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GIRARD-PERREGAUX Laureato

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato has gone through so many mutations and transformations since the design was first introduced in 1975, that it’s hard to think of a single model that really embodies its essence. The first Laureato, after all, was a thin quartz watch and it represents a period when not only GP, but the Swiss watch industry as a whole, was struggling to find a way through the Quartz Crisis.
That the first Girard-Perregaux Laureato was a quartz watch, not a mechanical one, is significant as well; GP was one of the first Swiss brands to offer a quartz watch. The first in-house GP quartz movement was the Elcron caliber, which came out in 1970 and ran at 8,192 Hz. In 1971, however, the GP-350 caliber debuted – this was the first quartz movement with a crystal vibrating at 32,768 Hz, which has become the frequency standard for almost all quartz movements made, right up to the present.

Some people find the Laureato’s design derivative of the Royal Oak, but I don’t see it that way – there are some, I think, fairly trivial similarities, including the use of an octagonal bezel, but if you put the two watches side-by-side they seem to me to clearly be going after different effects. The Royal Oak has a much more visually aggressive, overt angularity which the Laureato manifestly is not trying to ape; instead, it’s shooting for a slim, relatively unobtrusive vibe that, the steel case and eight-sided bezel notwithstanding, has much more to do with the mid-century ideal of a thin, elegant dress watch than it does with the flashy geometry of the Royal Oak. Whether this is or isn’t a good thing is a matter of taste, but the original Laureato is, I think, fundamentally a much more conservative design than the Royal Oak, at least in terms of its underlying aspirations.
The original Girard-Perregaux Laureato, therefore, wasn’t just an attempt to use a modern design idiom to achieve the feel of a traditional thin dress watch – it was an attempt by Girard-Perregaux, and by extension the Swiss watch industry, to assert itself as a leader in both aesthetic and technical modernity; not for nothing did it proudly say “chronometer” on the dial of the original Laureato. It’s on the same continuum with later, even more extreme examples of ultra-thin quartz horology, like the Omega Dinosaure or Concord Delirium, and it’s also an ancestor to later thin, integrated bracelet quartz watches such as the 1980 Piaget Polo (another now-classic design that started out as a quartz watch, with the caliber 7P in 1979 and 8P in 1980).
Girard-Perregaux Laureato was exclusively a quartz watch for quite a long time (it was used as a vehicle for quartz complications as well) and, interestingly enough, the first mechanical Laureato didn’t come along until fairly late in the game. In 1995, GP introduced a mechanical Laureato with its in-house automatic caliber 3100. The 3000 family of movements was first introduced, just the year before, in 1994, and like the original Laureato, they are rather conservative in certain respects – they’re relatively small by modern standards, at 11 1/2 lignes, or 25.60 mm x 3.36mm, for the caliber 3300 (the caliber 3000 is a 10 1/2 ligne movement). However, this is comparable to the ETA 2892, which is also an 11 1/2 ligne caliber (and 3.6mm thick). The 3300, which is used in the just-released 38mm Laureato watches, is a fairly high-beat caliber, at 28,8000 vph.

The 3000 family of GP movements, by the way, has found its way into some interesting watches from other brands. MB&F uses the 3300 caliber as the basis for a number of its Horological Machines, where its dimensions and general reliability give a lot of flexibility in overall design and mechanical implementation; in 1996, Vacheron Constantin used the GP 3100 as the Vacheron Constantin caliber 1311, in the first series of the Overseas watch – the first new model launched by VC after it was acquired by the Vendôme Group.

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ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36

With these versions of the Rolex Day-Date 36, Rolex brings an unexpected creative twist to one of its iconic models. By displaying a new emotion each day, the watch brings an element of spontaneity into the wearers’ daily life and allows them to invest the reading of time with their changing mood.

Rolex unveils three new variants of its Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36, full of joy and energy.

Crafted from 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold, these watches have adopted an original face. Rather than showing the day of the week, the arc-shaped aperture at 12 o’clock displays an inspirational keyword in English – ‘Happy’, ‘Eternity’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Peace’, ‘Faith’, ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’. The window at 3 o’clock reveals daily one of 31 exclusive emojis in place of the date.

Entirely created using champlevé enamelling, the dial is striking for the depth and intensity of its gleaming colours and decoration. The motif is inspired by a jigsaw puzzle. Turquoise blue, red, fuchsia, orange, green and yellow pieces fit together on a single-colour background, each representing one of the key moments in life. The hours are marked by 10 baguette-cut sapphires in six different hues set according to the main colour of the dial, which is turquoise blue on the 18 ct yellow gold and 18 ct white gold versions, and orange on the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 watch in 18 ct Everose gold.

The new versions of the Day-Date 36 are equipped with calibre 3255, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, enabling them to display a special keyword each day of the week and an individual emoji each day of the month, as well as the hours, minutes and seconds.

