At this year’s Baselworld, Rolex gave collectors and fans something they have long been requesting: a new Pepsi. That is the nickname for the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master with a distinctive red and blue bezel (pictured below). The GMT Master II captures the color code of the original 1955 version of this iconic model, but with a Cerachrome bezel for the first time. It is a particular color combination that is extremely difficult to do in ceramic, not just in terms of achieving a seamless break between red and blue halves, but because this shade of red is a challenge.
In fact, this particular color combination was long considered impossible to create in ceramic, Rolex told me during my visit at Baselworld. (The bezel of the 1955 version was plexiglass). The new one also has a revamped movement, the self-winding Caliber 3186, with a stop seconds and a blue Parachrom hairspring, made of niobium and zirconium, which is ten-times more precise and highly shock resistant. The 40mm case of the new one is white gold, and is not limited.
Rolex also introduced an updated version of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller (pictured at the top of this post), first launched in 1967 as the Sea-Dweller 2000 (water resistant to 2,000 feet). The new one is the Sea-Dweller 4000 (water resistant to 4,000 feet). The only other revision of this iconic model was in 1978, also rated at 4,000 feet. New is the black Cerachrom bezel with PVD platinum markers, gold Chromalight hands and markers, blue Parachrom hairspring (in Caliber 3135) and a bracelet with Glidelock extension system and Oysterlock safety clasp. The new version, which is steel, retains the look of the ’70s version, including the famous helium escape valve.
Another innovation from Rolex this year was the introduction of three new versions of the SkyDweller: 18k Everose gold case and bracelet (with a beautiful “Sundust” dial); 18k white gold on a strap; and 18k yellow gold on a strap. The SkyDweller, with 14 patents, was first launched to acclaim in 2012 and includes a bezel-driven function setting. With Caliber 9001, it is a dual timer and annual calendar, with months uniquely displayed through apertures on the periphery of the dial.
Last year, Rolex introduced a new Daytona, one of the brand’s very few platinum watches, which always have an ice-blue dial. It was nicknamed “The Bruiser” on account of its unique color combination (blue dial with brown bezel), and this year Rolex introduced a jeweled version, also in platinum, with ice-blue chronograph counters.
Also newly jeweled is the Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 34, a series of three 34mm models that are gem-set, each with options that include diamonds on the bracelets as well as the cases. The watches are set with diamonds in combination with either blue or pink sapphires in two different shades – the gems adjacent to the hour markers are a slighly darker hue.