Rolex at Baselworld 2019…


The 20th of March 2019 is a long awaited day in the horological calendar because that’s the day that Rolex announced the new models that they are releasing at Baselworld.

As you probably know, the release of new models by Rolex is always a bit of a farce because anything popular and desirable just isn’t available via their AD network – the reasons behind this are a separate topic for another day…

Nevertheless, Baselworld launch day is still a day over which everyone gets excited.

At Baselworld, Rolex normally discontinue something and release a few other things and it’s the absolute high point of the show – sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s less great but this year I feel the need to comment…

There’s always lots of speculation about what they might do – this year the ‘informed opinion’ (a total misnomer as nobody ever actually knows what they’re going to do – there’s NEVER an actual ‘leak’) said that we could expect a new Milgauss, a blue dialled stainless steel Submariner and the no-brainer was a ceramic GMT Master Coke – exciting as that all would’ve been, none of it actually happened.

So what did we get?

Well the new stainless steel 42 mm Yachtmaster with the black bezel and the rubber strap looks cool. The GMT Master with a black bezel has been discontinued so the stainless range is now made up of the BLNR (Batman) and the BLRO (Pepsi), both of which are on Jubilee bracelets – No Oysters any more folks.

Oh and there’s a bi-metal Sea Dweller 43.  No comment.

The other big announcement is that Rolex have made a green dialled Day-Date and some different Datejusts.

So far so ho-hum.

Seriously, what we have in the current stainless steel Rolex line up is a load of wonderful models that very few people can actually buy brand new from a Rolex Authorised Dealer.  Despite the best efforts of Rolex themselves, a LOT of those who are buying the watches new are selling them on immediately for a profit and inflating prices for the people who actually want to wear them – and make no mistake, pre-owned watch traders aren’t the ones making all the money here, it’s the guys who are somehow working their way to the top of the AD’s list.

So if you’re longing for a new GMT Master Pepsi, can’t get to the top of the list and don’t have £14,000 to spend on a £7,000 watch, what should you do? Well if I were you then I would spend my money on something that’s genuinely interesting, genuinely rare and genuinely decent value for money.

In short, buy vintage.

A vintage Rolex generally has an established value making it easy not to pay too much and giving you the confidence that you will never lose to much money, even if you have to sell in a hurry.  In fact, with prices rising as they have been for the past five years or so, you are quite likely to make some money.

They also have genuine character, real history and you’re not going to see someone down the pub wearing exactly the same watch.

Food for thought.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Dan, I can’t see Rolex thinning out their range and the other points are really hard to predict.
    The thing that’s worth bearing in mind is that unlike more traditional companies, Rolex is run as a trust so normal corporate logic doesn’t necessarily apply – this is a key reason behind some of the crazy and inexplicable decisions they’ve made recently …


  • Good article Giles and I very much agree. The latest Baselworld release has done wonders, in my view, for the popularity of pre-existing pieces that are still in the range (if one can get them), and vintage pieces.

    Do you think that Rolex are gradually trying to slim down their steel range of sports watches, placing more emphasis on that price point within their Tudor range? And that we can expect to see more of the sports watches of the future released in precious metal only?

    At some point, the Submariner range will need to be updated, but I do wonder if we see a similar pattern there with the GMT range, whereby more effort is being made to distinguish between steel and precious metal? Are the jubilee straps for steel watches, so that a gold watch will now stand out and make it, for many, a more justifiable purchase?

    All interesting thoughts I feel, but ultimately you may be the right in that the safer investment value is in good quality, vintage pieces. If you buy a new Pepsi now for £14,000, or an ‘old’ one for £9,000 – it will be interesting to see who has made the most profit if they sell in 10 years’ time.

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