Like all Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

EXCLUSIVITY ACCORDING TO ROLEX

At its launch in 1956, the Day-Date was a major innovation: it was the first calendar wristwatch to indicate, in addition to the date, the day of the week spelt out in full in an arc-shaped window at 12 o’clock on the dial – a technical feat at the time. The day of the week is available in a choice of 26 languages. Watches in the Day-Date range are made only of precious metals – 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold, or 950 platinum.

Worn by many of the world’s political figures, directors and visionaries, the Day-Date is instantly recognizable, in particular thanks to its emblematic President bracelet, whose evocative name, together with the eminent figures who have worn it, ensured the Day-Date became known as the ‘presidents’ watch’.

THE OYSTER CASE, SYMBOL OF WATERPROOFNESS

A paragon of robustness and elegance, the 36 mm Oyster case of the new versions of the Day-Date 36 is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The middle case of these versions is crafted from a solid block of 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold. Its case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, which features a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire and benefits from an anti-reflective coating. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimal protection for the movement it houses.

PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3255

The new versions of the Day-Date 36 are equipped with calibre 3255, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex that was released in 2015 and fitted on this model in 2019. A distillation of technology, this self-winding mechanical movement delivers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, convenience and reliability.

Calibre 3255 incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, this escapement is resistant to strong magnetic fields. The movement is fitted with a blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. The hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations as well as high resistance to shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is mounted on the Rolex-designed, patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance. The oscillating weight is now fitted with an optimized ball bearing.

Calibre 3255 is equipped with a self-winding system via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3255 extends to approximately 70 hours.

PRESIDENT BRACELET

The new variants of the Day-Date 36 are fitted on a President bracelet in 18 ct yellow or white gold for those with a turquoise blue puzzle-motif dial, or in 18 ct Everose gold for the orange puzzle-motif dial. Created specially for the launch of the prestigious Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in 1956, this three-piece link bracelet, made only from 18 ct gold or 950 platinum, is still reserved exclusively for the Day-Date and precious metal versions of the Datejust.

The President bracelet is equipped with an elegant concealed folding Crownclasp and includes patented ceramic inserts – designed by Rolex – inside the links to enhance its flexibility on the wrist and its longevity.

SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFICATION

Like all Rolex watches, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, following the official certification of the movements by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The in-house certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2 /+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone.

The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.

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A Rolex Submariner Ref. 14060

Each week, we present a selection of our favorite watches from the pre-owned side of our collection. We photograph each one so that you get a closer look at what makes these watches so special. This week, we have a Rolex Submariner Ref. 14060, a Tudor Black Bay Pro, a Canopus Gold Omega Speedmaster, a Panerai Submersible, and a JLC Polaris.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 14060

The Rolex Submariner 14060 is a classic diver’s neo-vintage iteration of the diver that embodies the essence of the Sub. You get the classic 40mm case, the unidirectional rotating bezel, the black aluminum insert, all supporting the simple no-date look.

As you would expect and as is written on the dial, the 14060 is water-resistant to 300 meters (1,000 feet), making it suitable for diving. The absence of a date complication on the dial gives the watch a symmetrical and balanced look, appealing to collectors and enthusiasts alike who appreciate the simplicity and functionality of a no-date Submariner. This is as classic as a not-quite-vintage Sub gets.

Tudor Black Bay Pro Ref. 79470

With the Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT still fresh on our minds after Watches & Wonders, it’s hard to just forget about the BB Pro, the first version of a smaller, 39mm, GMT from the brand. This watch shares many aesthetic cues with the Rolex Explorer II line and represents a rugged, sporty GMT. It features an old school steel bezel, a matte black dial, matte raised markers and the slightest tinge of patina. While it is a bit thick, housing the same movement as the original Black Bay GMT, this watch also features the upgraded Tudor T-Fit clasp system and presents a really nice, sturdy alternative to the Black Bay 58 line. And if we’re being honest, once you get this one on your wrist, all that thickness just disappears.

Panerai Submersible PAM 973

The Panerai Submersible 3 Days Automatic PAM 973 is a rugged and stylish dive watch that combines Italian design with Swiss watchmaking. With a 42mm brushed steel case and a unidirectional rotating bezel, this watch is designed to be the modern iteration of what is generally a vintage-inspired design fest from the brand. At the heart of the Submersible PAM 973 is the Panerai Caliber P.900 movement, which provides a power reserve of three days. The movement is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback and the watch is water resistant to 300 meters. It comes affixed to a black rubber strap, making it a truly striking modern dive watch in today’s market.

Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph in Canopus Gold is an under-the radar luxe version of the iconic Moonwatch. The watch features a 42mm case crafted from Omega’s exclusive Canopus Gold, a white gold alloy that offers a brilliant and long-lasting shine, but one that most would just confuse for steel. The bezel is also made of Canopus Gold and features a black ceramic insert with the classic tachymeter scale (with dot over 90). The dial of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph is opaline silver, complementing the Canopus Gold and creating a seamless link between metal and dial. The watch is powered by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861, a manual-winding movement that is METAS-certified. The case back is open giving you a full view of the intricate mechanics within. Paired with Omega’s upgraded vintage-meets-modern bracelet, this is the perfect Moonwatch precious upgrade.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Q9068670

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Q9068670 is a mid-century-inspired design paying tribute to the iconic Memovox Polaris watch from 1968. It features a 42mm stainless steel case with a mix of polished and satin finishes with a black dial that plays off the faux-aged lume on the markers. Key callouts are the 12, nine, and six Arabic numerals, which punctuate the vintage look and feel. At the heart of the Polaris Date Q9068670 is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 899, which is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The Polaris features a date display at three o’clock and is water resistant to 200 meters. It comes affixed to a black rubber strap and represents the best execution of modern build quality that pays homage to a classic design.

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New Grey And Black Rolex GMT-Master II In Stainless Steel

It’s possible I have a GMT problem. For years, the idea of somehow finding a way to get a new Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master II loomed large over my head. The Rolex ref. 1675 GMT-Master was a seminal experience in my appreciation of any watch more modern than a pocket watch from 1920. I remember where I was when I handled my first ref. 1675. It was at the RRL in SoHo and when they took the watch out of the case of other antiques, vintage jewelry, and other assorted watches, they handed it to me casually. Meanwhile I felt like I was handling the most valuable watch in the world. Since then, I’ve been hooked. Earlier this year, a friend introduced me to Federico Verga, who works his family’s long-running watch retailer in Milan. As we sat and chatted about the state of modern catalogs of the major brands, he asked me what, if anything, I’d buy right now. Despite getting my Pepsi last year, my gut response was the left-handed GMT-Master II from two years ago. To have two of my nicest watches be variations of the same thing seems silly. But it’s not the first I’ve thought about a superfluous GMT-Master. I’ve imagined having a whole suite of modern Rolex GMTs, with one of the coolest being the white gold GMT-Master II with a meteorite dial. I’m the last person inclined to tell you that another variation of a GMT-Master II is bad or boring. And I’ll tell you why I still feel like it’s anything but bad. You might be surprised to hear – if you haven’t realized already – that the new ref. 126710GRNR (Gris Noir for the grey and black bezel) is the only stainless steel Rolex release from Watches & Wonders 2024. While it’s not a full-on “Patek move” the way Thierry Stern ditched the stainless steel Nautilus, it’s certainly an unusual year for Rolex. It’s also unusual in a significantly different way than the surprises from Rolex last year. The brand told us that the shocking “Celebration” and “Puzzle” dials weren’t precedent-setting for future years, but rather a moment in time to have some fun. So while the grey/black isn’t earth shattering, it’s peak-Rolex in a comforting way. Everything about the new GRNR (for lack of a consensus nickname yet) is basically like every other 126710. The stainless steel case is 40mm by 12mm, and the watch comes with choice of Jubilee or Oyster bracelet. The watch is powered by a caliber 3285 with 70 hours of power reserve, and has the independent jumping hour hand to skip time zones when you travel from place to place. That means the main difference is that the Cerachrom bezel has a very subtle black and grey gradient, and the name of the watch on the dial – as well as the length of the 24-hour hand – is in a bold green hue. Sure, it’s just a few tweaks, and while I’m not saying it’s worth jumping up and down about, more options aren’t usually bad. I love the Pepsi as an iconic color combination, going all the way back to the amazing original Rolex ref. 6542. But as someone with a more reserved sense of style, I can find the red accents quite loud. Sure, I could have asked for a “Batman,” but then the blue is pretty bold, too. Not everyone wants a watch that calls attention to itself. But until now, the only modern watch that satisfied that kind of audience was the old, long-discontinued ref. 116710LN. I didn’t much care for the monotone bezel, but a lot of the places I worked as a photojournalist were not exactly places where I would have wanted to draw much attention to my watch. But it shouldn’t necessarily stop you from having a watch that can travel with you.

The nice carryover is the green “GMT-MASTER II” text and green hand, which gives a needed bit of color to an otherwise stark release, but the gradient bezel is the biggest improvement. I don’t know how often people actually lean on the day/night part of the bezel for quick reference – if you do, let me know – but at least it creates some contrast on the bezel that alludes the original GMTs. I mentioned in my intro that this isn’t the “Coke” (black and red) bezel that many people were expecting or hoping for. I wasn’t hoping for the Coke, personally. Despite being a full-octane “Coke heavy” beverage fan, I don’t love the color combo on the GMT. The launch of this new color also didn’t result in the discontinuation of the iconic Pepsi. That discontinuation was rumored for the last six to nine months when members of the watch community reported their ADs had seen less and less Pepsis delivered as the year went on. The rumors went from discontinuation to suggestions Rolex was struggling even to make bezels (which certainly was an issue that prevented the Cerachrom bezels from being Pepsi from day one). Maybe now the more obvious answer is that Rolex was slowing down for their new launch. Another surprise was the fact that not only does the new GRNR come on both Jubilee and Oyster bracelet, but if you have the watch on one bracelet, you can also buy the other. That was kind of a not-so-secret trick that I learned from a few friends the last few years: if you went to the right AD, they might be able to help you buy the other bracelet but in some instances you probably would have to have a creative story and jump through few hoops. While it’s not clear that the new policy extends to every Rolex GMT-Master II in steel (trust me, I asked and it’s still not clear), I’m hopeful. Whether you’re a bit nutty (like me) and look at a GMT-Master and think “gotta catch ’em all” or just have been waiting for a more reserved steel GMT, you can pick up the new 126710GRNR for $10,700 on Oyster bracelet, or $10,900 on Jubilee. Hopefully, the flow of steel GMTs starts picking up steam – Pepsi, Sprite, Batman, and whatever this ends up being called.

