Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Jean-Frédéric Dufour Double-Wristing at Watches and Wonders

At Watches and Wonders

In a rare media moment during Watches and Wonders, Rolex CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour allowed the Swiss television to film him as he sat down with Georges Dubois, a Geneva watchmaker almost 103 years old who worked under Hans Wilsdorf. 

Jean-Frédéric Dufour: So you worked [for Rolex]?
Georges Dubois: In '41. 

Dufour: In 1941! How many employees were there back then? 

Dubois: About 15. There were only one atelier

Dufour: Can you imagine, we are now 15,000! 

Dubois: That's crazy. Crazy! 

News narrator: Usually Jean-Frédéric Dufour stays away from the cameras. But he decided to make an exception today because Georges Dubois worked with Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf. 

Dubois: When Mr. Wilsdorf would walk in, he'd say, "Gentlemen My Watchmakers!" 

[Dufour repeats: "Messieurs Mes Horlogers!"]. 

Dubois: I think that was very nice of him. 

We can see Dufour double-wristing with an OP on the left wrist and the new, hyper-rare, off-catalog Daytona Le Mans in gold on his right wrist. See the full news segment here

Monday, April 15, 2024

New Rolex Yellow Gold Deepsea 136668LB



 Rolex Mixes Precious Metal

With Extreme Engineering

By Danny Crivello

Is it a matter of opinion
Or just a contradiction
But from where I come from
All the blondes have more fun

—Rod Stewart "Blondes (Have More Fun)"

I've written how it seems Rolex is having more fun with its novelties, a trend that has become obvious when it introduced color OPs, Palm motif dials, left-crown GMTs and Emoji Day-Dates recently. 

This year I feel the new full-gold Deepsea is the latest sign Rolex is having fun, creating a great contrast with the monochromatic GMT in its basic metal also released at Watches and Wonders this year.
When I asked Rolex whether we should consider the full-gold Deepsea a fun piece, a rep for the Crown told me: "Outside the Deepsea Challenge, it is our most waterproof piece, our largest piece, our heaviest piece and our most visible piece. So, yes, it is a bit of a pied de nez.

But Rolex also told me this release was about wanting to create something unexpected and unconventional.

"Of course, to offer a piece in full yellow gold, with a blue dial, a blue bezel, a blue Ringlock is more fun and more visible," Rolex said. "But then again, we've always tried out different colors, different materials and we've often used yellow gold. It has always made for very visible pieces. We wanted to enrich the Deepsea line for all tastes, all aspirations."

The Deepsea line is being enriched more than ever, and it's not just because of the material used: For the first time, the Deepsea has been pulled from the Sea-Dweller line and is a standalone collection in the Rolex catalog.

At 320g, or 11.3 oz, the gold Deepsea is Rolex's heaviest watch. And at 44mm and a thickness of 17.7mm, the Deepsea can go to depths fatal to humans: 12,800 feet, or 3,900m. 

The gold Deepsea is the piece of all extremes, and it is a piece with three colors and three materials, a rare design concept for the Maison: yellow gold, blue ceramic, grey titanium (the RLX titanium is used for the caseback and the helium escape valve).

The blue ceramic is not just for the bezel. This new version incorporates a technical innovation never seen before at Rolex: the compression ring within the Ringlock system, which allows the watch to withstand pressure at extreme depth, is made from ceramic.

As a reminder, the Ringlock system is a patented case architecture developed by Rolex which has three elements: a thick sapphire crystal (5.5mm), a high-performance compression ring to withstand the water pressure, and a case back in titanium. 

The compression ring was in steel in previous versions; in this gold version, it is made in blue ceramic, a first for this component. It is the first time Rolex is using ceramic inside the case and not just on the outside.
When I asked Rolex why specifically ceramic, the rep told me using ceramic for the compression ring had little to with durability though durability was part of the equation. Rolex's goal was to have a complete uniform color for the bezel, for the dial and for the ring lock system, a first for the brand.
"We had to find a material that met not only the esthetical requirements  — to have that blue — but also the technical requirements to resist water pressure to 3,900m. With much R&D and testing we found that it was ceramic that met all those requirements best."

