As 2022 comes to a close we’re excited to see what the New Year has in store for us. What we know so far is that the 2023 Watches & Wonders show will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, between March 27 and April 2, 2023. Top watch companies such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Tudor, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and many others will participate. In fact, a total of 49 watch brands will display their new models for the year.
What we don’t know for certain, however, is what those new updates will be. But we always enjoy forecasting what we think the next year will bring for watches in general, and of course, Rolex in particular. So with that in mind, here is a quick recap of what was new with Rolex in 2022 and our top Rolex predictions for 2023.
Rolex 2022 Recap
We were treated to plenty of new Rolex watches in 2022, including some surprising designs, a few important updates, and a brand new model in a material Rolex has never used before. Here’s a recap of some of the most notable 2022 Rolex releases.
The 2022 Air-King ref. 126900 benefitted from an updated case design with crown guards, a modified dial with a new five-minute marker, and the new-generation Caliber 3230 movement. You can shop our current collection by visiting our Rolex 126900 page.
GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR
The GMT-Master II line-up welcomed a new reference in 2022–the first-ever “destro” GMT-Master II with the crown and date window on the left-hand side. Aside from the new “lefty” orientation, the watch also boasts the first green and black Cerachrom bezel.
Day-Date 40 228236 and Day-Date 36 128236
Historically, Rolex fluted bezels were always fashioned from 18k gold while platinum bezels were always smooth. However, in 2022 Rolex broke tradition by introducing new platinum Day-Date President watches with fluted bezels.
Yacht-Master 42 226658 and Yacht-Master 40 126679SABR
2022 saw the return of yellow gold to the Yacht-Master lineup, featuring a 42mm case topped with a black Cerachrom bezel and paired with a black rubber Oysterflex bracelet. What’s more, Rolex also dropped a head-turning white gold Yacht-Master 40 set with trapeze-cut diamonds and sapphires in tones of blue, silver, and pink in the bezel.
Rolex’s biggest release (quite literally) of 2022 was the massive 50mm Deepsea Challenge diving watch, water-resistant to an unprecedented depth of 36,090 feet (11,000 meters). This is the first-ever Rolex watch made in titanium.
More Precious Metal Options for Rolex Sport Models
For 2023, we foresee more precious metal options for some of Rolex’s sport watch models.
For example, the Yacht-Master is one of the brand’s most diverse collections, with options in steel/platinum (also known as Rolesium), steel/Everose gold (also known as Everose Rolesor), and in three shades of gold (yellow, white, and Everose).
However, all current-production gold Yacht-Master references (regardless of the color) are paired with black Cerachrom ceramic bezels and black rubber Oysterflex bracelets. Therefore, we predict that Rolex will come out with full Everose gold Yacht-Master watches, perhaps in several sizes, complete with matching Everose gold bezels and bracelets. Given that the Yacht-Master is Rolex’s ultra-luxurious sports watch, a full rose gold model would be a perfect addition to the lineup.
Rolex has made a few two-tone versions of some sports watches in recent years that took everyone by surprise. First, there was the two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Sea-Dweller introduced in 2019 followed by the two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Explorer in 2021. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if a brand new two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Air-King makes its debut in 2023 – especially since the Air-King was updated in 2022.
New Green Dial for the 60th Anniversary of the Daytona
2023 will mark the 60th anniversary of the famed Rolex Daytona chronograph, so we expect to see something special to commemorate the milestone. In the past, Rolex has issued green versions to mark other anniversaries: the Submariner 16610LV with a green bezel in 2003, the GMT-Master II ref. 116718 with a green dial in 2005, and the Day-Date 40 ref 228235 and ref. 228239 with olive green dials in 2016.
So will we see a new green dial for the 60th anniversary of the Daytona in 2023? Yes, there already is a yellow gold Daytona 116508 with a green dial (affectionately known as the “John Mayer”) but we envisage a special anniversary variant that’s perhaps a different green shade and/or paired with another metal other than yellow gold.
New Cellini Models
As you probably already know, Rolex has significantly pared down the Cellini lineup recently by discontinuing all models except for the Moonphase watch. It’s not truly a collection with only one model so it would make sense for Rolex to beef up the range with new Cellini models in 2023.
While Rolex can certainly go the traditional route by giving us a 39mm round Cellini watch with a different complication (a triple calendar would be amazing), perhaps the Crown will go in an entirely different direction by unveiling a non-round timepiece. Previous famous Cellini models included the asymmetrical Cellini Midas and the rectangular Cellini Prince. A return to these unusual old-school hits would certainly get the Rolex enthusiast crowd talking.
Out of all the current-production Rolex models, the Milgauss antimagnetic watch has probably had one of the most meandering histories. It was first released in 1956 with a rotating bezel, then it welcomed a lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand, and then entirely redesigned with a smooth fixed bezel and straight seconds hand. After a few decades of production, the Milgauss was quietly shelved in the late-1980s only to return in 2007 with a whole new design.
Although Rolex has added a few dial and crystal variants to the Milgauss collection since 2007, the watch itself has remained largely the same over the last 16 years. So one of our Rolex predictions for 2023 will be a shake-up for the quirky Milgauss. Perhaps Rolex will simply discontinue it. Or maybe we’ll see a brand new antimagnetic movement given that Rolex has updated almost every other collection with a new-generation movement.
However, what’d we’d really love to see would be a brand-new Milgauss reference crafted in ultra-light titanium. After all, Rolex released its first titanium watch in 2022 with the introduction of the Deepsea Challenge and it would be great to see the metal rolled out to other collections next year.
That wraps up our Rolex predictions for 2023. What do you think will happen in the New Year with Rolex watches? Do you have any predictions you’d like to share? Drop us a comment below!