Opinionated: Rolex Does it Again (But Not How We Expected Them To)

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Here it is folks, September 2nd. One day post Rolex release 2020. Hopefully everyone out there is surviving the madness, or in the case for these people in Geneva, thriving as they wait in line for the new models (I’m gonna say most of them got a hard no). Regardless of where you’re at in the Rolex release ether, most people seem to have come to their foregone conclusions of either liking or disliking the new Submariners. Wait, they released other models besides the Submariner? Really?? And they have designs that Rolex took from their history??? Well, it looks like I now have the proverbial “egg on my face”. And yes, if you still don’t know which models I’m talking about just move your eyes upward 6 inches, or, just continue reading on.

Folks in Switzerland waiting for the new Rolex models on September 1st

Folks in Switzerland waiting for the new Rolex models on September 1st

We all knew the new Submariners were going to come, but in what iteration was the big mystery. What we weren’t expecting was the slew of new, brightly colored, Doxa-esque Oyster Perpetuals. But as funny as they may seem and look, this isn’t the first time Rolex has introduced these dial types before. In recent memory, Rolex did the same type of move in 2017, in bringing back an iconic dial. Albeit only with one line of red text that ushered in a hushed awe from everyone in the watch world (and also a few sets of spoiled pants). That model was the ref. 126600, better known as the 43mm Sea-Dweller. But for 2020, we got a dial that nobody in the watch world thought would be coming. The return of the Stella dial

The original Stella Dials

The original Stella Dials

As the world was seeing the rise of disco and an ever higher rise in the price of gas, Rolex was giving the world something that they absolutely did not want. Some ostentatious, egregious, and entirely unpragmatic dial options in a time when the only dials people wanted were either black, champagne, or white. Enter in the Stella dial with options varying between green, to yellow, to even coral red. And as it sits with ALL collectible Rolex models today, and I’m sure you can guess this, nobody bought them. In fact, Rolex even started to swap out dials back to the more civil white and black options, all the while destroying the Stella dials completely. Of course these days, variations in Stella dialed Day-Dates and Datejusts command incredibly high premiums, just like the the single line Sea-Dwellers do. So maybe we’re seeing a trend here. Rolex is giving us recreations of collectible models, just not the ones that the community is craving.

And maybe that’s a good thing. Because just think about what quirky collectible model Rolex might “reintroduce” in the coming years. Probably not a red Submariner, but perhaps an integrated Oyster Quartz type model (sans quartz obviously). Or what about a bezeled, honey comb dial Milgauss instead of a Paul Newman reissue. The possibilities are endless, but if this trend continues who knows what the crown may pull out of their idea vaults in the coming years.

Salmon Dial Stella Day-Date

Salmon Dial Stella Day-Date

But if we look closely at these new OPs the one main difference in them and the originals is that, well, the originals weren’t Oyster Perpetuals. They were mainly Day-Dates and some Datejusts, which just fuels the possibility fire of what iconic dial/bezel/bracelet we could see coming to a watch that never historically had said appointment (Please, PLEASE give me a Submariner on a jubilee). I for one am excited to see what the crown has in store for us in the 2020s.

But we can’t finish this article off without even mentioning the new OP Stella dials. At first look, I thought they were a bit over the top color wise (actually A LOT over the top). But the more I find myself looking at them, I still don’t like them all, but the coral red is definitely the winner in my book. I’ll have to see how they wear being 36mm, but when it comes to Rolex, size means nothing (insert dirty joke here). A 36mm could fit like a 39mm and a 40mm could wear like a 38mm. It’s all about trying them out in the metal, and when it comes to these new Oyster Perpetuals, that’s going to be key.

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Overall, I like what Rolex is doing here, and it leaves me excited for what’s to come for the crown in their marketing/long con strategy of, “We won’t give you what you want now, but we will (in either 1 to 25 years)”. Rolex you dirty dog you, you dirty old dog.

By: Evan Spangler

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