As the year draws to a close and Baselworld 2017 is fast approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to look back at our favorite Rolexes of 2016 before a new slew of timepieces makes their debut. From a new Daytona chronograph to a redesigned Air-King to a new President, here are our favorite Rolex watches of the year as picked by the Bob’s Watches team.
A Rolex Daytona ref. 116500 is such a popular watch.
Rolex Daytona ref. 116500
This model was talked about incessantly all year, but one look at it and it’s easy to see why. The new Rolex Daytona ref. 116500 has everything you want in a modern Daytona. A robust stainless steel construction, a black ceramic bezel, a cutting-edge Rolex movement, and a choice of a white or black dial. Plus, it kept all the design traits that made the model so famous—40mm case, a pair of pushers flanking the crown, and the trio of registers on the dial. Moreover, it was a model that Rolex fans everywhere were waiting for. Because prior to the launch of the ref. 116500, the only other ceramic Daytona watches available were in gold or platinum—out of reach for many.
The ceramic bezel on the Rolex Daytona ref. 116500 is scratch resistant.
Although still a very luxurious sports watch the stainless steel material of the Daytona ref. 116500 makes the chronograph much more accessible. This was quickly evident by the scores of people putting their names down on long waitlists at ADs all over the world. While the steel Daytona with a black ceramic bezel is less than a year old, it has already become an icon in its own right.
Rolex Air-King ref. 116900
A Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 was a very popular choice this year.
Probably one of the most surprising new Rolex models of 2016 was the Air-King ref. 116900. Even though the Air-King is one of Rolex’s oldest collections it was actually discontinued in 2014, only to be brought back this year. And we’re glad that Rolex revived this historic collection. However, this is not the Air-King of the past, but rather, a completely overhauled version. First off, the ref. 116900 sports a 40mm stainless steel case, significantly larger than previous 34mm cases. Also, the completely revamped dial is a far cry from the more simplistic ones on older Air-King watches. The dial’s mix of 3, 6, and 9 indexes and minute-markers is quite a bold move for the normally conservative Rolex. That, coupled with the inverted triangle at 12 o’clock, Mercedes-style hands, and green and yellow accents, this is one Rolex dial that definitely stands out from the rest.
While some complain that the watch is much too busy, we actually really like the dynamic look and appreciate the modern flair of this Rolex classic.
Rolex Day-Date ref. 228235
The new Rolex Day-Date 40 collection was actually released in 2015, not 2016, including this particular ref. 228235 photographed here. However, Rolex did present a very special model within the collection this year: the anniversary Day-Date 40 ref. 228235 in Everose pink gold with an olive green dial. The anniversary Day-Date is identical to this particular ref. 228235 in every way—from the pink gold body to the 40mm case to the President bracelet to the 3255 movement—except for the green dial.
A rose gold Rolex Day-Date President ref. 228235 is a watch worthy of some love.
The new Rolex President collection is spectacular. It takes all the iconic design fundamentals of that made the watch so famous but included very modern enhancements. The 40mm size of the case is perfect for a contemporary luxury dress watch while the choice of laser-etched dial patterns is a nice touch. But perhaps the most significant update to the Rolex President is the Rolex Caliber 3255 driving the legendary timepiece. The latest generation of Rolex calibers, the 3255 boasts 14 patents, all geared to improve precision, resistance, and power reserve.
Taking another look at these 2016 greatest hits from Rolex, we can’t wait to see what the Swiss luxury watch manufature has in store for us next year. Countdown to Baselworld has begun!