New Rolex Models of 2022

It’s no question that 2022 has been a crazy year so far, from record high inflation in the United States to Covid-19 and the tragic War in Ukraine. While the geopolitical tensions have certainly been high this year, there is a small slice of positivity happening during these unprecedented times, and that’s the annual Watches and Wonders Conference that is happening in Geneva, Switzerland. During 2020 and 2021, this conference was primarily held digitally due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, but finally after two long years, the party was back.  With over 39 brands in attendance including Rolex, Tudor, Patek Phillippe, Cartier, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, and many others, this conference certainly will bring all kinds of new releases into the incredible world of luxury timepieces. Being that there are so many brands in attendance and a ton of new innovations are going to be presented, today we will focus specifically on Rolex. We’re gonna discuss some of the new models that Rolex introduced and how they differ from past models.

Rolex Air-King 126900


Image from Bark and Jack YouTube Channel

First off, we will break down arguably the least popular of all of the new Rolex releases, the Rolex Air-King 126900. One thing about this new model that jumps out is how Rolex decided to change how they numbered the dial. In the prior year, the number five on the dial was shown on the timepiece as just “5”, while this year it is shown as “05”. One may wonder why Rolex would make this change when the extra “0” seems so insignificant, but the reason Rolex made this change was for the sake of symmetry. In design, it’s a widely accepted principle that symmetry equals beauty, so it makes perfect sense why Rolex would go this route. It’s also a differentiator for Rolex because this design is not common in the watch world, so it will be interesting to see if this new symmetrical dial design ends up going mainstream. The casing is also different too as it has straight edges that look more like a Submariner as opposed to the rounded edges like a DateJust.

Rolex Day-Date 228236


Image from Bark and Jack YouTube Channel

Next, we’ll break down the new Rolex Day-Date 228236. For this model, the biggest change that we saw was it featured a 950 Platinum fluted bezel, which was the very first time this had ever been done by Rolex. No small accomplishment, this design had taken years of research to create the perfect fluting to the “noblest of metals” (cite Rolex). This is a big change when compared to the 2021 Day-Date because the previous year’s Day-Date featured a round bezel even though both casings were still made of platinum. Outside of the bezel, there’s not really too many changes to the Day-Date. It still has the icy-blue dial, the roman numeral dial numbers, and it’s the exact same size as the previous model.

Rolex GMT Master II 126720 VTNR


Image from Bark and Jack YouTube Channel

To continue, we will move on to the new GMT Master 126720 VTNR. This new model might have been the most controversial of all the new releases. The changes here are obvious, the crown and the date wheel are placed on the left side of the timepiece, a rare nod to the 10% of the population who are left-handed. This is a brand new case design by Rolex, and it has received very mixed reviews. Some right-handed collectors actually like the idea because the crown won’t be pushing on the top of their hand. From that perspective, this new design could actually end up being a huge hit and could influence the way watch designs are considered going forward. On the other hand (lol), the dissenters don’t love this design because they feel it looks “upside-down”. They don’t want to wear a watch that looks like it was made for someone who was left-handed and they are adamantly opposed to the design. Only time will tell how this model will play out. In addition to the crown and date window being shifted to the left, the color also saw a change as well to a black and green combination. The previous color combinations saw the Rolex “Pepsi” with the red and black combo and the Rolex “Batman” with the black and blue combo. Some people have joked and said this new black and green color combo should be called the Rolex “Green Lantern”, but it remains to be seen how the luxury timepiece crowd will react to this new model. So far we have also seen the word “sprite” thrown around, but we think that should be reserved for a green/yellow dial.  

Rolex Yacht-Master 226658


Image from Bark and Jack YouTube Channel

To follow, we have the new Yacht-Master 42. This new model contrasts with last year’s model in that it is made out of yellow gold as opposed to the white gold of the previous year. Outside of a color change, everything else is pretty much the same as the previous model such as the 42-millimeter casing, the Oysterflex rubber bracelet, the same 3235 caliber movement, ect. The Yacht-Master has traditionally been an extremely popular timepiece in the industry and this new model will most likely experience a similar level of success. 

Which Models will be Discontinued?

The tricky part here is that Rolex doesn’t formally announce what is going to get discontinued. What that means is in order to figure out what has been discontinued, one basically has to work to figure it out for themselves. One thing that can be noted is Rolex has reduced their offering of their 41 millimeter Oyster Perpetual, most notably is the Tiffany dial. If Rolex does indeed discontinue the Oyster Perpetual Tiffany dial, you can expect the price to skyrocket on this timepiece even more than it already did after the Patek Phillippe Tiffany dial sold at auction for $6.5 million. Another model that could be discontinued is the GMT Master II “Batman”. The reasoning behind this proposition is that since Rolex introduced the new GMT Master II with the green and black dial, this could theoretically happen because Rolex is limited to how many units they can manufacture at the moment. The key here to remember is that this is all speculation, so please don’t read these possibilities as timepiece investing advice.

Conclusion

    The Watches and Wonders Conference has just started yet a lot has already happened. We have seen Rolex introduce some new models, including Rolex Air-King 126900, Day-Date 228236, Yacht-Master 42, and more. As with every year, when new models come in, certain models get discontinued. Only time will truly tell how the new models do and which do end up getting discontinued. 



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