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Last year was obviously not the best year for the watch industry in terms of major trade shows. Swatch Group announcing its leave from Baselworld with its 19 group brands and several other brands following the same path as well put those two leading organizations in a hard situation. Of course, we do not know the financial damage after those impacts but the world of watchmaking is not limited to Swatch Group and a few others. Life goes on for SIHH and Baselworld. In fact, they are doing their best to get back their loyal clientele and keep the existing ones.
SIHH 2019 has outperformed our expectations and hosted stunning new models from many different brands. With the effect of this positive climate, our expectation for Baselworld 2019 increased at the same rate. Now, we would like to share with you our predictions about Rolex, which is perhaps the most anticipated brand of the exhibition.
When we look at the Rolex’s general model renewal algorithm especially through the past decade, we can see that there is not much left to be offered with serious upgrades, as almost all model families have been updated in some way. However, there are some versions that are not completely up to date in the model families. The first one that comes to mind in this case is undoubtedly the GMT Master II Collection.
So, why this collection? In fact the answer is very simple; new movement. The GMT Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO Pepsi, which was debuted last year at the Baselworld and created a tremendous impression, beats with the newly introduced Caliber 3285. However, some models, including the famous Batman, are still powered by the Parachrom hairspring Caliber 3186 version, which is the last of the brand’s veteran movement family 318X. Therefore, our number one Baselworld 2019 prediction for Rolex is that all models in the GMT Master II collection will be updated with the Caliber 3285.
After mentioning our expectations for the GMT Master II model family, let’s look at the differences between these two movements.
The early example is the Caliber 3186, the last version of Rolex’s 3185, which is used for a long time arguably without a major update. The GMT Master II model family was updated with a completely new face back in 2005 and the new concept was introduced with the release of the new Ref. 116718 LN at the same year’s Baselworld exhibition. In addition to the groundbreaking updates like the Supercase case, Maxidial dial, Oysterlock clasp and anti-reflective coating beneath the 2.5x cyclops, the new model was powered by the brand’s new Caliber 3186 movement equipped with the new Parachrom hairspring. The movement, which was applied to all GMT Master II models in time, became the old version with release of the new Caliber 3285 powering the GMT Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO Pepsi.
Caliber 3186 was adjusted referring to the C.O.S.C. standards with a daily accuracy rating of -4/+6 seconds. The power reserve was up to 48 hours. The Caliber 3285, which was added to the Rolex inventory in 2018, is set to operate with an extremely narrow tolerance of -2/+2 seconds per day. Let me add that this rating is measured after the movement is cased. The superiority of 3285 over 3186 is not limited to what we mentioned above. Equipped with the more efficient Chronergy escapement and larger barrel, Caliber 3285 offers an impressive power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound.
In the meantime, although our estimates will focus on the upgrade of all models in the GMT Master II Collection with the Caliber 3285, there is more. GMT Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO Pepsi came with some proportional updates regarding the case and the bracelet. Those updates, which promise a more refined GMT Master II experience, being applied to other versions in the model family is among our Baselworld 2019 predictions for Rolex.
When the brand is Rolex, it is difficult to mention very serious aesthetic updates, because the brand is pursuing a very conservative policy. However, we cannot stop thinking of different case/bracelet combinations from the brand, which offered the Jubilee bracelet with GMT Master Pepsi after all those years.