An Inside Look at the Rolex 2023 Collection: Puzzles, Bubbles, Colours and the New Perpetual 1908

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Two weeks ago, Rolex launched its 2023 collection at the Watches and Wonders show in Geneva with all its creativity. 1908 is the  first new collection in decades, replacing the Cellini, which was launched in 1986 but is now discontinued. Like the Cellini, the Perpetual 1908 is a collection with gold cases and elegant dials – a marked departure from the sports watches that dominate the rest of the Rolex catalogue.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 in white gold

1908 Named after the year founder Hans Wilsdorf founded the Rolex brand, it measures 39 wide x 9.5 mm thick and is available in white or yellow gold, with a white or Black dial. The bezel is partially domed and finely grooved, with grooves on the back. It contains a new movement, the 7140 automatic movement, which can be seen through the transparent case back – an open case back is a rare sight in Rolex collections. Launched in 2005, the Cellini Prince was previously the only Rolex watch to feature a sapphire crystal caseback.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Celebration

In another burst of creativity and a startling departure from traditional sporty style, Rolex presents the delightful Oyster Perpetual Celebration. The dial is painted with 51 bubbles in bright colors: turquoise blue, candy pink, yellow, coral, red and green. It’s an intricate turning process: each color is painted and fired separately, then a black lacquer border is applied to each bubble, and finally a clear coat is applied. Sizes start small, 31mm, and are also available in 36mm and 41mm sizes. All cases are steel and movements are automatic.
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Rolex Perpetual 1908 in yellow gold

And many more colours! A mysterious but equally delightful introduction, the new Day-Date Puzzle, with its champlevé enamel dial designed as a puzzle, represents the theory that life is a puzzle. Instead of displaying the day of the week in the regular window on the upper dial, it displays one of seven inspirational words every 24 hours at midnight: Hope, Eternity, Peace, Love, Happiness, Faith and Gratitude. Instead of the date in the 3 o’clock window, one of 31 emoji – hearts, smiley faces and more – is displayed zoomed in on the model’s signature Cyclops lens. The hours are marked by 10 baguette-cut sapphires in six different shades, corresponding to the main color of the dial (turquoise blue or orange). The case is yellow gold or Everose gold (Rolex’s proprietary rose gold alloy). The Day-Date collection does not have a steel case.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller with a blue-green dial

Another new addition to the Day-Date collection is a special trio of watches featuring one of three gemstone dials: carnelian in a yellow gold case; green aventurine in Everose; or turquoise in everose . The colors are meant to evoke memories of the Mediterranean coast, and the dial is lightly embellished with diamond-set hour markers and numerals. These works are “non-catalogue” – not in the regular collection, and very limited.
The back of the new platinum Rolex Daytona is opened, a rare Rolex.

Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 with Carnelian dial

The rest of the 2023 launches are in line with Rolex’s traditional tweaks to existing models. The Daytona has a refreshed dial with a slight design change, including slimmer hour markers and a new weight on the seconds hand. The new Platinum Daytona is equipped with a sapphire caseback, which is a rarity among Rolexes. Through them you can see the new caliber 4131 (an evolution of caliber 4130).

The yellow gold and Rolesor edition of the Rolex GMT-Master

Among other collections: the Yacht-Master 42 is now available in full titanium (case and bracelet) – the first full titanium watch in the Rolex collection; a movement update and new dial colours for the Sky-Dweller (the teal dial is a Rolex new colors); two new versions of the GMT-Master II – an all-gold version and a two-tone gold and Rolesor (steel) version with gray and black ceramic Cerachrom bezel inserts, a new colour combination for Rolex bezels .

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