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Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR

According to Rolex, the theme behind 2024’s latest version of the famed GMT-Master II is “the harmony of contrasts.” This poetic-sounding statement is indeed an inherent contradiction. Harmonious things are not by nature supposed to contrast. Though it is true that when you examine the small details, there are, indeed, examples of highly harmonious things with high contrast. Rolex does not elaborate further. So is a typical artistically intellectual opener for a Swiss luxury watch whose practical contribution to watchmaking is the introduction of gray and steel together in the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR. It comes in two styles, either on a three-link Rolex Oyster bracelet or on a Rolex Jubilee bracelet.

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR builds upon two similar models that were released by Rolex last year, offering the same watch but in an all-OysterSteel (Rolex’s own metal alloy formulation based on 904L steel) case. In 2023 Rolex introduced the GMT-Master II in all gold (reference 126718GRNR) as well as a two-tone steel and gold model (reference 126713GRNR). Both of these watches were intended to bring back a classic Rolex GMT-Master look but for the latest generation GMT-Master II case and movement configuration. The novel “tweak” was to offer something different in the bezel in the form of a two-tone black and gray bezel, as opposed to all black as was previously available in the last generation versions of these Rolex GMT-Master II watches. The black and gray Cerachrom ceramic bezels were so subtle in their contrast when matched with gold that it was frankly hard to notice that the bezel was two different colors much of the time. By contrast (just using Rolex’s chosen word of the year again), when paired with an all-steel case, the color difference between the upper black and lower gray sections of the Cerachrom bezel becomes much more visually apparent.

Last year, Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR enthusiasts nicknamed this black and gray bezel color combination the “Bruce Wayne.” I think they were just going with the Batman theme because the blue and black bezel version of the same watch is also commonly referred to by the enthusiast community as “The Batman.” I don’t know what is particularly Bruce Wayne-y about this color combination, but perhaps black and gray are simply not a particularly noteworthy color combination. Visually this is one of the most subtle “colored” watches that Rolex makes. At a glance, it almost looks like the cousin Rolex Submariner watch that, in classic form, is a much more monochromatic watch than the GMT-Master II 162710GRNR. According to Rolex, this particular set of subtle GMT-Master II watches do fill a hole in the product catalog. This watch is for people who don’t want a black and white watch, but who also feel that blue is simply too much color for them. Personally, while I admire the GMT-Master II 162710GRNR for being a beautiful classic timepiece that is impeccably made, this color combination leaves me emotionally cold. This is very much intended to be a severely conservative watch amidst a brand that is already among the industry’s most conservative.

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR often trickles down new parts or technology starting with higher-priced gold models and then moving “down” to steel. So it makes sense that the gray and black ceramic bezel started with availability in watches with gold, and are now available in all steel versions. That Rolex is offering both bracelet options is also nice, although there is a slight cost difference between them – which Rolex has an explanation for but really they should be the same price right? Nothing else other than the bezel and green-colored GMT hand is new for this version of the GMT-Master II 126710. The OysterSteel case is 40mm wide with 100 meters of water resistance and is among the most comfortable-wearing sports watches in the world.

Inside the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR is the in-house Rolex caliber 3285 automatic movement. Featuring Rolex’s latest mechanical movement technology, the 3285 is extremely accurate to within two seconds per day and includes both COSC Chronometer certification and Rolex’s more intensive Superlative Chronometer certification. The movement features the time, date, and a second time zone via a 24-hour hand. The movement features a quick-adjust for the main time’s hour hand, given that this type of GMT is designed as a true traveler’s watch. Many people consider the GMT-Master II the world’s most versatile sports watch given its functionality, style, and overall poise. If only a little bit of green is the most color you can handle, this might be the version for you.

