A Sneak Peek At Two Of Rolex’s Most Anticipated New Watches

Always in search of the latest and greatest timepieces, the Long’s Jewelers team travelled From Boston to Geneva for Watches & Wonders to bring you the first look at Rolex’s newest releases. For the 2022 edition of the watch fair, Rolex introduced a carefully curated collection that put a new spin on two of its most beloved watches, the Oyster Perpetual Air-King and Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II. Long’s president Craig Rottenberg reviewed these much talked about timepieces and shares his insights on their particular appeal to local watch enthusiasts.

First of all, the Air-King has always paid tribute to the pioneers of aviation and invites wearers to likewise explore new heights. For 2022, Rolex has introduced innovations such as a completely redesigned case with a crown guard while incorporating the straight sides seen in the majority of the brand’s Professional category models. The fit and feel of the Oyster bracelet has also been revisited, most notably with a broader centre link. And, for the first time for this model, the bracelet comes equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp.

 

The next generation Air-King display has also been optimized with the addition of a ‘0’ before the ‘5’ on the minutes scale. Each five-minute interval is now marked by two digits. In addition, the 2022 edition provides maximum legibility even in the darkest conditions thanks to the use of exclusive-to-Rolex Chromalight. The hands and triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock and the 3, 6 and 9 numerals (which were previously made from 18 ct white gold) are now coated with this luminescent material for a long-lasting, intense glow.

I’m always amazed how several small, new details can lead to a big change overall,” says Craig. “I loved the new Air-King and I think the innovations made a great watch even greater. It just felt a little more “perfect” on my wrist.”

The design of this model also emphasizes how versatile the Air-King is. “It’s a classic look for New England and such a versatile timepiece that can you can wear to work all week then more casually all weekend long.” Craig adds, “it is also so immediately identifiable as a Rolex, which is part of the appeal.”

Another big part of the Rolex appeal is its reliability. To ensure that the new-generation Air-King works as well as it looks, it is powered by calibre 3230, a mechanism at the cutting edge of watchmaking technology. And for extra assurance, Oyster Perpetual Air-King carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures top timekeeping performance.

The legendary Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II was also represented at Watches & Wonders. This professional tool watch is most famous for its bi-colored bezels, but this year Rolex introduced a left-handed model which was the toast of Geneva.

 

This original and unexpected take on the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II also emphasizes Rolex’s commitment to discovery and reinterpretation. Because the GMT-Master II is a true tool watch, the brand is always evolving the timepiece for top professional performance. In fact, when Rolex unveiled the GMT-Master II in 1982, it created a whole new movement that allowed the hour hand to be set independently of the other hands.

This latest iteration makes the GMT-Master II more accessible by placing the crown and crown guard to the left side of the watch case. This change seems simple but was a technical challenge for the Rolex team. For example, the date aperture and the Cyclops lens were moved to appear at 9 o’clock instead of 3. And the whole precision testing process for some of the final controls carried out as part of the Superlative Chronometer certification had to be adjusted.

Talk about an arresting timepiece!” exclaims Craig. “I think the new GMT is an amazing addition to the family of professionals.

The GMT-Master II has many other distinctive details, including traditional hour, minute and seconds hands, a triangle-tipped 24-hour hand, and a bidirectional rotatable bezel with a 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert. Both elements are available in various dual-colour combinations – the lower half symbolizing daytime and the upper signalling nighttime – as well as in single colour versions.

It must also be noted that the green and black ceramic insert presents a colour pairing never-before-seen on the GMT-Master II. “The green and black bezel looks so sharp and even though Rolex turned the watch upside down, it looks incredibly natural, sleek and sophisticated.”

This new version of the GMT-Master II is equipped with calibre 3285, a movement at the vanguard of modern watchmaking technology. This mechanism enables the watch to display the hours, minutes, seconds and date in two time zones simultaneously: either the local time and the reference time, or the local time and that of an alternative time zone. The date is synchronized with the local time.

Like all GMT-Master II’s the 40 mm Oyster case of the 2022 edition provides ultimate protection for the watch’s movement. It is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). Its middle case is made from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. And the case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproofness system and protected by an integral crown guard, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, which is fitted with a Cyclops lens for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire and benefits from an anti-reflective coating.

Long’s customers still have lots of love for the existing Air-Kings and GMT-Master II. “The retired black dial and black bezel GMT in Oystersteel was always one of my favorites and this new model brings back so much of what made that older model so special.”

While the new green and black Cerachrom bezel is a brand-new color for the GMT. “Long’s has seen tremendous demand for every version of the GMT and I think people love the color combinations be it red-blue, blue-black, black-brown and now black-green,” adds Craig.

Available with either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet each model and each bezel represent a different style and I think the broad demand for all models shows the variety in consumer taste. I’m confident that the new green and black bezel GMT will be a huge hit as well.

To learn more about the 2022 Oyster Perpetual Rolex Air-King and Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, visit Rolex’s new releases page and make an appointment at a Long’s boutique near you to discover their complete Rolex Air-King and GMT-Master II collection. And make an appointment at a Long’s boutique near you to discover their complete Rolex Air-King and GMT-Master II collection in person.