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Rolex rumours 2021: What can you expect?

Rolex rumours 2021: What can you expect?

Nils Rau

After a quiet year thanks to COVID-19, the long-awaited watch fairs will soon start again. Rolex is set to present its 2021 novelties for the first time at Watches & Wonders, formerly SIHH. The most likely new model is a new Explorer II. What can you expect this year? Find out everything about the top five Rolex rumours!

Baselworld and SIHH become Houruniverse and Watches & Wonders

After the Coronavirus pandemic upset the watch industry in 2020, normality is slowly returning to the world of fine timepieces. For example, Houruniverse, previously known as Baselworld for many years, will be held in Basel from 8 to 12 April 2021.

The Watches & Wonders fair, known as the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) until 2019, will occur directly after Houruniverse. For the first time, the event will open its doors both online and offline. While a digital edition of the fair will be held from 7 to 13 April with 38 exclusive watch manufactures, 19 of these manufactures will present their timepieces at an on-site event in Shanghai from 14 to 18 April. Among the participating brands is Rolex.

We've ventured into the rumour mill and found the 2021 Rolex novelties you could look forward to from April.

The Top 5 Rolex Rumours

Rumour No. 1: Explorer II with anniversary reference

The Explorer II, unveiled in 1971, celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Also, the current reference has already been on the market for ten years. Rolex will likely present a revised version of the explorer and adventurer watch in 2021. One certainty is that a new Explorer II will be equipped with the current GMT calibre 3285. Apart from that, it is also certain that this revised reference will have more classic proportions of the case and the hands. Rolex has recently made this update for almost all newly introduced models. In terms of colour, the manufacturer is likely to stick to the classic red and orange accents. These are one of the essential characteristics of the watch and the GMT hand of the Explorer II.

It is questionable whether the new Explorer II, which will probably bear the Ref. 226750, will be equipped with a ceramic bezel. The fact that the Explorer II has been produced with a stainless steel bezel for 50 years speaks against this. On the other hand, such traditions are not set in stone at Rolex either. For example, the Daytona was presented with a ceramic bezel for the first time after more than 50 years.

What a new Explorer II will look like is not yet clear. However, Rolex will likely present a revised model of this watch.

Rumour No. 2: Explorer in 41 millimetres

In addition to the Explorer II, there are always rumours about a larger version of the Explorer. This stems from the fact that Rolex is generally moving away from 39 to 41 millimetres. Additionally, the Explorer is one of the few models that do not feature the latest calibre generation. However, it seems more likely that the Explorer II will be revised this year.

Rumour No. 3: Milgauss as Heritage Model

Rolex clearly focuses more on timeless models and less on trends. Nevertheless, even the traditional Geneva manufacturer cannot ignore the heritage trend. This became particularly clear with the launch of the "Red" Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 in 2017 when Rolex brought the red lettering back to the dial after around 30 years.

The Milgauss, in particular, which has been in production for 14 years, offers exciting possibilities for an approach to the early references. For example, Rolex could refocus the watch as a toolwatch with a homage to the original Ref. 6543 or 6541. A reinterpretation of Ref. 1019, on the other hand, would turn the Milgauss into an elegant-looking toolwatch.

Either way, when Rolex unveils a new Milgauss in 2021, we can expect it to offer far greater insensitivity than the current magnetic field resistance of up to 1,000 Gauss. A look at manufactures such as Omega shows that there is a clear need for improvement here. Due to the above-average production time of the Ref. 116400, the Geneva manufacturer may present a successor in April.

Rumour No. 4: More ceramics for the Daytona

It is also possible that more ceramic versions of the Daytona will be presented. So far, the watch has only been available in platinum and stainless steel versions with a solid bracelet. Also, gold models are only available on the Oysterflex bracelet made of rubber. This means that Rolex could launch novelties in 2021, such as ceramic Daytonas with cases and bracelets in yellow, white and/or Everose gold.

Rumour No. 5: New dial variants for Datejusts and Day-Dates

Finally, we can look forward to seeing which new dials will be presented for the Datejust and Day-Date references. Although the choice is already very generous for both models, there are comparatively few dials for some configuration options. An example of this is the Datejust 36 in bicolour (stainless steel/yellow gold), which is available without jewels and only with a champagne-coloured or white dial.


As almost every year, there are many probabilities and some surprises. If you look at the new Rolex launches of the last few years, the circle of unrevised watches is limited to a few models. Nevertheless, the Geneva-based manufacturer is known for presenting some exciting novelties that were not expected beforehand. Just think of the Sky-Dweller or the Yacht-Master 42.

Soon we will finally know about which Rolex novelties 2021 has in store for us. Are you as excited as we are? Of course, the new arrivals will soon be available in our online shop without any waiting lists!

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