September saw plenty of new watches, but let’s not kid ourselves: Rolex stole the show. 2020, the year of the coronavirus, was also the same year Rolex decided to update its legendary Submariner. The changes, as you’d expect, are subtle and incremental, but at the same time, somehow, also significant and profound. The Submariner aside, Rolex also revamped its Oyster Perpetual lineup. We are going to take a look at all these and more in this roundup.
1. HANDS-ON: ROLEX SUBMARINER ‘NO DATE’ 124060 WATCH FOR 2020
Is there going to be a bigger and more important new watch this year than the brand new Submariner? No, I don’t think so. Twelve years after the first ceramic Submariner appeared, Rolex has finally updated what is arguably its most iconic watch. The new model has a slightly larger case and, perhaps more importantly, thinner and more elegant lugs. It also gets a new movement in the form of the Caliber 3230 with a Chronergy escapement. I’m not sure about the larger case size, but I certainly welcome the thinner lugs if it succeeds in making it look less like a square block on the wrist. What do you think? Has Rolex succeeded with this new design?
2. ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL 41 124300 WATCHES DEBUT FOR 2020
Submariner aside, Rolex also gave the Oyster Perpetual lineup a thorough refresh. The Oyster Perpetual is the entry point to the world of Rolex sports watches. Gone is the 39mm case, and in its place is a new 41mm model. Larger case aside, it will also be available in no fewer than seven dial colors, including some striking options like Coral Red, Green, and Yellow. It’s very unlike Rolex. It’s got a new movement too. It shares the same movement as the new Submariner, so it’s the Calibre 3230 with new Chronergy escapement and 70-hour power reserve. Again, I’m not sold on the case size. It’s a bigger jump going from 39mm to 41mm than the Submariner. That said, those new dial colors are very tempting.
3. WE ORDERED $56,000 IN WATCHES FROM FIVE SWISS E-BOUTIQUES. HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
Adapt or die, that’s what the pandemic has forced businesses to do. For the watch industry, this means quickly adopting e-commerce, which means online shopping. This has been something that many Swiss brands have resisted. I’m sure they have their reasons, but the simple fact of the matter is that unless they adopt this, their sales will take a bigger hit than they already have. To find out what it’s like buying online, we decided to go online ourselves and buy five new watches from Breitling, Chopard, Hublot, Parmigiani, and Omega. Hit the link below to find out how it went.
4. GRAND SEIKO DEBUTS WORLD’S FIRST CONSTANT FORCE TOURBILLON IN NEW T0 CONCEPT MOVEMENT
This announcement is equal parts impressive and curious. Let’s talk about the impressive part first. This is the T0, a concept caliber by Grand Seiko, that features a constant force mechanism and tourbillon. Now, tourbillons with constant force mechanisms aren’t new. But this is different because Grand Seiko is claiming a maximum deviation of just +0.5/-0.5 seconds a day. Bear in mind that COSC certification requires a maximum deviation of +6/-4 seconds and you’ll begin to appreciate the precision of this movement. Now, while that’s all impressive, the curious bit is that this is just a concept for now and hasn’t found its way into an actual watch. Grand Seiko, for their part, hasn’t said anything about a watch as well. Hopefully, this finds its ways into an actual production watch sometime in the future. Doing so will certainly boost Grand Seiko’s standing in the realm of haute horology.
5. TISSOT T-TOUCH CONNECT SOLAR WATCH & INTERVIEW WITH CEO SYLVAIN DOLLA
Does the overwhelming popularity of the Apple Watch mean the Swiss are ready to roll over and give up? Well, not just yet, because the Swatch has just spent the last four or so years and millions of dollars to develop their own connected watch platform, and we had the chance to preview it in the new Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar Watch. To be sure, this isn’t a direct rival to the Apple Watch. No, Tissot and Swatch are instead focusing their efforts on what they do best and that’s creating a product that is of high quality and with longevity. They want the watch to be working 10 years down the road, which is something that cannot be said for the overwhelming majority of other smartwatches in the market.