There is no winner between the Oyster and Jubilee bracelet options. The Oyster is going to look a bit sportier and the Jubilee is going to look a bit dressier. The deployants are different on each, but depending on your lifestyle there is no clear winner between the two. I think, for that reason, Rolex decided to offer the same watch on two bracelets – something it doesn’t really do all the time. Both watch and bracelet pairings have the same reference numbers, although as I mentioned the price is a bit different. Where does Rolex go from here with the GMT-Master II after black and gray? That is hard to say because, frankly, Rolex is in a good position with the GMT-Master II in terms of popularity, sales, and updates. Rolex has other models to focus on right now that deserve novelty and attention, so it would surprise me if there was too much more novelty in GMT-Master II for a while. That is unless Rolex believes there is yet another hole to fill in the collection.

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The Rolex Daytona Le Mans Ref. 126529LN

You asked for it – you got it. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the Rolex Daytona Le Mans, ref. 126529LN, from me, an owner. You know, as I write this, I am trying to remember the last time I personally reviewed a watch on the site that I actually owned. It’s been a while – so this is kinda fun for me. And maybe it’ll become a thing – A Week On (An Owner’s) Wrist? Anyway – let’s talk Le Mans.

The other day, someone on our team asked me when the last time I was genuinely excited about a new watch was (excluding any Hodinkee limited editions, for which my excitement truly never wanes). In recent memory, there are a few that made me really happy: the AP 15202 BC, the 5270P, the Lange 1815 Rattrapante, and the Cartier Normale are a few that stick out. They are each absolutely killer watches that speak to me in every way: the aesthetic, the genetic, and the technical.
But there are two watches of recent history that made me think unholy thoughts. You know the type – if you’re afflicted with the watch disease like I am. They make you say to yourself, “I would do anything for this watch. Anything.” One of them is a small, precious metal time-only watch that looks like this. The other? Well, it’s the Rolex Daytona Le Mans ref. 126529LN.
They say that important happenings in the world leave marks on you that you don’t forget. Well, I remember exactly where I was the moment the news of this watch broke. I was here, shooting clays with some friends on a beautiful early summer Saturday. I can identify the date, too, because this watch wasn’t shown at Watches & Wonders 2023 like all the other new Rolex releases. No, it was dropped quietly (or not) at the 100th running of Le Mans.
And that’s what this watch is really about: Le Mans – a century of the world’s most important endurance race. And there’s actually some fun math to be had here. Last year, 2023, was the 100th anniversary, and 1963 – the year the reference 6239 pictured above was released – was the 40th anniversary. Perhaps that’s why Rolex first conceived of what we now know as the Daytona, as the Le Mans (as seen in my original advertisement above). However, Le Mans is more historic as a race, one might argue, and Rolex has been a part of it for generations. So it would make sense that this chronograph, indeed a Daytona, but also a Le Mans, would be shown at its 100th running.

So what is the watch, really? It’s basically a latest generation Daytona (easily identifiable by the metallic bezel ring first seen here at Watches and Wonders 2023), but with what some would call an “exotic” dial, or, in layman’s terms, a “Paul Newman” dial. Beyond that, you have an open caseback like the 2023 platinum watch, and I think, most importantly, an entirely different caliber (4132), which features a chronograph with a 24-hour counter instead of 12. It is a simple change but a meaningful one, and again, proof that Rolex isn’t resting on its laurels… ever. There are so many things to discuss on this watch – and that’s why you have a 20-minute video up top of me rambling about it. But let’s quickly run down some important points. First, there’s the open caseback, which makes the watch feel a bit thicker than my other Daytonas. But notice I said feel, and that’s because when I actually measured how thick the watch is, it’s not any thicker. So the whole “sapphire back = thicker profile” is a bit misguided, and my feeling is just that: a feeling, not fact.
The other thing to note about the caseback and the gold rotor is that this caliber really looks very, very nice. Does it compare to a hand-wound Patek or Lange chronograph caliber in terms of finishing? Certainly not, but that’s not the goal, nor are they priced the same. I think there is an assumption that Rolex calibers look industrial because that is how they are made, but as I told you almost 10 years ago when I went inside Rolex, you would be shocked at how much handwork is done on these movements. And the 4132 looks really good, as you can see here. You have deep Geneva stripes on the base plate, and the yellow-gold rotor is also finely finished.

And about that movement – the 4132 is a new caliber number, and indeed, it does do something different than the 4131 caliber found in every other Daytona –counting 24 hours instead of 12. Rolex says it needed seven additional components to accomplish this – which is to say, not a lot, but the deviation is significant for a few reasons. New Rolex calibers don’t happen often, and they also didn’t need to do this. Sure, it only took seven components to make that hour counter jump from 12 to 24 hours, but that should be commended – because Rolex is about efficiency, and it speaks to the quality and ingenuity of a Rolex caliber to be able to create what I believe to be one of, if not the only mechanical chronograph to count an elapsed full day (however I’d kindly encourage anyone to check us on this fact).

