Baselworld 2019's Launch of the New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 mm

The Rolex Datejust is the flagship product which Rolex is primarily known for.  The standard Oyster shape case is the design that the world has come to love and respect - making a Rolex, well, a Rolex.  It might seem hard to feel excited about the Datejust.  It just has a date aperture after all, right?  It isn't built for climbing like the Explorer, or for multiple time zones like the GMT Master II, or built for deep sea diving like the Submariner series.  It doesn't have the intense complexity of the President's Day Date or the Daytona. 

So, why should we stand up and applaud the new Datejust with a thunderous ovation and praise?  Think of the Datejust as a timeless dedication to perfection.  Just as you would applaud a married couple that announced their 50 year anniversary and dedication to each other, the DateJust and its creaters deserve adoration for their dedication to the perfection of the Datejust line.  The Datejust is fast approaching its 75th year since its first release in 1945.  So many models, enhancements, and options have appeared since the first launch nearly 3/4 a century ago. 

The current Datejusts are available in 28 mm, 31 mm, 34 mm, 36 mm and 41 mm.  There are many bezel options, metal options, and dial options.  Too many to cover in even a dozen articles. 

Today we are going to look at the new Rolex Datejust reference 126200, which is one of the lowest costing new Rolex models made today, starting at a mere $6800.  If you want to start your collection with a solid timepiece with the superior quality of Rolex on your wrist, this is the one to consider. Built from 904L steel, this timepiece is built to last.  It is resistant to corrosion, and can maintain its beauty even in the harshest environments. 

I had a tough decision when deciding on dial options.  Brad Pitt obviously thinks that only black dials are masculine enough to wear out and about.  However, there is something more subtle and demure with the white dial.  Add to that the classic elegance of the Roman numeral hour markers. 

This Rolex Datejust reference 126200 has a domed bezel, an Oystersteel bracelet and all the normal bells and whistles you expect with a Rolex - such as the scratch-resistant sapphire, cyclops lens over the date window and screw-down waterproofness system built into the winding crown. 

The new features of this Datejust include the carefully crafted calibre 3235.  This is a new-generation self-winding movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, combining 14 patents.  The new Datejust offers improvements in  precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. It incorporates the new Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference. 

The most notable enhancement is the added power reserve.  This new Rolex calibre 3235 can hold a charge for up to 70 hours which allows the owner to remove the timepiece on a Friday night and put it back on on Monday morning without having to set the time.  This is a perfect work timepiece.  It would look fine doing whatever you do - from blue collar work to the board room, you could be proud and secure knowing that the best timepiece in the world is on your wrist at a price tag that almost anyone can afford.

What's New with the Rolex GMT Master II?

The New GMT Master II
The Rolex GMT Master was initially designed to help airline pilots as they traveled across timezones.  It was adopted as the official watch of Pan American World Airways.  It was also worn by the Concorde test piolots Brian Trubshaw and Andre Turcat during the 1960's.  The ability to track two timezones at once is not only a feature that help pilots, but world travelers such as businessmen, sports icons, and celebrities that need to keep a handle on both their home turf and their temporary stay at whatever city they are visiting today.

The nearly scratchproof bidirectional ceramic rotatable bezel is marked with a 24 hour clock with moulded gold or platinum for the numerals.  A red hour 2nd hour hand with a big triangular end marks the 2nd time zone hourly time.  This is a beautiful timepiece and it has been at the forefront of the finest Rolex watchmaking utilizing 10 patents filed over the course of the development.

There are several other color options available today.  Besides the Pepsi, there is a Blue and Black bezel option ("Batman"), and a black and brown bezel that looks spectacular on the Rolesor and all gold models. The 40 mm Oyster case is used throughout the models.  However, there is a new White Gold GMT-Master II that sports an Oyster bracelet. The all black bezel has been discontinued, as has the Oyster bracelet on the steel GMT.

This version of the GMT Master II has the Pepsi bezel with Blue and Red coloring helping to indicate day and night hours.  It also is displayed with a Jubilee bracelet which was introduced in 2018 built out of Oystersteel.  It is water resistant to 330 feet and utilizes a Triplock triple waterproofness system, along with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

The new Calibre 3285 that powers the new GMT Master II gives gains in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism, while increasing reliability.  The Calibre 3285 incorporates the Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference.

The movement is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring its regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance.

The Calibre 3285 is equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.

The biggest features of the GMT Master is utility and reliability.  With the new 70 hours of power reserve, this makes the GMT even more useful to travelers who will have nearly 3 days of power reserve. Although there aren't too many new features on the new GMT Master II, the enhanced Calibre 3285 is well worth it and is significant enough of a change to warrant grand applause for the Rolex artists that continually tweak their nearly perfect artform to make it even better.

The New Features of the Rolex Presidents Day Date 36mm

The Rolex Presidents Day Date 36 mm isn't the first release of the timepiece in that case size.  Besides 36 mm it is also available in 40 mm and at one time it was released as a 41 mm.  The 36 mm is sizable but certainly lighter than the 40 mm.  It is a quality size that can fit most men and women alike.

The biggest difference in the new 36 mm is the newly upgraded caliber 3255 which is similar to the new 3235 and 3285 released in the Datejust and GMT Master II, respectively.  It has a Chronergy escapement, a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.  This new set of caliber's are more precise and are less susceptible to forces such as magnets or shocks.  The enhanced power reserve is the most noticeable feature for owners of this timepiece.  At 70 hours of power reserve, it is closing in quickly to a full 3 days of power reserve - nearly a third of improvement over the previous caliber.

If you have read the Chronicle for any period of time, you know that the Day Date is clearly one of my favorite Rolex timepieces.  I believe it is because it is like a monument to horological excellence, being the first to combine both the Date aperture with the day of the week spelled out.  This is uniquely useful to executives who are often so busy that it becomes easy to get lost in the mire of the day to day and forget what day you are currently residing in.  The day appears at the 12 o'clock position which is symmetrical.  Some day-dates of other timepieces have located the day in other parts of the dial, which don't seem to be appropriately placed.

The Day Date is one of the finest examples of luxury in the Rolex lineup.  The Day Date 36 is only available in   Yellow Gold, Everose Gold, and White Gold.  Some steel versions were made during the initial design phase, but this is not a "Steel" appropriate timepiece.  There are many versions but the Green Dial version of the Day Date is sensational.  It has baguette cut diamonds at the 6 and 9 o'clock positions and diamond hour markers at the other hour positions with the exception of 3 and 12 o'clock where the day of the week & 2 digit date apertures appear.

I prefer the yellow gold reference 128238 to all the other colors available.  However, the white gold version reference 128349 RBR with 52 cut diamonds around the bezel, pink opal dial and Roman numerals is an exceptional timepiece.  Although I don't exactly find myself attracted to the chocolate dial and 18 ct pink gold of the reference 128235, there is no question that many people will.

The new Day Date 36 is waterproof to 330 feet, and is fitted with an exquisite President's Bracelet.  The Rolex site gives you the option to configure your own Presidents Day Date with various gold color options, bezel choices and dial color options.

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