It’s that time of the year again! Now that we’re a couple of months past Watches and Wonders 2023, there are so many new releases that had us excited. Of all the new watches out there, though, no release is more highly-discussed than the new Rolex watches for 2023!
It’s a little counterintuitive that a brand that focuses on such minor updates is the center of attention when it comes to new releases. That said, the extremely high demand and huge prestige have rightfully made Rolex the leading player when it comes to new watches.
So, what’s in store for the Crown this year? Are there any exciting new Rolex releases in 2023 to shake up the watch market? What about discontinued Rolex models? If you want the answers to these questions, keep on reading our coverage of the new Rolex watches for 2023!
New Rolex Releases Overview
Last year’s Rolex 2022 releases were somewhat lackluster compared to what the community expected. This year, there were several predictions about potential new models, but the biggest development by far was a 70s anniversary update on the Submariner collection.
While we didn’t get a new Submariner model, we did get a material update on its posh brother, the Yacht-Master… But more on that later.
We also got plenty of updates on other models, including new variations for a niche timepiece, the Rolex Sky-Dweller. We also got a 40 mm version of the Rolex Explorer, which comes in to fill the void left by the discontinuation of the popular 39 mm variation.
However, you probably shouldn’t expect to get these watches at retail any time soon. Demand for the iconic Swiss watch brand is still incredibly high, and production remains low. This leads to long waitlists of several months (or even years) if you want to get your hands on a brand-new timepiece from an authorized dealer.
Therefore, your best bet is to look for reputable online dealers in the secondary market and accept that you’ll need to pay a premium over retail to acquire any of the new Rolex watches.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the new Rolex watch releases the brand announced at Watches and Wonder 2023, which we believe will have the most impact this year and onwards:
The Small But Important Updates on the Rolex Daytona
Instead of the Submariner’s 70th anniversary, Rolex chose to honor the 60th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Daytona. While we know the brand won’t come out with anything huge in terms of design, the new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 2023 features a few small but very significant upgrades.
The first ones are in terms of case design. The new Daytona comes with a refined case shape that features sharper tapering on the lugs that gives off a more elegant vibe. While the diameter remains the same at 40 mm, the new case comes with a slightly thinner profile at 11.9 mm, which increases its wearability significantly.
Secondly, the new Rolex Daytona 2023 features some tweaks to the dial, such as thinner sub-register rings and hour markers, which makes it look more appealing and helps with readability.
Finally, the most noteworthy upgrade is the new Rolex caliber 4131, an automatic movement that retains all the properties of its predecessor, the caliber 4130, and adds all of Rolex’s new technologies, along with a new, shiny rotor.
And, the best part is you now get to see this beautiful rotor through the exhibition caseback. Unfortunately, though, this feature is only available on the Ice Platinum model, which you’ll need a very good relationship with your AD to get a hold of.
New Dials Galore for the Day-Date & Oyster Perpetual
Most Rolex watches have a common utilitarian aesthetic without too many radical design choices. However, the new Celebration motif of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual takes things to a new high.
The aptly-named “Bubble Watch” features colorful bubbles bouncing around the dial and creating a fun and exciting motif. What’s more, the actual bubble colors correspond with the colors of the dials on the Oyster Perpetual that came out in 2020.
The Day-Date also got a bunch of new dials to represent the beautiful coasts and waters of the Mediterranean Sea. However, the highlight of the collection came when Rolex announced a Day-Date model with no day or date display.
This new Day-Date model features a special puzzle motif on the dial, along with 31 different emojis on the date display, and the words "Happy," "Eternity," "Gratitude," "Peace," "Faith," "Love", and "Hope” on the day window. It’s a truly unique timepiece that brings out our true emotions and is an excellent choice whenever you want to have some fun.
The Yacht-Master in RLX Titanium
Ever since the introduction of the first titanium Rolex watch, the Deepsea Challenge, all watch fans eagerly waited for the next Rolex dive watch to get the titanium treatment. Thankfully, they didn’t have to wait for very long, as the brand released the first Rolex Yacht-Master in RLX titanium in 2023.