A 24-hour counter doesn’t seem like a big deal, and perhaps many will say no one else has made it because a 12-hour counter plus the human brain makes for a decent 24-hour counter – but the simple truth is that the same could be said for just about anything in high watchmaking. And Rolex did it, and they did it with a real purpose behind it – with an authentic connection to a 24-hour race in Le Mans. It’s also easy to write off the 24-hour counter as a diminutive contribution to watchmaking, but when you really consider how difficult it is to make chronographs, your mind might change a bit. As an example, look at the Patek Philippe catalog, and you won’t find a chronograph with any hour registers. The 5172 and 5270 – arguably among the finest chronographs in the world, top out at 30 minutes. Patek’s more utilitarian caliber in the 5905 tops out at 60 minutes of elapsed time. The Datograph? 30 minutes as well. You get the point.

Also, I am reminded of the Baselworld 2018, when many said the rainbow bezel was a trivial contribution to gem-setting in watchmaking (well, not Cara, she said the opposite), and look at the world now. As such, mark my words; we will see a few more 24-hour chronographs in the years to come. But like these other Rainbows, none will compare to the original in this Daytona. Another other thing to note here is that this dial is not the rich, almost glossy black you’ll see on a steel Daytona, but it’s almost metallic grey. There is a sheen to it I did not expect to see at all. It doesn’t make it better or worse, but it’s a detail you only see with the watch on your wrist – not often in photographs of it on the Internet. And as for the dial itself, we are really talking Paul Newman style here, with small square markers at the end of each totalizer’s hash marks in a way that I don’t think any of us saw coming.
Now, it’s important to know where the “Paul Newman” style dial lives in the lore of Rolex collectors because it’s something that gets thrown around a lot. First, as anyone will tell you, these special dials are fraught with challenges, but there is something undeniably cool about them. So much so that even today, years after watch collecting has entered the mainstream, they demand such a significant premium over a normal, non-exotic-dial Daytona. This can be hard to understand, particularly because we have no way of knowing which watches were born with which dial. But in the world of Rolex, so much of the value lives within the dial that it almost doesn’t matter. The most expensive Daytonas in the world, almost without fail, are those with this style of dial in them, and I wasn’t even referring to that $18 million Paul Newman Daytona. So it only makes sense that when Rolex finally brings out a contemporary Cosmograph with this style dial, the world would pay particular note. Of course, this watch is 18k white gold – not steel – in hopes of, perhaps, elevating the price point out of the realm of possibility so as to not exacerbate the already challenging supply issues (relative to the remarkable demand that Rolex watches

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RADO True Round Open Heart

Since the launch of the Diastar, the world’s first scratchproof watch made from ultra-resilient tungsten carbide in 1962, Rado has become a byword for high-tech materials, especially high-tech ceramic. In tune with the latest trend for skeletonisation, Rado has issued a host of openworked models, ranging from golden oldies like the Captain Cook and Diastar to more contemporary models like the True Square Open Heart. Four models of the brand’s True Round high-ceramic collection are the next in line for treatment and roll into surgery for an open-heart operation. Unlike its predecessors, the surgery is far less invasive, resulting in a dial that has not compromised legibility in the name of skeletonisation. Four models, including a limited edition, represent the new True Round Open Heart sub-collection. All four models share a monobloc 50m water-resistant high-tech ceramic case with a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 10.4mm.
Before we look at the watches, a brief word on high-tech ceramic. Lighter but harder than steel, high-tech ceramic is exceptionally resilient to scratches, is lightweight, and has a cool, silky texture that makes it very comfortable on the wrist. It is also a much more complicated material to produce, and as Robin points out in his in-depth article, a ceramic component takes at least two weeks to complete from start to finish. Ceramic can also be finished to a matte or mirror-like polish and will retain its impeccable lustre for years to come. If you’re interested, the weight of the True Round Open Heart is just 110.7 grams. Two of the non-limited models come in polished black or white high-tech ceramic cases, while the third is made of high-tech plasma ceramic. This is an even more complicated material to produce and is fired at temperatures of 20,000 ºC that alter its structure to create its liquid-metal sheen.
The Rado True Round Open Heart Limited Edition of 888 pieces also has a polished white high-tech ceramic case and bracelet but features a unique dichroic sapphire crystal over the dial. Dichroism is a term used in gemmology to describe the phenomenon of two colours emitted from different angles of a gemstone. The dichroic sapphire crystal over the dial changes colour under different lighting and viewing angles.
As far as skeletonised dials go, the Rado True Round Open Heart approach is less radical than the operations practised on the models mentioned in the first paragraph. This less invasive approach makes it easier to consult the time and might prove more attractive to those who are not big fans of skeletonised dials. Unlike the parallel bridges spanning the dial of the True Square, the Rado True Round Open Heart features a slightly off-centred figure eight cutout. Regarded as a symbol of infinity and a lucky number in China, the figure eight is supported by horizontal bridges and rests its top and bottom on the chapter ring.
To consult the time, the rose gold-coloured indices on the chapter ring and the tips of the hour and minute hands are treated with white Super-LumiNova. Compounding the sleek monochromatic look, the chapter ring matches the case colour. To draw the eye into the movement, the cutout areas on the dial are highlighted with rose gold-coloured bevels. The signature Rado moving anchor symbol hasn’t been left out and appears on the lower bridge. All four models have matching high-tech ceramic bracelets with a triple-folding titanium clasp.
The R734 automatic movement, with its sunray guilloché-style finishing and perlage, is visible on the dial side and also through the sapphire crystal on the titanium caseback. Based on the ETA Powermatic 80 calibre, this automatic movement has an anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring and a beefy 80-hour power reserve thanks to the reduced frequency of 3Hz and a reworked kinetic chain.

