The New Rolex Release We Need to Talk About

Earlier this week, quite a few watch companies unveiled their new timepieces at Watches and Wonders 2021. We had known for a while now that Rolex was going to be releasing their 2021 models during the digital portion of the event (which started April 4th). I am not going to go over all of Rolex’s releases, but in nutshell we have: a Rolex Explorer II with a GMT Master movement, a few different bracelet options for the Skydwellers and GMT Masters, another few dial options for the Datejust, and a new Explorer.

The Rolex Explorer 39mm has been discontinued and replaced with a new Explorer; this watch features a return to the original Explorer’s diameter of 36mm as well as an updated movement. Other than that, it's a classic Explorer with a stainless steel case and bracelet and black dial with 3/6/9 indices. This new release is truly a slam dunk in my opinion.

Then came the disappointment…

Rolex also released a two-tone variant of the Explorer I and it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why take the purest sports watch that Rolex has ever produced and corrupt it? Ok, that might be a bit harsh, but I just really feel that the Explorer I is a watch that doesn’t need any other iterations as it is already pretty darn close to perfect. I must say my initial disliking of this two-tone is definitely a knee-jerk reaction, but in all fairness the watch doesn’t sacrifice any level of capability and it's not unheard of for other Rolex sports models to get the luxury treatment. Take for example the Submariner or GMT Master, I feel the two-tone treatment works in an ironic way with these models, but I just don’t think that holds true with the Explorer.