This release is exemplifying what the Crown has always been good at: mixing jewelry with patented innovation. Mixing celebration with adventure. Mixing precious metal with extreme engineering. To paraphrase Cyndi Lauper, Rolex just wants to have fun!

—Danny Crivello

Thank you, Clément Entretempsfor the shot

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tudor Black Bay Chrono Pink Dial


Black Bay Chrono

"Barbie" Pink Dial

Tudor surprised everybody by introducing this magnificently beautiful new Tudor Black Bay Chronograph with a gorgeous "Barbie" pink dial. I am so impressed with this new model, I am giving it the Editors' Choice Award for BEST OF SHOW at Watches and Wonders 2024.

Tudor does not formally refer to this color as being "Barbie" pink, and I admit that I have not seen the recently released Barbie movie, but I am nicknaming this watch "The Barbie Tudor Chronograph" as it sure looks Barbie-like to me.

Pretty In Pink

David Beckham

Legendary Soccer Superstar and Tudor Brand Ambassador is pictured below rocking the all-new Tudor Black Bay Chronograph with a pink dial, and it looks super RAD!!!!! Speaking of "Barbie" pink, as a society many people believe that pink is only a feminine color, and that it's not for men, but I would argue the opposite, in the sense that pink can look great on men, particularly as an accent color. There is something REALLY FRESH looking about the color pink...

Cameron Barr from Craft and Tailored took the photo below at the Tudor Pavilion at Watches and Wonders 2024, in Geneva Switzerland. This is probably the single most interesting novelty launched by Rolex and Tudor this past week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Live Rolex Coverage from Watches and Wonders 2024

Live Rolex Coverage from
Watches and Wonders 2024

Cameron and I had the opportunity to chat just after his meeting with Rolex on Press Day at Watches and Wonders, and we recorded the following video.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Grey & Black GMT Bezel

Grey & Black GMT Bezel
A New Point of Differentiation

Rolex introduced a new GMT-Master bezel insert model variant today at Watches and Wonder—in Geneva, Switzerland—which features a Black and Grey Bezel insert. When a bezel features a 50/50 split bezel like the Rolex GMT-Master historically has, it is commonly referred to as a First Quarter Moon bezel design.

My best guess is Rolex created this color combination as a potential replacement for the standard all black GMT-Master bezel insert they discontinued several years ago. I assume this model is for people who prefer a much more subtle and low-key color combination, as apposed to the much bolder, colorful, popping Pepsi, Batman, and Sprite GMT-Master Models. 

It is worth noting the all-black bezel Rolex GMT-Master was the very first Rolex model to be introduced with a ceramic bezel insert, which was introduced in 2005. That first model was a yellow gold GMT-Master II Reference 116718. 

Next, Rolex came out with the all-black Cerachrom bezel on the stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master  Reference 116710LN. After Rolex introduced the new stainless steel "Pepsi" GMT-Master with the red and blue bezel, the surprised everyone by discontinuing the all black bezel GMT-Master, and now we might have a clue as to why:

I remember talking with T. Walker Lloyd, back in 2008, who was a former long time Rolex USA employee, and he said that back in the mid to late 1960s that many commercial airline pilots complained about the Pepsi GMT-Master saying it didn't look serious, or looked too Fisher-Price, which explains why Rolex eventually introduced a black bezel GMT-Master variant around 1967-1968. 

The great challenge with the all black dial GMT-Master is that it looked so similar to the Submariner, that it regularly confused customers at retail, in a "You can have any color you want, as longs as it is black, kind of way". 

Also, for many years the GMT-Master had a much smaller winding crown than the Submariner, but with the advent of the Reference 116710LN family they showed up with clad with supercases—and more importantly—the exact same JUMBO Big Crown, winding crown that the Submariner models historically featured, so now more than ever they looked almost like identical twins. 

The image below appears courtesy of Bob's Watches and shows how similar the Submariner and all black Rolex GMT-Master Bezel Insert looked several years ago, when they both had supercases and Big Crowns.

