the first instance of Rolex’s patented Oysterflex bracelet. Previously, the company did not offer any in-house options other than metal bracelets or leather straps. The Oysterflex bracelet debuted within the Yacht-Master series that same year, featuring an innovative design that coats flexible internal metal blades with high-performance black elastomer. The result is a bracelet that is resilient and flexible like rubber while still offering the durability of metal.

The reference 116655 is an Everose gold edition of the classy Rolex Yacht-Master 40 series. It features the brand’s proprietary 18k rose gold alloy, which the company refers to as Everose. The ref. 116655 also features a unique take on the ceramic bezel, featuring a matte finish with raised and polished graduations. As the Yacht-Master bezel is typically presented in sand-blasted precious metal, it seems only fitting that the ceramic insert would also receive the same treatment and be entirely unique to the collection. A matching matte black Maxi dial topped with Everose gold-trimmed hands and hour markers adds the finishing touch to the iconic luxury sports watch.

Rolex Daytona with Cerachrom Bezel – 2016

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN Key Features:

Case Size: 40mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Black or White w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Fixed, Black Cerachrom w/ Tachymeter Scale

Movement: Caliber 4130

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

Click here for our ultimate buying guide on the Rolex Daytona.

Rolex Daytona

2016 was an exciting year for Rolex. The company rolled out the reimagined Air-King ref. 116900 with a larger 40mm case size and antimagnetic capabilities, a completely new version of the 41mm Datejust, a slight dial and hand update to the Explorer ref. 214270, and (most notably) a stainless steel Daytona with a ceramic bezel.

Even four years after its release, the ref. 116500LN remains one of the most sought-after editions of the Rolex Daytona on the market today. As the first stainless steel Daytona fitted with a scratch and fade resistant ceramic bezel and all-around a flat-out grat watch, it isn’t hard to see why it’s so universally desired. Rolex produces the Daytona 116500 with either a black or white dial with contrasting registers, and both versions receive a black Cerachrom bezel. It is powered by the brand’s first in-house mechanical chronograph movement, the famed Caliber 4130 with a vertical clutch and a 70-hour power reserve.

Rolex Sea-Dweller with 43mm Case – 2017

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Sea-Dweller 126600 Key Features

Case Size: 43mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Unidirectional, Black Cerachrom Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale

Movement: Caliber 3235

Water Resistance: 1,220 Meters / 4,000 Feet

Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

Click here to learn more about the Rolex Sea-Dweller.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex released eight new watches in 2017, including solid 18k gold and Oysterflex editions of the Daytona, the Sky-Dweller in Rolesor (steel and gold) options, and a 50th-anniversary edition of the Sea-Dweller series.

Among its most notable offerings of the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 is the Caliber 3235 movement with features Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement, a larger case size (growing from 40mm to 43mm in diameter), and a Cyclops magnification lens on the crystal – something that had previously served as the greatest visual distinction between the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner. As a charming nod towards the inaugural Sea-Dweller ref. 1665, the new-model also includes the “Sea-Dweller” name in red letters on the dial.

Rolex GMT-Master II with Cerachrom Pepsi Bezel – 2018

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

GMT-Master II 126710 BLRO Key Features:

Case Size: 40mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Bidirectional, Red and Blue Cerachrom Insert w/ 24-Hour Scale

Movement: Caliber 3285

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Bracelet: Jubilee Bracelet

Click here for our ultimate buying guide on the Rolex GMT-Master.

Rolex GMT-Master

New to the Rolex catalog in 2018 were a stunning new take on the GMT-Master II Rootbeer in Everose Rolesor, a brand-new generation of 31mm Datejust watches with upgraded cases and movements, and easily the most headline-grabbing, a new ceramic bezel Pepsi GMT in stainless steel.

