Rolex at Baselworld 2019: Round up


by John Wallis

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March 22. 2019 - by John Wallis

What was your favourite Rolex at Baselworld 2019? Are you sure you didn't miss any? From green dials to a bejewelled Daytona, here is our round up of the Rolex novelties that might have flown beneath the radar.


Despite its newly reduced state, Baselworld remains a gigantic operation. As always, it's close to impossible to find every watch in the exhibition centre. Even with an uber-brand like Rolex, it’s easy to miss new releases. We already covered some of the biggest watch news from Rolex in separate articles - including the Batman GMT, the two-tone Sea-Dweller and the new Yacht-Master in white gold. But other gems among the 2019 novelties may have been lost among the more attention-grabbing timepieces. We wanted to make sure that didn't happen by showcasing the remaining stand-out items.

BLRO GMT

If you cast your mind back to the distant days of March 2018, the big news of last year's Baselworld was the advent of a Pepsi-bezel GMT Master II with a steel case: a watch so popular that it remains impossible to acquire from any AD. While Rolex have not even tried to recreate such a big release this year, they have cunningly found a way to keep the Pepsi wagon rolling, with a fresh version of the model in white gold and Oyster bracelet - but now a meteorite dial.

Meteorite is by no means new to Rolex dials, and nor is it new to the world. In fact, meteorites can be billions of years old, having streaked across the universe before coming to rest on the Earth. Comprised mainly of iron and nickel, they are sliced into thin circles and treated with acid to reveal their enchanting crystal patterns. No two meteorite dials are identical.

While none of the other technical specs have changed in the ref 126719BLRO, what's particularly great about this new GMT is that the meteorite has a bright white appearance. All other GMTs sold by Rolex have black dials, but it has not always been this way. The meteorite dial harks back to delightful white-dial GMTs of yore.

Another Pepsi GMT that has been updated for 2019 is the blue dial white gold version released last year. Like the meteorite version, the blue dial now has the latest movement: calibre 3285. 

Datejust

Rolex can never keep its hands still when it comes to the Datejust - it's always tinkering with the same classic look, adding new dial and bezel options with each annual Baselworld. Some of these are more interesting than others - but the Datejust is the Datejust, and it always looks superb.

This year we were particularly drawn to a beautiful black dial, white Rolesor version that has been updated with a slightly different minute track. The applied stick hour indexes are the same, but the subtle markings around the circumference no longer feature Roman numerals. Now the gradations are even more elegant and minimalist, producing an understated look that really works for this most classic of timepieces.

Day-Date

Like the Datejust, the Day-Date is the frequent recipient of intriguing updates by Rolex. This year has seen some stunning additions to the line-up, all with the latest calibre 3255. The headline-grabber is the yellow gold model with diamond indexes and a green "ombré" dial - meaning that the colour is graded from the centre outwards, becoming quite dark towards the edge.

This model is accompanied by a similar brown ombré version in rose gold and blue ombré in white gold. Additionally, there are three even sparklier novelties with diamond-studded bezels. One has a pink dial, one has a veined turquoise dial, and the final show-stopper features a diamond-paved dial with rainbow gem indexes, reminiscent of last year's Daytona. 

Daytona

Speaking of which, the Daytona returned again in 2019 in equally dazzling fashion. The Rainbow Daytona's sensational popularity among Hollywood and other elites caused the brand to introduce a rose gold version last year. Now there is a new kind of sparkly Cosmograph. The 2019 version is not quite as colourful as the Rainbow, but it boasts an intricate pattern of diamonds that snake across its black dial, barely leaving enough room for the traditional red lettering above the 6 o'clock subdial.

With even larger gemstones around the bezel and a boisterous rubber strap, we can see this watch make dreams come true for a certain type of millionaire. Sadly for us, Rolex elected not to include this one in the display cases around its Baselworld booth. 

John Wallis

by John Wallis

Living and working in London, John has been writing about watches since graduating university. He got his start at SalonQP, London's finest watch show, where he was inspired by the breadth and creativity of the modern industry. His fascination with mechanical horology has only grown from there.

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