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Longines Hydroconquest GMT 43 Stainless Steel

Next to the vintage-inspired Legend Diver collection, the Longines HydroConquest GMT 43 is a more utilitarian, robust, classic diver, with water-resistance up to 300 metres, a unidirectional, external rotating bezel, a screw-in crown and a screw-down caseback. Following the introduction of the practical, versatile and mostly visually appealing Longines HydroConquest GMT 43 last year in a 41mm case, Longines now launches a larger 43mm version available either with a green, black or blue dial, and with several strap/bracelet options.
Essentially, this new version of the Longines HydroConquest GMT 43 shares all the characteristics of the 41mm version we saw about a year ago. The main change is related to its diameter, which now sits at 43mm. On one hand, this new, additional, larger watch feels a bit unexpected at a time when smaller watches are coming back in vogue. On the other hand, it is just an additional choice that will find its fans – Longines explains to us that there was demand from certain markets to have a larger diameter. And interestingly, it slightly changes the proportions of the case, making it visually thinner and more balanced, as it is still 12.90mm thick.
The stainless-steel case is still water resistant to 300m thanks to its screw-in crown and screwed caseback. The unidirectional rotating bezel, which is here equipped with a 60-minute scale, is fitted with a ceramic insert and a luminous dot. As such, the HydroConquest GMT lives up to its double vocation of a traveller’s and diving watch. Three dial options are available for this new 43mm size. The sunray-brushed dial is offered either in green, black or blue – the brown dial is exclusive to the 41mm edition for now. The indexes and hands are generously coated with Super-LumiNova for easy reading in all conditions. The date is displayed through the window at 3 o’clock.
Inside the watch (not visible under the solid back) is the automatic calibre L844.5. Exclusive to Longines, It is a true GMT (also known as a flyer or traveller’s GMT) movement as the local hour hand can be individually adjusted through the crown in one-hour increments. It beats at 25,200 vibrations/hour and boasts 72 hours of power reserve. It is fitted with a silicon hairspring and other anti-magnetic components to make it as reliable and robust as possible.
The Longines HydroConquest GMT 43 watch comes on a robust H-link steel bracelet. Just like the 41mm version, it is fitted with a safety folding clasp with a quick-adjust system/wetsuit extension. There is also a rubber strap option for the black and blue dial variants.

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GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL Serenade Luna

In honor of International Women’s Day 2024, Glashütte Original has unveiled a new women’s watch collection featuring an in-house movement and a moonphase on the dial. The brand new Glashütte Original Serenade Luna watch is available in four variations (but if you consider strap and bracelet options, there are actually seven references to choose from) including two unadorned steel versions, one in steel with diamonds, and one in red gold with diamonds.
Regardless of the material, all of the new-for-2024 Serenade Luna watches have petite 32.5mm round cases, which measure a slender 8.9mm in height. The polished bezels are either left as is or set with 48 diamonds. In addition, the diamond models include a rose-cut diamond set into the crown while the non-gem-set variants have a moonstone cabochon instead. Both sides of the cases are furnished with sapphire crystals and the Glashütte Original Serenade Luna watch are water-resistant to 30 meters.
The stainless steel Serenade Luna watches are available with either sunray blue or white mother-of-pearl dials. In contrast, the steel and diamond model is exclusively paired with a white mother-of-pearl dial. The most lavish of the new Glashütte Original Serenade Luna watch collection is the 18k red gold and diamond model, home to a golden green sunray dial. All of the Serenade Luna dials include white-gold applied hour markers embellished with 20 brilliant-cut diamonds. At the 6 o’clock position is the framed circular moonphase display — a specialty complication of Glashütte Original — where an iridescent mother-of-pearl moon rises into a star-studded night sky.
Driving the moonphase display, and the trio of hands at the center of the dial, is a brand-new movement designed especially for this timepiece, Caliber 35-14. The Caliber 35-14 is a self-winding movement that ticks away at 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz) and supplies 60 hours of power reserve to the Glashütte Original Serenade Luna watch. According to Glashütte Original, up to 95% of all of its movement components are produced in its workshops in the Saxon town of Glashütte, Germany. The beautifully finished movement can be viewed via the transparent caseback, dominated by the dramatic 18k red gold rotor (a first for the brand) engraved with a fine shell pattern.
The stainless steel models are offered with matching polished stainless steel bracelets or blue Louisiana alligator leather straps whereas the red-gold Glashütte Original Serenade Luna watch is fitted with a green Louisiana alligator strap that matches the golden-green dial. The watches benefit from a quick-change mechanism for easy strap switches.
Although these are all clearly dressier watches, I do like the variation in formality; the all-steel version with the blue dial and three-link bracelet is on the sportier end of things (my personal pick out of all of them) whereas the golden green execution is unabashedly opulent and ready for a swanky night out on the town.

