New watch launches from Rolex inevitably fire up the horology crowd, with rumours of new references and revisions of design details circulating year after year. For Watches & Wonders 2022, Rolex has come out swinging with a surprise edition of the GMT-Master II, an update on the Air King, two re-imaginations of the Yacht-Master, and more. Fellow watchmaker Tudor has also revealed quite a few new models that are worth a closer look.
Rolex GMT-Master II
The iconic GMT-Master II has been given a brand new colour combination on its bezel — this time it’s the classic black paired with the brand’s corporate green. This will probably lead to a new nickname following the likes of “Coke” and “Pepsi”. Another surprise is the fact that it’s a “left-handed” version, which is a first for the range. The crown can be found on the left side and the date aperture has been moved to 9 o’clock position with a modified date disc. Currently, it’s paired with the more preferable Oyster bracelet, while a Jubilee bracelet version will be introduced in a couple of months time.
The Air-King pays tribute to the world of aviation and explorers. It was first seen in 1945 and has been in and out of production over the following decades. Since 2016, the Air-King has taken the form of a 40mm case and a professional-looking dial inspired by aircraft instruments. The latest edition features a calibre 3230 with 70 hours of power reserve, and sees sports a significant update on the dial with the addition of the number “0” in front of the “5” on the minutes scale. which gives the dial a more balanced look. Other changes include a crown guard and straight sides, and the watch is paired with an oyster bracelet.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
For the very first time, this sailing-inspired timepiece is available in 18 ct yellow gold. The gold alloy was specially created and cast at the brand’s foundry in Geneva, and is said to be highly corrosion-resistant. The 18 ct yellow gold Oysterflex bracelet with the Oysterlock folding safety clasp adds extra security when the squalls arrive.
Rolex Yacht-Master 40
The new 40mm Yacht-Master is all about the bezel and could be an option for those looking for a more eye-catching timepiece. Inspired by the dreamy shades of the aurora borealis and the glow of dawn, the 17 ct white gold bezel is set with pink sapphire, light blue sapphire, diamond, purple sapphire, and dark blue sapphire. The lugs and the crown guard are adorned with 46 diamonds to accompany the palette of radiance.
Rolex Day-Date 40
The Day-Date has also been given an exceptional new look thanks to the combination of a crisp, ice-blue dial and 950 platinum case with a sparkling fluted bezel in the same material. Platinum isn’t the easiest material to craft with such fine detail, but Rolex has pulled it off perfectly. The faceted Roman numerals and hour markers are made of 18 ct white gold, and the blue seconds hand ties the aesthetic of this unique new version together nicely.
Tudor Black Bay Pro
Tudor has focused on the bold and popular Black Bay family for this year’s new watches, and most of them are available in three strap options to suit different tastes — a metal bracelet, a leather or hybrid rubber and leather strap, and a woven fabric strap. First up we have the Black Bay Pro, a brand new model with dual time zones, designed for adventurers. Overall, it’s slightly more low-key than most Black Bay models with a 39mm steel case and fixed steel bezel. The new crown design references the brand’s historical technical watches, while the monobloc luminous ceramic hour markers provide bigger surfaces for telling time in the dark. The new watch is equipped with the Manufacture Calibre MT5652 with built-in GMT function and time reading is similar to other GMT watches from Tudor — the reference time is indicated by an angular Snowflake hand that goes around the 24-hour bezel, while the local time is indicated by the shorter Snowflake hand.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
While the launch of the Black Bay Pro has been receiving plenty of fanfare, Tudor’s signature Black Bay GMT line hasn’t been forgotten, enhanced by an S&G (Steel & Gold) version that is both unique and nostalgic. The rotating, yellow gold bezel with matte anodised aluminium disc is now coloured brown and black to indicate the daylight and nighttime hours respectively.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G
Last but not least, the Black Bay Chrono has also undergone the S&G treatment. The 41mm steel case in polished and satin finish is paired with a champagne-coloured dial. The yellow gold bezel features a matte black anodised aluminium disc with a tachymetric scale and yellow gold markings. The brown leather strap with removable bund certainly stands out from all the other strap options and completes the retro look perfectly.