Colourful updates

 Day-Date in yellow gold
Afresh breeze is blowing through Rolex, with the iconic brand taking a new look at some of its most favoured models. Or, more precisely, a wave of colour has swept through, bringing with it a youthful vibe. Which is not to say that Rolex is courting the youth market – unless it is a young generation of pampered princes. These are not watches for the budget-conscious.

One of the most anticipated arrivals at BaselWorld 2013 was the Cosmograph Daytona. Fifty years ago, when the original version of this Oyster Perpetual watch was released, Rolex fans rejoiced. If they still have one, they could enjoy a more comfortable retirement by putting it up for auction. It’s a safe bet that this year’s release will enjoy the same credibility and investment value as the 1963 Daytona.

For the first time, the selfwinding mechanical chronograph Daytona is released in a case of 950 platinum. The dial is a beautiful, cool ice blue, and the Cerachrom bezel is a light brown. Reassuringly, the movement is the Calibre 4130.

The colour just keeps coming. Another member of the Oyster Perpetual family now sports a dual-colour bezel with a twist. The black section of the rotating ceramic bezel represents night, and it morphs into blue for day. This bezel is unique in that Rolex developed a special process so that the two colours could be produced in one piece in Cerachrom, Rolex’s own ceramic which is virtually scratchproof and ultraviolet rayresistant. GMT-Master II also has a 904L steel 40mm case.

Yacht-Master II, also an Oyster Perpetual, has had an update as well. For the first time, it is interpreted in steel, and its blue ceramic bezel and the blue touches on the dial reinvigorate the design, lifting it into another dimension. This regatta chronograph was a breakthrough at its original launch, when it was noted for its revolutionary countdown feature which can be reset for a new countdown of the same duration at a single touch.

The most dramatic facelift at Rolex has been given to the Day- Date range. There are no fewer than six new colour options – and what unapologetic colours they are. Day-Date matches leather straps with dials for a striking effect. Watches in 18ct yellow gold come in either green or cognac versions. For the 18ct white gold models, there is a choice of blue or cherry. And then there is Everose, an 18ct rose gold developed by Rolex in its own factory. Everose models come with a chocolate dial and strap or a rhodium dial with a black strap.

The dials are the Stella style of the 1970s, and the new Day- Date is certainly in the Rolex tradition of being instantly identifiable. The cases are still 36mm and still use the 3155 Calibre self-winding movement.

Day-Date Sertie, still with the 36mm Oyster case and the 3155 Calibre, takes the look into the luxury realm. There are seven versions, all in 18ct gold set with diamonds.

The Everose version has a pink mother-of-pearl carousel dial against 18ct white gold, with a background of wavy lines radiating out to produce a flower effect. A total of 217 diamonds create a grid in which the hour markers are set with concentric circles of diamonds, and the bezel is set with 60 baguette diamonds.

This is not just a pretty face. There are hour, minute and second hands with stop seconds for precision time-setting. The day window is set at 12 o’clock, and the date window, with a cyclops lens, is set at 3 o’clock. The use of polished and satin finishes in the metals – white gold, yellow gold and Everose – are especially effective. There are versions in which the white gold has a lapis lazuli dial, the yellow gold has a bull’s eye dial and the Everose has a ferrite dial.

Its feminine counterpart is the Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster in Everose with bezel and bracelet links decorated with diamonds set in white gold. The dial has a delicate trace of rose gold on mother-of-pearl.

With these reimagined classics, Rolex shook up its image at BaselWorld while maintaining all that is iconic in the brand.

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