A Closer Look at This Year's 2021 Rolex Releases

With a week having passed since Rolex unveiled its new range of watches at Watches and Wonders, stock has already been making its way into showrooms and ADs. For this installment of Closer Looks, we decided to see how the new releases look and feel in person.

One of the biggest surprises this year was Rolex’s decision to bring the Explorer I back down to 36mm from its 2010 39mm size increase, and while many fans enjoyed the mountain-tested watch’s bump in case dimension, purists will agree that 36mm was always the best-suited size for the classic. When looking at the new Explorer I in base Oystersteel, it’s hard not to get it confused with the ref. 14270 — it really boils down to the details like case finishing, Chromalight lume, rehaut, and most importantly, the updated calibre 3230 movement. One of the biggest shockers was seeing the two-tone 18k yellow gold and Oystersteel version up close. Many were disgusted with the release of this version, but after having it on the wrist, I must say that this is a watch that will grow on you. Yes, it is $4,000 USD more than the standard version, but there’s something different about this two-tone version that’s unapologetic yet refined — this rugged exploration watch made for Mount Everest now comes in Rolesor? How dare they? It’s not going to be for everyone, but I do trust that for those on the fence, a quick try-on the wrist will turn you into a believer.

If precious metal Cosmograph Daytonas are your thing, the new batch of 18k white, yellow and Everose gold versions this year are sure to please you. Like the all-gold ref.116608 with the green dial, all three see a special dial that’s sure to be collectible, except just a bit more understated until you take a closer look. Fitted with a meteorite, all three versions give off distinct flashes of silver, grey, and white depending on the angle you view them from. The 18k white gold version goes a step further in mixing it up by offering a standard black Oysterflex strap. Due to the nature of the meteorite dial, each piece is unique.

Rounding off the 2021 range of watches are the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 watches, each imbued with special dial impressions. Each dial is made using either copper, zinc, nickel, chromium, titanium and silicon for vibrant colors in the form of a palm motif or a fluted motif that incorporates one of Rolex’s signature aesthetic styles. Take a look above for a better look at the watches.

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In other watch news, Patek Philippe drops new Calatravas and Linear Perpetual Calendar.
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