As uneventful as a grey and black bezel insert may seem, it appears Rolex finally found a way to create a meaningful point-of-differentiation with this new model, that now lives up to the purpose of a split in half bezel insert whereby the top hours represent nighttime and the bottom represents daytime. Basically, Rolex discontinued the all black GMT-Master bezel model years ago, and have now replaced it with the black and grey bezel variant as pictured in this story.

I recently was talking with Captain Danny about the new GMT-Master and he said he was surprised that Rolex has not yet replaced the SuperCase with the much more old-school, streamlined case like Rolex updated with the the Single Red SEA-DWELLER as well as with the newest Submariner, which is a pretty profound point.


My understanding is Rolex used to have a physical museum located in Geneva that was open to the public. If memory serves me correctly, it was located in a home in Geneva. One day, many years ago, Rolex closed the museum and moved all of its contents into a private museum collection in Geneva, located in Rolex's private archives. For years, I have wished Rolex would created a new Rolex museum, similar to the Patek Philippe Museum, located in Geneva, Switzerland, which is a masterpiece in and of itself. If you are ever in Geneva, be sure to visit the Patek Philippe Museum.

I can see the future Rolex Museum in my minds eye. It would be located in Downtown Geneva, on Lake Geneva, and the building would be in the shape of an enormous Rolex five point crown. The bottom of the crown would contain the museum itself, and would be similar to the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Visitors would take an elevator up to the top floor, then descend down a continuous circular ramp, and see exhibition pieces all over the wall. 

The center of the building would be open so you could see the roof from any place in the museum, and there would be a basement floor that would have a large pool that looks like an ocean, and it would have Jacques-Yves Cosuteau's Calypso sitting in in, where visitors could come on board and explore the great ship. There would be a coffee store/cafe in the basement that would constantly bake cinnamon buns, so the entire Rolex Museum would smell great. The five circles of the Rolex Coronet crown would have meeting rooms, for special Rolex events and training.

Unfortunately my idea does not exist yet, but at Watches and Wonders 2024, Rolex put together what appears give us a glimpse into what an actual Rolex Museum might look like. The superb image below appears courtesy of Jason Heaton, via our Captain Danny's Coronet Rolex blog and shows the Rolex GMT-Master Exhibition.

People have already come up with nicknames for the new GMT-Model including The Dark Knight, and the Bruce Wayne. I think what is MUCH more interesting was the super cool Rolex GMT-Master History Exhibition, which is open to all attendees as I understand it. Cameron from Craft and Tailored took all these superb photos of the GMT-Master Exhibition so we can get an idea of what it looks like.

Rolex also showcased many historically significant Rolex GMT-Master models, including the one below that belonged to one of the early pioneering Pan Am Pilots. 

Our Captain Danny discovered this watch when he was doing research to bring the 1958 Rolex Magazine ad pictured above to life. Danny assisted the daughter of Captain Clarence 'Jooj'. Warren to bring her father's Rolex GMT-Master to auction and apparently Rolex bought it for their private collection as we witness below.

Cameron took the photo below that showcased the history of the differently Rolex GMT-Master Movements begging back in 1955, and moving up to current date.

The image below Shows the raw material elements that make up the pigments and ceramic material that Rolex refines into their Pepsi Bezel insert, which is totally fascinating!!!

Rolex put together this super cool all-new Rolex GMT-Master History video that offers some significant Rolex History puzzle pieces, which is really cool.

NASA Apollo Astronaut, Stuart Roosa took this super cool photo of his Pepsi GMT-Master aboard the Apollo 14 Mission and profoundly wrote "MY GMT MASTER 200,000 MILES FROM GENEVA" —Stuart Roosa, APOLLO 14".

Rolex Novelties for Watches and Wonders 2024

Rolex Novelties for
Watches and Wonders 2024

Rolex just dropped this video that shows off many of the novelties recently unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2024 in Geneva!!!

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

Tudor continues to impress by surprising us with a Coke bezel GMT model that harkens back and takes cues from the 1958 Rolex GMT-Master. This model looks so cool and fresh!!!

Below are Live Photos from Cameron Barr from Craft and Tailored.