This year’s watches from the largest Swiss businesses will have been five years in the making and are going to be revealed next week in an endless stream of online videos and webinars hosted on Watchesandwonders.com.
While hoping this is the last time we don’t get to see new watches in person, we are still excited at what will be presented, particularly from the largest brands taking part in W&W: Cartier, Rolex and Patek Philippe.
In a preview of where he thinks the industry is heading, Watch Exchange London co-founder Arfan Mohammed writes that he believes Cartier is bound to surprise, and predicts how the mighty Rolex will evolve its portfolio of novelties.
Daytona and other Rolex rumours
In typical Rolex fashion, leaks and rumours abound already.
The Daytona is certainly being talked about after the revealing of a pair of vintage-inspired 42mm stainless steel models and a supposed picture of a 41mm stainless steel Daytona with a blue cerachrom bezel and blue sub dials.
However, as the Daytona is 60 years old in 2023, it makes sense that any drastic updates such as a new movement and fresh dial designs will wait until then.
Rolex places importance on anniversaries and the Explorer II is 50 this year, so a new Daytona would steal its thunder.
The Explorer II’s cal. 3187 movement is likely to be updated as it has only 50 hours of power reserve, 20 hours behind Rolex’s current standard.
The new Explorer II is likely to bear the traditional green and may also feature a cerachrom bezel with the inscriptions found on the original Explorer II, the ref. 1655.
Rolex has begun offering Oysterflex straps on an increasing number of models, which is likely to continue for precious metal offerings in particular.
With the Yachtmaster I, Sky-Dweller and Daytona all boasting the silky watch bracelet, the yellow gold and platinum Yachtmaster II will likely benefit from this upgrade.
The Explorer II ref. 216570, Airking and Milgauss will probably be updated or leave Rolex’s portfolio altogether as these models have been hanging on by their fingernails for several years.
Dial variants for the Datejust are likely to be replaced, as per last year, but only in the smaller sizes.
With Cartier’s increasing popularity, the next move will be interesting to observe.
It’s likely there will be more skeletonised dials and modernised designs, but it’s difficult to predict how bold and in which direction the brand will head.
Patek Philippe famously discontinued the 5711 in January, so its replacement could be released imminently.
Rumoured to be 41mm titanium, featuring a sunburst blue dial, Patek’s President Thierry Stern has confirmed it will be a limited release.
It will therefore be challenging to obtain and secondary market prices will be high.
“This year’s releases promise to be explosive, with opinions guaranteed to be split as watch enthusiasts make cases for and against their favourite models,” Arfan Mohammed, a watch historian who has traded luxury timepieces worth hundreds of millions of pounds, concludes.
“A year ago the Oyster Perpetual was a forgotten collection but now it’s one of the hottest Rolex designs. This obviously won’t be the case for every new watch released at Watches and Wonders, but there will certainly be fruitful opportunities for prudent investors.”