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Baselworld 2020: The Top 6 Rumors about Rolex

Baselworld 2020: The Top 6 Rumors about Rolex

Nils Rau

It hasn’t been that long since the New Year celebrations, but preparations for the SIHH and Baselworld are already in full swing. And of course, the Rolex rumour mill is running with the new calibre generation, sudden delivery stops and a look back at the last few years giving us quite the hint for possible new releases. Find out what is behind the most exciting rumours about Rolex!

100 Days to Baselworld

In about three months from now, Rolex is set to present its newest creations at Baselworld 2020. On 30 April, the legendary watch fair will open its doors for the 104th time for several hundred exhibitors and many more watch enthusiasts. Even though the number of exhibitors has fallen steadily in recent years, Baselworld can still hold its own as the most important of all watch fairs. This is mainly due to the participation of industrial heavyweights such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and the LVMH Group, which includes BulgariHublotTAG Heuer and Zenith.

Last year, Rolex innovations were leaked on the first day of the fair, there's no doubt that this year we expect the extremely secretive Rolex SA to ensure their secrets are not released again.

Rumour No. 1: The Hulk is discontinued

Rumors about the Submariner have been around for years, especially about the Hulk with the Ref. 116610LV. Since this green variant was originally launched as an anniversary edition for the 50th birthday in 2003 – at that time still as Ref. 16610LV – the fears that the model might be discontinued reappear year after year.

As far as this rumour is concerned, there is little to no certainty. However, remember that Rolex replaced the original anniversary reference 16610LV with the 116610LV in 2010, without any reference to the anniversary. Therefore, it does not seem very logical to suddenly discontinue the production of the successful green model. On the other hand, the decisions made by manufacturers do not always follow logical principles – and the reference 116610LV has been in production for ten years already.

Shop the Submariner Date

Rumour No. 2: The Explorer is getting an update

For ten years, fans of the Rolex Explorer have been waiting for an update of the legendary mountaineering watch. But so far, the manufacturer has been slow to come up with an update. Could 2020 finally be the year?

The price increases for Rolex at the beginning of the year give us a reason for hope. While the Explorer II increased in price by 400 euros, the price for the Explorer rose by just 150 euros. This could be a sign that a new version will soon be available at a higher price.

Shop the Rolex Explorer

Rumour No. 3: The Explorer II receives a ceramic bezel

The rumours about the Explorer II are as persistent as ever. We remember the speculations last year about whether it would receive a ceramic bezel. However, in recent years, several other Rolex models have been fitted with a ceramic bezel, most notably the Rolex Daytona (Ref. 116500LN) and the Yacht-Master 42 (Ref. 226659). In fact, an update of the Explorer II is likely, as there has been no new revision since the launch of this reference in 2011. Should this be the case, the Explorer II would be equipped with the new caliber 3285, which is already being used in the revised GMT-Master models.

Should Rolex not be planning a comprehensive Explorer update, then the Explorer reference 214270, which was last revised in 2016 (longer hands, numerals 3, 6 and 9 with luminous material), would remain unchanged this year.

Shop the Rolex Explorer II

Rumour No. 4: The Submariner is getting a new movement

It’s quite likely that Rolex will introduce the new caliber generation to the Submariner Date this year (the reference would be 126610LN). You will recognise it by the small crown between "SWISS" and "MADE" at six o'clock on the dial. There are several reasons for this: Firstly, the Submariner series has not been reworked for several years. The successor to the calibre 3135 used in the Submariner Date, the calibre 3235, is now used in numerous other models – including the Yacht-Master 40, Datejust 41 and Sea-Dweller.

Furthermore, the Submariner in solid gold has recently ceased to be available for order, which should be a strong indication for an upcoming update. The watches in question are the reference 11618LN with a black dial and the reference 116618LB with a blue dial. In the past Rolex has always updated the gold models before the stainless steel models were revised.

As for the Submariner No Date, Ref. 114060, there are also rumours of an update. There is talk of a small innovation, which should go beyond a mere caliber update. What it is about, however, would be a blind guess at the moment.

Shop the Rolex Submariner

Rumour No. 5: The Air-King is discontinued

Four years ago, Rolex gave a refreshing update to one of the oldest models in the brand portfolio: The Air-King, which until then had been 34 millimetres in size, was given the Milgauss case and a dial that was unconventional by Rolex standards: a completely new design of the Rolex logo with a golden crown and green lettering.

The dial design of the reference 116900, launched in 2016, is based on the Bloodhound SSC, a British high-speed vehicle that was to achieve a land speed record of at least 1,000 mp/h (equivalent to 1,609 km/h). Its tachometer and cockpit watch were created by Rolex and thus served as a design template for the Air-King.

Since the Bloodhound project had to file for bankruptcy in December 2018 and Rolex has detached itself from the project, it seems at least conceivable that they will now part with the horological remnants of this failed project and take the Air-King off the market. A return of the simple 34-millimeter Air-King is also unlikely, as the Oyster Perpetual 34 (ref. 114200) has taken its place in the portfolio.

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Rumour No. 6: Daytona and Milgauss will get a ceramic update

Another rumour surrounding Rolex says that all Daytona models will only have ceramic bezels in the future. So far, only the stainless steel version and the solid gold models with the Oysterflex bracelet have ceramic bezels. It will only be a matter of time before the Bi-Color Daytona and the Solid Gold Daytona receive a corresponding update.

The last complete revision of the Milgauss took place in 2007. This makes it the oldest reference in the Rolex collection (with the exception of minor changes). It seems possible that the Milgauss will also receive a ceramic bezel and continue the original reference 6543 from 1954. Furthermore, it is not impossible that the Milgauss will receive a technical makeover, as the magnetic field resistance of 1,000 Gauss is no longer a horological masterpiece - current Omega calibres can withstand 15,000 Gauss easily. It is therefore quite possible that Rolex will follow suit and equip the Milgauss with a significantly higher resistance to magnetic fields, despite its name indicating a resistance to 1,000 gauss.

Secure your Rolex ahead of Baselworld