My strategy for the past two Watches and Wonders has been to save Rolex until the very last day, so I can enjoy it fully, without hurrying to the next appointment.

And it has paid off – this was the second time when I had the privilege of having a one-to-one conversation with the smartest and best-informed Rolex official for a whole hour, with him showing and explaining and “backgrounding” all the novelties, in a very elegant and relaxed manner. This way, I took a step further towards understanding this cryptic brand, which I have been writing about for some 20 years and still haven’t unlocked all its secrets.

I know everyone has been talking about the “bubble Rolex” and we will get to it, but I feel that the true big Rolex launch this year is the Perpetual 1908, the new line that is meant to showcase the brand’s incredible watchmaking prowess and legitimacy. The new watches do and don’t look like Rolex at the same time – they have a very elegant and slim silhouette, which was inspired by a 1931 model, whereas the name, obviously, comes from the birth year of the brand. I like the understated character of this watch, its quietly powerful presence. The new Rolex 7140 calibre is the heart of the Perpetual 1908, a self-winding movement equipped with a Siloxy hairspring, a Chronergy escapement and an anti-shock Paraflex device. The backcase is transparent, naturally, to showcase the new movement.

The case is extraordinarily slim (about one third of an Oyster Perpetual case), but the movement is no less exceptional – 66 hours of power reserve and -2/+2 seconds per day accuracy, certified by the Superlative Chronometer certification.

Also, the new Dualclasp in 18-carat yellow or white gold allows you to easily open and close it. True, this is a detail, but a very important one and Rolex has been a master of details for the past 115 years, thus slowly and consistently building its watchmaking supremacy.

I also loved the new Daytona – this is one of those extremely rare instances where a brand manages to upgrade the design of a legendary model without ruining it. Because, as the French aptly say, ”mieux est l’ennemi du bien”.

The dial has seen a careful redesign, with new hour markers and counter rings, so as to achieve an enhanced chromatic contrast between registers, surrounding rings and the dial as a whole. The case has also been redesigned, the lugs have smoother edges and the Cerachrom ceramic bezel now has an outer ring manufactured in the same material as the case. The Cosmograph Daytona is powered by the renewed calibre 4131. And yes – for the first time, a Daytona model comes with a transparent sapphire caseback, which shows the beautiful yellow gold oscillating weight – my all-time favourite, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in the platinum version, with the already-famous and much coveted ice blue dial and dark brown ceramic bezel combination.

Rolex also launched the Yacht Master in titanium. While not an admirer of titanium watches – I find them too unsubstantial for my taste, this is an incredibly well-executed timepiece, with amazing finishings that give it a very elegant and at the same time solid profile. I love the grey colour that seems to hover somewhere between platinum and titanium. The Yacht-Master 42 is the second watch in RLX titanium released by Rolex after the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge and, with its bidirectional rotatable bezel and Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic with raised and polished numerals and graduations, this new version remains faithful to the aesthetics of the original model, unveiled in 2019.

A very spectacular trio of Sky-Dweller models made me take another look at this range that has not been really high on my Rolex radar so far – somehow they look different, more dynamic, more luscious. White gold makes a comeback to the range, joined by a bright black dial and, for the first time, with an Oysterflex bracelet. New dial colours: mint green on the white Rolesor versions, and blue-green only on the model in Everose gold.

And now I am finally coming to THAT watch – the emoji watch as it is already affectionately named by all the Rolex fans. Rolex has never been known for sentimental effusions or for sentimental watches – anything but, if I may say so. This is a famously tight-lipped organisation, just making legendary watches and saying as little as possible. About the watches or anything else.

However, I like to think that the beautiful, lively, happy, funny, inspirational, tongue-in-cheek Day-Date Rolex just launched is their way of injecting some joie de vivre and some encouragement into the world. For instance, there is no day of the week in the 12 o’clock aperture. Instead, the wearer is treated to the following keywords: Happy, Eternity, Gratitude, Peace, Faith, Love and Hope. One for every day of the week, yes. And instead of the date, at three o’clock the owner of the watch can happily choose between… emojis. 31 of them to be exact: a heart, a kissy face, a four-leaf clover, an eight ball, a heart, a peace sign, and the Rolex coronet (nice touch, Rolex).

Add to that the amazing, intricate jigsaw puzzle motif on the dial and you might just have the loveliest, most human Rolex watch ever made. What fascinates me is how they have managed not to make it look or feel like a toy watch, but instead like a work of art with a sense of humour.

The watch is available in white gold and yellow gold with turquoise as the dial base colour, or in Everose with an orange base colour. There are 10 rainbow baguette-cut sapphire indexes, matching the puzzle.

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