At Watches & Wonders Digital Edition 2021, we’ve already seen new releases from some of the biggest names in the industry. Here we highlight some of the most interesting and sought after releases of the biggest digital watch event ever.
Patek Philippe: The new 5711 is Green
When the Patek Philippe 5711/1A-010 was discontinued at the beginning of 2021, some speculated that it would be the end of the stainless steel Nautilus. Patek proves those speculators wrong with the release of the 5711/1A-014, bringing back the 5711 with a new dial in olive green.
The new Nautilus 5711 is essentially the same watch with a different dial. It retains its the same dimensions (40mm wide by 8.3mm thick) as the outgoing model, and uses the same 26-330 SC movement with date complication and silicon hairspring. Yet, the olive green dial gives the watch a different feel: a bit off the beaten path, a bit more utilitarian.
This watch retails for $34,890 USD, though secondary market prices of the 5711/1A as a whole are nearing $100,000.
Tudor: New case materials for the Black Bay Fifty-Eight
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight, first released with a black dial in 2018 and followed up with a blue dial in 2019, has quickly become Tudor’s most popular collection due to its wearable dimensions and classical styling. Tudor is well-known for experimenting with different case materials: bronze, PVD, titanium, etc. Now, the brand has introduced precious metal options for the Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
Introducing: the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925, with a case made of 925 silver (the first in any Tudor dive watch) and an off-black “taupe” dial. The case is slightly thicker at 12.7mm, which sacrifices some of the wearability of this watch that distinguishes it from the Black Bay 41. However, the sacrifice could be worth it, as the 925 features an exhibition caseback, revealing in the in-house MT5400 movement inside.
But the 925 is only one of two precious metal Black Bay Fifty-Eight releases this year. The other is the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K, with an olive green dial and (you guessed it) an 18K yellow gold case. Like the 925, it features a sapphire caseback and the same MT5400 movement (virtually the same as the MT5402 that’s currently in use, but with a slightly larger base plate to fill out the view from the display back). While Rolex is known more for its green and gold color combinations, little brother Tudor puts its own spin on things with this Black Bay Fifty-Eight release.
One thing that’s sorely missing from both new Fifty-Eights: a bracelet option. While it would certainly raise the price of these watches (and probably significantly for the 18K), many would prefer dive watches on a bracelet – particularly given the industry-leading quality of the bracelets that Tudor/Rolex is capable of producing. Would the lack of a bracelet option inhibit your consideration of these watches?
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 retails for $4,300, while the 18K retails for $16,800.
Rolex: The Explorer and Explorer II get a refresh
Over the past few years, Rolex has updating their watches collection-by-collection, with the general improvements being an upgraded movement with longer power reserve and addition of the Rolex crown between the words “Swiss Made” at the bottom of the dial.
Most expected this year to be the Rolex Explorer’s turn to get an update. And so it did, for both the Explorer and Explorer II. While most of the changes were quite expected, there was one surprise Rolex had in store: a two-tone option for the Rolex Explorer, reference 124273.
Both of these watches come in 36mm case diameter, with a 39mm option no longer available. While the new Explorer in stainless steel is mostly what we expected it to be, the two-tone Explorer marks the first use of precious metal in an Explorer watch. The word “Explorer” has also been moved from the bottom of the dial to the top, below the words “Oyster Perpetual”.
In the case of the Explorer II, what some may find more surprising is how similar the watch is to its predecessor. As this release marks the 50th anniversary of the collection, rumors were abound with potential changes to the model – most notably the use of ceramic for the bezel, as Rolex has done for the GMT-Master, Daytona, Submariner, and others.
Yet, the case remains remarkably similar: still 42mm in diameter with a steel bezel, though with noticeably slimmed down lugs – the same treatment the Rolex Submariner got last year. The new caliber 3285 is new – but only for this specific model, as it’s been in use by the GMT-Master II since 2018.
The Explorer in stainless steel retails for $6,450, a decrease in price of $100 compared to the outgoing 214270. On the other hand, the new two-tone Explorer (reference 124273) retails for a much higher $10,800. The new Explorer II, reference 226570, retails for $8,550, which is $200 more than the outgoing reference 216570.