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The Rolex ‘Hulk’ Submariner Ref. 116610LV

For every watch enthusiast or watch lover, there are always two points in time worth remembering. The first point is when you were a normal functioning human being who just so happened to have an intellectual or emotional curiosity in watches. Maybe you wore the same Timex or G-Shock every day, maybe there was an heirloom Rolex, Omega, Cartier, Hamilton, Tissot, or Seiko in your life that meant a lot to you. Perhaps you cherished that watch and figured you knew a thing or two about these horological objects.

Then comes the point where that curiosity turns into a slow-building obsession. You began coming to sites like Hodinkee with increasing frequency. You started reading about watches called Ressence, MB&F, Urwerk, and Greubel Forsey and soon realized, “Shit, there’s a lot more to this than I thought.” But your own taste in watches always maintained as the obsession grew.

Since many of us are so far down the rabbit hole that it’s hard to remember who we were before we became that guy at a party quick to give a tip to a friend who absentmindedly muttered the word Rolex. “You definitely want to look at [insert watch here]. This watch has [insert historical anecdote here]. The truth is there’s just a ton of value with this one, you’ll never lose money on it – it’s better than the stock market!” We can’t help ourselves.

Okay, so maybe you don’t take things that far. But for some of us, we remember the days before watch enthusiasm crossed into the mainstream before our tastes were shaped by the sheer fact that a watch was unattainable – back in the days when we could freely have independent taste unshackled from the group think on Instagram and beyond.

One specific memory that comes to mind for me is a trip I took to Paris with my family in 2014. My father, who lived there as a teenager when his father was in the Foreign Service, was celebrating his 50th high school reunion. I was in my mid-20s and had firmly crossed the line into watch obsession to the point where my own selfish preparations for the trip involved scouting watch boutiques and vintage watch dealers just to see all the models I had only read about in the pages of Hodinkee.

What I was really after at that time was a Rolex GMT-Master II with blue and black bezel – what would go on to become the Batman. It had only recently been released art Baselworld a year earlier and I had my heart set on at least seeing one. It must have been the first or second proper day of the trip and I found myself in a Rolex AD, where I asked about the GMT. Bear in mind, this was just before the Rolex frenzy properly began. But a watch like the Batman was still new enough and popular enough that my efforts were in vain.

“I am sorry but we do not have this in the store, but hold on one second, I will show you something,” the specialist said to me. She returned with what many call a “coffin,” which is basically the plastic case that Rolex watches are delivered into the ADs. They are then removed from plastic and styrofoam before being transferred to the showcase or a box if someone ends up purchasing it.

She shows me this box, with a Rolex watch tightly concealed beneath the plastic. “Do you know what this is?” she asked me almost tantalizingly. And I did know. It was a Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV, also known as the Hulk because of its bright green bezel and matching dial.

I think about this moment a lot because the watch world has changed so very much in the 10 years since that moment took place. Within three years from then, waitlists and grey market shenanigans became commonplace as secondary market pricing would turn objects of affection into that of investments.

Had I walked into that store circa 2019, would my reaction have been different? It’s honestly hard for me to say. I mean, I do know myself and I never would have purchased a Submariner with intentions to turn around and sell it. But I cannot be sure that I would not have purchased it in place of a Batman simply because I understood the scarcity.

But in 2014, I was guided by nothing more than what I was after. And I would eventually track down and purchase a Rolex GMT-Master II Batman (you can read my story about that watch here). I write all of this preamble and personal meditation because I distinctly remember a time in Rolex fandom when it was basically Hulk vs. Batman when it came to hype models in the broader collection (sure the ceramic Daytona too, but that was effectively unobtanium from the jump).

I had a good friend who owned the Hulk, and there was a time when I had my own obsession with it. The Submariner is a model near and dear to my heart. As I have covered several times here on the ‘Dink, my father’s 1982 5513 was sort of the archetypal watch in my memory. Then at a very young age I came into possession of my grandfather’s ref. 5513 Submariner (which is on my wrist as I pen this essay). There was something different enough about the Hulk that I could make it make sense to own it and my 5513: green dial, green bezel, and date complication.

Speaking of which, I have done a good deal of emotional and philosophical explication without really digging into the nuts and bolts of the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV. Let’s first get into its origins. The watch was released at Baselworld 2010, when Rolex completely revamped the Submariner Date line in steel to match some major aesthetic changes it had made to the watch in both full gold and two-tone executions. This is when we saw Rolex do away with its classical proportions in favor of the “super case” with new maxi dial and use of Cerachrom for the bezel.