The reference 126710BLRO is the first instance of a red and blue Pepsi bezel on a stainless-steel Rolex wristwatch since the long-running ref. 16710 was discontinued in 2007, after which Rolex rolled out a new generation that lacked the classic red and blue bezel option. The Pepsi bezel in ceramic made its debut within the GMT-Master II series via the white gold edition ref. 116719 on a three-link Oyster bracelet. The bezel option then expanded to the steel ref. 126710BLRO in 2018, this time paired with the five-link Jubilee bracelet and quickly becoming one of the most desirable luxury watches in the world.

While the bezel is probably the most exciting feature of the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO, it’s also important to note that this newest edition of the stainless steel Pepsi GMT also boasts the collection’s next-generation Cal. 3285 Perpetual movement with a longer 70-hour power reserve and Rolex’s more-efficient Chronergy escapement.

Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” with Jubilee Bracelet – 2019

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Key Features:

Case Size: 40mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Bidirectional, Black and Blue Cerachrom Insert w/ 24-Hour Scale

Movement: Caliber 3285

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Bracelet: Jubilee Bracelet

Click here to learn more about the “Batman” Rolex GMT-Master II.

Rolex GMT-Master II

The first instance of the GMT-Master II Batman hit the market in 2013. With a striking black and blue ceramic insert, Maxi dial, three-link Oyster bracelet in stainless steel, and a Caliber 3186 Perpetual movement, it quickly became a favorite for many collectors. The ref. 116710BLNR soon became the must-have watch to wear and it flew off the shelves at authorized dealers worldwide.

In 2019, Rolex discontinued the first edition of the Batman GMT, replacing it with ref 126710BLNR. The updated model retained a similar black and blue bezel but adopted the new Caliber 3285 movement, a five-link Jubilee bracelet, and a less squared-off lugs for a sleeker appearance on the wrist. As a newer-model GMT-Master II, the reference 126710BLNR also utilizes 904L-grade Oystersteel, a Triplock screw-down crown, and Chromalight lume on its hands and hour markers.

Rolex Submariner with 41mm case – 2020

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Submariner 126610LV Key Features:

Case Size: 41mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

Bezel: Unidirectional, Black Cerachrom Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale

Movement: Caliber 3235

Water Resistance: 300 Meters / 1,000 Feet

Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

Click here for our ultimate buying guide on the Rolex Submariner.

Submariner

Ever since the 2003 release of the “Kermit” Submariner, Rolex has always kept a green version of its iconic dive watch available in its catalog. In 2020, Rolex discontinued the all-green “Hulk” and replaced it with the reference 126610LV, which featured the same color profile of the Kermit with its black dial and green bezel, but presents its signature green bezel in Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom ceramic.

While the case now measures 41mm, it features slightly more tapered lugs for a fit that is near-identical to its 40mm Super Case predecessor. It also houses Rolex’s new-generation Caliber 3235 Perpetual movement, complete with Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hairspring, and Paraflex shock absorbers. As a newer-model Rolex Submariner, the ref. 126610LV also boasts Chromalight lume on the dial and a full 904L Oystersteel construction.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual with 41mm Case – 2020

2015-2020 Rolex Watches

Oyster Perpetual 124300 Key Features:

Case Size: 41mm

Materials: Stainless Steel

Dial: Multiple Options Available

Bezel: Fixed, Stainless Steel, Smooth Style

Movement: Caliber 3230

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

Click here to learn more about the 2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Rolex introduced a stunning array of dial color options for the 2020 Oyster Perpetual. The ref. 124300 is the all-new 41mm edition, which marks the first time that Rolex’s classic collection has ever been made available in this case size. Additionally, the model is available with a wide range of vibrant dial colors such as turquoise blue, green, yellow and coral red. Chromalight-finished batons adorn the dial, giving the series an undeniably modern design aesthetic that almost seems to toe the line between dressy and sporty.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 124300 also takes advantage of the brand’s next-generation time-only movement, the Caliber 3230. Rolex’s innovative blue Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex shock absorbers, and Chronergy escapement are integrated into the movement, giving this latest generation of Oyster Perpetual watches all of Rolex’s latest and greatest technologies.

With so many exciting releases over just the past five years, it will be exciting to see what Rolex comes up with next!

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