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ROLEX BLOG

Our Favorite Rolex Watches of 2017

December 31, 2017

BY Paul Altieri

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As an eventful year begins to wind down, it’s a good time to start thinking ahead and preparing for what 2018 might have in store, and writing out a list of well-intentioned resolutions is a great way to kick it all off with a bucketful of motivation.

Traditional pledges to eat healthier and workout more are all very well, but let’s face it—they’re pretty exhausting and unpleasant.

However, one promise that can be a pleasure to keep is the one to treat yourself to a new watch to see you safely through whatever the new year brings.

Replacing your current piece with an upgraded version, or simply adding to your collection with a long admired model, is the ideal incentive to get 2018 off to a flyer.

The Rolex philosophy of constant and never-ending improvement means there’s always an exciting new innovation to discover, either on the surface or buried deep within the engine room of their range.

We’ve picked out a few of our favorites from the latest in the lineup, the ones that have moved on with some significant changes for you to explore.

So, if you’ve been considering a new Rolex for the new year, go ahead, treat yourself. You’ve earned it.

Rolex Watches of 2017

Here are the watches that caught our eye this year.

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The Sea-Dweller ref. 126600

In Rolex-Land, the tiniest detail can create a disproportionately huge amount of debate.

This year, the Sea-Dweller celebrated its 50th birthday with the release of the all-new ref. 126600 with, for the first time, a Cyclops over the date window.

The magnifying lens at three o’clock has been a bone of contention for fans ever since Rolex invented and introduced it on the Datejust in 1954. While no one would argue with its usefulness, purists have always decried its effects on the aesthetics of the dial. The Sea-Dweller had been a natural choice for those wanting one of the brand’s industry-leading dive watches, but were put off by the Submariner’s facial asymmetry. With the birthday boy unveiled featuring a Cyclops of its own, it leaves the Kraken-sized Deepsea as the only model in the range with no lens.

But what Rolex takes away with one hand, they give with the other. The 126600 receives a welcome pump-up in proportions, taking it from the Sub’s standard 40mm to a more substantial 43mm. And, joyously, the Sea-Dweller name is picked out in red text on the dial, a very knowing nod to the legendary original ref. 1665, the Double Red Sea-Dweller (DRSD) from 1967.

Rolex Watches of 2017

What are your thoughts on the new Sea-Dweller?

While the dial harks back to yesteryear, inside, things are as contemporary as they get. The next generation Cal. 3235 powers away, the caliber that ushered in Rolex’s redefined standards for the Superlative Chronometer certification.

Superseding and improving upon possibly the most accurate, resilient and reliable movement ever made, the Cal. 3135, the 3235 replaced more than 90% of its predecessor’s components and brought in the new Chronergy escapement as well as a boost in power reserve to 70 hours.

Its internal technology protected by a total of 14 patents, the latest Sea-Dweller is rated accurate to within -2/+2 seconds a day.

The latest, Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 126600, which has taken over from the very short-lived Sea-Dweller 4000, has packed in a considerable number of enriched features over its forerunners and is now the most mechanically advanced of the diving trio. Definitely one worthy of consideration.

Rolex Watches of 2017

The Datejust 41 made a big wave at Baselworld.

The Datejust 41

Proving they can roll with the times as well as anyone, Rolex took another massive break from their own tradition last year when they debuted an inflated version of their most quintessential design.

The Datejust has been the watch that most epitomizes the name Rolex for over 70 years, a model released in so many different variants its appeal is universal. Finally succumbing to the modern day trend for larger watch sizes, 2016 saw Rolex bring a 41mm model into the fold.

It represented a massive jump in dimensions for the usually modestly understated favorite, with 36mm being the biggest previously available, dating all the way back to the 1945 original.

The new watch acts as a replacement for the Datejust II, a 2009 release of the same diameter that Rolex discontinued last year. But while that piece was an acquired taste for some, with a stouter bezel and thicker indexes that sacrificed some of the design’s graceful elegance, the Datejust 41 marked a return to typically slender proportions.

Initially launched in two precious metal options, in yellow gold and in Everose and steel, this year’s Baselworld widened the collection further still with the unveiling of a white gold Rolesor model and, in answer to many a fan’s plea, an all stainless steel example.

Driven by the same state-of-the-art caliber that sits in the modern Sea-Dweller, the Datejust 41 is a watch that has carried on evolving, slowly and surely, for more than seven decades. While today’s model bears more than a passing resemblance to the ref. 4467 blueprint from the 40s, it is now one of the most technically sophisticated watches in the Rolex stable.

Simple, stylish and with enough dial, bezel and bracelet configurations to satisfy even the most pernickety shopper, the Datejust has always been the perfect choice, both for collectors and for those looking for one watch that can do anything and go anywhere.

With a 41mm case bringing the age-old design into the 21st century, it could well be the only Rolex you ever need.

Rolex Watches of 2017

The Rolex Daytona 116500 is a popular watch that is still in very high demand.

The Cosmograph Daytona

As anyone who has recently blundered unawares into a Rolex Authorized Dealer and asked will testify, gaining ownership of a brand new steel Daytona is not something that just happens. With the company granting their network of sellers a total of one, or at the most two, models annually, the waiting list for consumers stretches on for anywhere between five and ten years.

However, getting your hands on the single most desirable watch in the current market is still very possible, providing you have sufficiently deep pockets. Pre-owned versions of the ceramic-bezeled ref. 116500LN are available from a number of sources, either new or practically so, but with the sort of premium on the price that comes with off the scale desirability.

Rolex Watches of 2017

Here is an alternative if you can’t find the 116500.

If you can live without Cerachrom of course, your options are much less limited. The latest Rolesor models represent perhaps the best value and the most bang for your buck. Crafted from Rolex’s 904L steel and 18k gold, both forged in their own foundry, the ref. 116503 has the twin advantages of precious metal in the construction and being a watch you can actually buy while you’re still young enough to enjoy it.

On a different tack, vintage Daytonas have a price range as varied as the countless different styles Rolex have released the watch in; some are surprisingly attainable, others astronomical. As with all classic models, the minutest detailing on the text font or the subdial coloring can add incredible sums to the cost.

This year, the brand launched three new all-gold versions of the ultimate chronograph, in yellow, white and Everose, offered for the first time with the Oysterflex bracelet that debuted on the Yacht-Master. Offsetting a lot of the formality of the case metal, the Cerachrom bezels and the black elastomer of the band gives the Daytona a more laidback appeal.

Rolex’s ever-changing collection gives you the opportunity to explore new models and update your look. With 2018 fast approaching, now is the perfect time to shake things up and treat yourself to your next favorite watch.

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