Visibly, you won’t notice too much of a difference in the new Yacht-Master - after all, its size remains the same at 42 mm. You may note the slightly dull, grayish appearance brushed titanium gives a watch.
What you’ll definitely notice, though, is the weight of the watch, as it’s only around 100 grams. This makes it extremely wearable and a true Rolex tool watch. Alternatively, if you don’t like the aesthetic of the Yacht-Master, you can expect Rolex to come up with some more titanium watches in the near future.
A Fresh Take on the GMT-Master II
The GMT-Master II is undoubtedly one of the most highly sought-after Rolex models. All of its current variations have a markup on their retail price if you shop in the secondary market. However, the collection was missing a bit of yellow gold, which is what the new GMT-Master II is all about.
The new Rolex GMT-Master II comes in two variations, a two-tone and solid gold version. Both feature 18K yellow gold in their cases and come in Jubilee bracelets. These variations exude luxury and draw away from the tool aesthetic of the GMT-Master II. While the original was a true pilot’s watch, this new GMT-Master II definitely fits better inside a private jet.
And, as with all GMT-Master II models, the new one comes with a unique color scheme of black and gray. In a less exciting year, this may have been Rolex’s biggest release. However, 2023 was a great year in terms of new Rolex releases, and we’ve even saved the best for last.
The Brand-New Rolex Perpetual 1908
On top of several new and exciting watch releases, Rolex came out with an entirely new watch collection in 2023. Not only that, but it’s actually a proper dress watch, something that’s far off the brand’s usual design language. And yet, they managed to execute it to perfection.
The brand-new Rolex Perpetual 1908 resembles an older Oyster Perpetual model from the 1930s and features a simple dial design with Arabic numerals at 3, 9, and 12 and a small seconds indicator at 6 o’clock. The watch case comes in yellow gold or white gold and is 39 mm in diameter.
What’s impressive about the Perpetual 1908 is its transparent caseback. This is the second Rolex watch to ever have this feature (with the aforementioned Ice Platinum Daytona being the first), and it’s easy to see why.
Through the exhibition caseback, one can admire the gorgeous caliber 7140 that’s unique to the collection and brings a lot of modern character to an otherwise classic dress watch. A beautiful leather strap with the Dualclasp system completes an exquisite look for all your formal events.
What Will Rolex Discontinue in 2023?
Even though all Rolex watches are worthy and make the brand huge amounts of money, a few models go into retirement every year. Rolex didn’t discontinue that many timepieces this year, but there are a few that stand out.
For starters, the brand discontinued a few Datejust variations, particularly the 41 mm variations with the mother-of-pearl dials. Also, the brand said goodbye to the Cellini in favor of the new Perpetual 1908.
As you can expect, Rolex retired its old Daytona collection, replacing most references with the new models. However, two notable exceptions that will be missed are the ref. 116508 and ref. 116509, both of which were particular favorites of watch enthusiast John Mayer.
Finally, and arguably the biggest hit to Rolex fans, is the discontinuation of the Milgauss. Albeit a less popular model, the Milgauss has always had ardent supporters in the watch community who patiently waited for a refresh since 2007. But instead, the Milgauss will retire in 2023. Hopefully, we’ll see a new model of this beloved timepiece in the near future.
The Eternal Pursuit of Excellence
With every year that passes, Rolex cements itself as the top luxury watchmaker. The brand strives to present the best possible luxury Swiss watches that combine true elegance with top-notch ruggedness and durability.
The constant effort brands like Rolex show towards achieving perfection is what motivates our Operandi Firenze team to produce the best possible watch rolls, to suit those luxury timepieces. That’s why we only source the highest quality leather from Italy and meticulously test every single one of our watch rolls to ensure its reliability. Consider purchasing one of our premium watch rolls to keep your precious Rolex timepieces safe when you’re not enjoying them.
So, go out there, admire the new Rolex watches, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!