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5 New Rolex Watches from Baselworld 2016

Paul Altieri

Some new models join the Rolex catalog

For watch freaks everywhere, Baselworld is like Christmas. The eight-day festival where thousands of watchmakers showcase their novelties is the perfect time to geek out on groundbreaking complications, innovative materials, and trendsetting styles. And for Rolex, their army of loyal fans eagerly awaits for the massive exhibition in the Swiss city of Basel to see what the most powerful watch brand in the business will offer up. Here are five of the freshest references to join the Rolex collection in 2016.

1. Air-King

Rolex is reviving the Air-King watch after just two years of ceasing its production. However, the new Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 sports several notable differences from is a predecessor. Firstly, the stainless steel case size has been updated to 40mm — a welcome change from the 34 and 36mm sizes of past Air-King models and much more suited to today’s watch trends.

Rolex Baselworld 2016
There are so many changes on the Air-King since its last update.


Another distinct difference and a source of controversy is the revamped dial. The black dial features the iconic polished 3, 9, and 6 Arabic numerals coupled with minute markers and the characteristic triangle at 12 o’clock. It also has a green seconds hand that matches the green Rolex label. The reaction to the new dial has been very mixed, with some claiming it’s too busy and ‘un-Rolex like” while others appreciate the unique look and dynamics.

The Air-King 116900 is powered by the in-house Caliber 3131 mechanical movement offering wearers supreme reliability, precision and a power reserve of 48 hours. The new entry-level aviation inspired Rolex is presented on a solid-link stainless steel Oyster bracelet and is waterproof to 330 feet.

2. Datejust 41

Rolex revamped its flagship classic watch and now presents the new Datejust 41 collection. The larger 41mm dress watch is currently available in two Rolesor versions — 18k yellow gold and stainless steel as well as 18k Everose gold and stainless steel. Like all Datejust collections, variety is key, and the new Datejust 41 is available in a range of dial options, bezel styles, and outfitted with either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet.

Datejust II 41mm Blue Dial
Datejust II 41mm with a Blue Dial and a 41mm case.

At the heart of the Datejust 41 is the new Rolex Caliber 3235 automatic mechanical movement. The movement’s new Rolex-patented Chronergy escapement, along with the blue Parachrom hairspring allows the caliber to perform at exceptionally high standards while withstanding magnetic fields, temp variations, and shocks. As with all Superlative Chronometer certified Rolex watches produced in 2015 and beyond, the Caliber 3235 boasts a precision of −2/+2 seconds per day, which is actually twice as precise as the parameters set out by COSC.

3. Yacht-Master 40

The Yacht-Master 40 collection, which was released at last year’s Baselworld, extends its offering with new references added to the line. The new Rolesor 18k pink gold and stainless steel version sports a rich chocolate dial complementing the 18k Everose rotatable and graduated bezel and two-tone Oyster bracelet perfectly. The other two models added were Rolesium — Rolex’s combining of platinum and stainless steel — versions with one featuring a blue dial with red accents and the other with a dark rhodium dial with turquoise accents. The sporty “Maxi Dials” include large lume plots and luminescent accented Mercedes style hands, and the date window at 3 o’clock.

Rolex Baselworld 2016 released the Yacht-Master 40.
Here is the Yacht-Master 40, a Rolsium is a mix of platinum and stainless steel.


The three new Yacht-Master 40 timepieces are gorgeous executions of highly luxurious nautical watches and each house the Rolex Caliber 3135 perpetual mechanical movement ticking with the utmost precision and reliability.

4. Explorer

Although it keeps the same 214270 reference number, Rolex has furnished the new Explorer with some much-needed updates. The Explorer, which was originally launched to commemorate the historical ascent of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the summit of Mount Everest, has been firmly positioned as Rolex’s entry-level sports watch throughout its history. The updated version now includes a full luminescent dial, including the 3, 6, and 9, numerals, which emits a striking blue glow in the dark. Its hands are now both broader and longer, which is now perfectly proportional to the overall look of the black dial.

Rolex Baselworld 2016 has a new explorer in town.
A Rolex Explorer kept the same ref. 214270 but there were a few major updates.

The modified Rolex Explorer 214270 stainless steel Oyster case remains at 39mm and it is presented on a stainless steel Oyster bracelet. It also continues to run on the Caliber 3132 of its predecessors with a power reserve of 48 hours.

5. Cosmograph Daytona

The biggest buzz from the Rolex stand at Baselworld 2016 was the new stainless steel Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116500LN with a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Rolex enthusiasts have been openly wishing for this exact model to be released from the Swiss watchmakers ever since they debuted the scratch and fade resistant ceramic bezel in 2005.

A ceramic touch to the Rolex Daytona ref. 116500.

The Rolex ref. 116500LN was unveiled with two dial options — one in white with black rings on the three subdials and the other in black with silver rings. The Cerachrom bezel that tops the 40mm stainless steel case features numerals and graduations coated with platinum and keeps the sapphire crystal securely in place. The engine beneath the hood of the Daytona is the Rolex Caliber 4130 self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with a power reserve of 72 hours.

Sporting a fantastic new look, the Daytona 116500LN is racing forward to become the quintessential luxury chronograph of this generation.

Paul Altieri